(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has come up with a decision and introduced changes to the regulations governing non-government organizations (NGOs) under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). These changes require NGOs to annually report details of both moveable and immovable assets created using foreign funds.
The modifications involve adding two new clauses, (ba) for moveable assets and (bb) for immovable assets, to Form FC-4, which NGOs use to file their annual returns.
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The MHA has also extended the validity of FCRA licenses for entities whose licenses were set to expire on September 30 and had pending renewal applications. These licenses will now remain valid until March 31, 2024.
In recent years, the centre has increased FCRA compliance measures, holding NGOs accountable for the receipt and utilization of foreign funds. Between 2019 and 2022, the MHA conducted inspections and audits of 335 NGOs and associations to ensure compliance with foreign funding rules.
According to MHA data, NGOs in India received a total of Rs 55,449 crore in foreign funding over the past three years. As of July 17, 2023, there were 16,301 NGOs in the country with valid FCRA licenses. In the last five years, over 6,600 NGOs had their FCRA licenses canceled for violations, and a total of 20,693 FCRA licenses have been canceled to date.
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The FCRA Act, which underwent amendments in September 2020, prohibits public servants from receiving foreign funding and mandates Aadhaar verification for all NGO office-bearers. Additionally, the amended law restricts the use of foreign funds for administrative purposes to 20%, down from the previous limit of 50%.
The revised FCRA rules also categorize organizations involved in political actions like strikes and road blockades, such as farmers' groups, students' associations, and caste-based organizations, as having a political nature.
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