News Brief

Home Ministry allows health advocacy NGO to take foreign funding a year after it revoked its licence

The ministry said the Public Health Foundation of India was working with many state and central government departments on health projects.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday said it has allowed the country’s largest public health advocacy group to receive foreign funding by “prior permission”, The Hindu reported. The ministry had cancelled the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, or FCRA, licence of the Public Health Foundation of India in 2017.

The Home Ministry said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had contributed Rs 65 crore towards the fund for setting up public health institutes in India. The ministry said the Public Health Foundation of India was running five such institutes and working with many state and central government departments to execute some health projects.

For such projects to continue, the Public Health Foundation of India would “have to obtain prior permission before acceptance of each contribution”, the ministry said. The notification also said that the organisation should use foreign funds lying unused in its account strictly in accordance with the FCRA.

The foundation was barred from receiving foreign funds in 2017 on the grounds that it was violating provisions of the FCRA by “diverting” foreign funds for purposes other than intended. The ministry had claimed that the foundation was using the funds it received for HIV control in anti-tobacco activities.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was one of the organisation’s biggest donors.

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