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Three NGOs linked to Congress under Union Home Ministry scanner

9th July, 2020 Polity


- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to probe the violation of various legal provisions by three NGOs — Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

- Inter-ministerial committee will coordinate investigations into violation of various legal provisions of PMLA, Income Tax Act and FCRA.

FCRA (Foreign Contributing Regulating Act):

- Government of India started regulating NGO by FCRA in 1976.


- According to the FCRA, any NGO that accepts foreign contribution has to register with the Home Ministry. And such contribution can only be accepted through designated banks.

- The NGO has to report to the central govt any foreign contribution within 30 days of receipt.

- They need to file annual reports with the home ministry. It must also report the amount of foreign contribution, its source, how it was received, the purpose for which it was intended, and the manner in which it was utilised.

- In case of non-compliance with provision of FCRA, govt can penalise NGO. E.g. if these NGOs do not file annual returns, then govt can issue a showcase notice and subsequently suspend or cancel their licenses.

- In the last two years, licenses of around 20000 NGOs have been cancelled by the central govt after they were found violating various provisions of FCRA act.

FCRA amendment act 2010 :

- Registration is mandatory and after every 5 years renewable is done, else the license will expire.

- Only 50 % of foreign funds can be used for administrative expenses. Therefore, allowing govt. to control how a civil society spends its money.

- It changes the term political parties to "organisations of political nature " to include NGO’s, student and trade unions.

Amendment in FCRA rules 2019:

- All the members and office bearers of an NGO will have to file an affidavit making it mandatory for it to report “any violation” of the FCRA provisions by the applicant organisation.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mha-sets-up-panel-to-probe-violation-of-legal-provisions-by-three-ngos-linked-to-congress/article32019549.ece