The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of the Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India, barring it from receiving foreign funds. The action was taken after the ministry claimed that the non-governmental organisation was allegedly violating provisions of the FCRA by “diverting” foreign funds for purposes other than intended, PTI reported, quoting unidentified officials. The organisation’s licence was renewed in August last year.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was one of the NGO’s biggest donors. However, the ministry said it was using the funds it received for HIV control in anti-tobacco activities, DNA reported, quoting an unidentified official. “These funds were provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” The Gates Foundation has transferred more than Rs 183 crore to the NGO between 2010 and 2015.
The NGO said it had submitted required clarifications to the objections raised by the Home Ministry. “Certain observations have been made by the Ministry on the utilisations of funds related to our projects on tobacco, HIV/AIDS and its financial reports,” the organisation said in a statement, according to News18.
The ministry’s decision comes as the RSS-linked Swadeshi Jagran Manch is preparing a draft paper on the Gates Foudation questioning the organisation’s influence on the country’s health policies. “We are expecting the government will take action against the bigger player as well,” the national co-convenor of the outfit, Ashwani Mahajan told News18.
The Public Health Foundation of India is public-private initiative working in the field of public health in India, was founded by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, it said on its website. Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy is its chairperson, and other members include former deputy chairman of the planning commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.