Govt restricts funding by 10 foreign agencies to Indian NGOs

Posted by: 2021-09-24 11:33:11 ,
By Admin

The Union government has put 10 foreign donor agencies based in the US, Europe and Australia under the "Prior Reference Category", restricting any funding by them to Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or individuals without the approval of ministry of home affairs (MHA), people familiar with the development said.

These include US entities Omidyar Network, supported by e-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar and involved in social impact funding across sectors in India, Stardust, and Humanity United; the European Climate Foundation; the UK-based Freedom Fund, Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Laudes Foundation and Legatum Fund; and Australia-based organisations Walk Free Foundation (WFF), and Minderoo.

A circular to this regard was sent by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to all the banks on July 1.

"RBI has instructed that any fund flow from these donor agencies to any NGO/voluntary organizations/associations/person(s) in India should be brought to the notice of ministry of home affairs so that the funds are allowed to be credited to the accounts of the recipient only after clearance/prior reference from FCRA Wing," the circular stated.

A senior MHA official confirmed the development on Wednesday evening.

"A lot of audits which were pending due to Covid-19 were done, and foundations which are indulging in work other than what they have mentioned in their FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act ) documents have been put under the prior reference category. This is a routine exercise," he said.

HT reached out to Omidyar, Laudes, Minderoo, Walk Free, Legatum, European Climate Foundation, and Children's Investment Fund Foundation for comments, which were awaited at the time of going to print.

Over the last few years, the government has taken action against several international organisations including Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Compassion International, and Open Society Foundation. Amnesty and Greenpeace have shut their India operations.
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