National News

Home Ministry bars 20,000 NGOs from receiving foreign funding

The scrapping of their FCRA registration leaves only 13,000 such groups with valid licences to get aid from overseas

As many as 20,000 NGOs have been barred from receiving foreign funding for allegedly violating provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. The cancellation of these licences leaves only 13,000 such organisations registered under the Act that can receive monetary aid from overseas sources, PTI reported.

The Home Affairs Ministry’s Foreigners Division, while making a detailed presentation on Tuesday, informed Home Minister Rajnath Singh of the move. Officials told PTI that the drive to review the work of NGOs with FCRA licences had begun about a year ago and was still on.

Of the 13,000 NGOs with legally valid licences, around 3,000 have handed in applications to renew their registration under the foreign funding regulation. At least 2,000 others have submitted new applications to the ministry for registration under the FCRA for the first time.

Moreover, the ministry has renewed the FCRA licences of around 16 NGOs under the “automatic” route. Currently, 300 NGOs fall under the “prior permission” category but not registered under the FCRA, which means they need the ministry’s approval before receiving funding from abroad.

Earlier in December, Opposition leaders had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the Centre to not pursue vindictive politics by “selectively” cancelling the foreign funding licences of NGOs that are critical of its policies. A number of civil society organisations and activists, too, had accused the government of using the Act to suppress dissenting voices.

The accusations were made after the Home Ministry cancelled the foreign funding licence of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO a day after it renewed the Citizens for Justice and Peace’s registration under the Act. The licences of Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust and Greenpeace India had also been cancelled earlier this year.

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