All non-governmental organisations and firms that get foreign funds have until January 21 to open accounts in any of 32 designated banks, the Centre has said. The government hopes the measure will bring more transparency and make procedural compliance easier, PTI reported on Monday.
The government has integrated 32 banks with the Public Financial Management System, which, among other functions, can monitor the receipt and use of foreign funds.
The Home Ministry’s directive said that NGOs, firms and individuals getting foreign funds must open foreign contribution accounts in these banks. The order also asked them to ensure that such funds are not used against the national interest.
The 32 banks include State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, UCO Bank, IndusInd Bank, Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab National Bank, Yes Bank, Oriental Bank Of Commerce, Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank and Andhra Bank.
There are around 10,000 NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. The order comes amid several measures the Ministry of Home Affairs has taken to crack down on thousands of NGOs that receive funds from abroad. It has also cancelled some of their licences for violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
NGOs and activists have claimed the government’s actions are a way to suppress dissenting voices.