Skip to main content

Good news for Gujarat NGOs: Government issues GR waiving 2% administrative charge on foreign contributions

By Pankti Jog*
At a time when the Government of India is showing signs of uneasiness to foreign contributions (FCs) to non-government organizations (NGOs), in an interesting development, the Gujarat government has moved in just the opposite direction. 
The state government has come up with amended Bombay Public Trust Act rules, exempting NGOs and charitable trusts, receiving FCs, from paying two per cent levy on donations, or Rs 50,000 per year, whichever was higher.
The “good news” for registered trusts and societies in Gujarat has made NGOs, otherwise known to be pretty critical of government, quite happy. Gujarat is the only state till now, where donations to NGOs invited a two per cent levy for so-called administrative charges.
Albeit small, most of the NGOs were unable to reimburse the amount which the state government took away from the respective donor agencies. To those that worked with shoestring budget, it was really a serious issue.
Taking away Rs 50,000 each year to be paid for running the administration of the charity commissioner’s office each year would tell on their projects. Despite their unwillingness, NGOs across the state have been paying the amount for years.
As per a right to information (RTI) reply, over the last five years, the total amount collected thus by the state government came to Rs 58,54,96,323, averaging around Rs 9 crore per year. The RTI reply also revealed that the government had a surplus of Rs 123 crore in the year 2013-14 from the collection it has been making (see the table).
Several NGOs have for long been raising objections before state officials to the administrative charges from the FC grants it received for projects in Gujarat. They have, from time to time, posed three separate questions before the government.
The first question was about the quality of the services provided to the NGO sector as against the charges that were levied on them. In several cases, the registration of change of trustees, or change in the property holding, has been pending for about a decade years.
Second one was, if the government could regulate companies through the Registrar of Companies and other bodies like the labour commissioner’s office, the pollution control board, and so on, without charging any amount as administrative expense, what was the rationale behind charging NGOs towards their regulation cost?
And finally, NGOs play a “key role” in the development of communities, which is actually the primary responsibility of the government. Instead of recognizing this role, the NGOs in Gujarat were being penalized.
Recently, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Gujarat High Court seeking a stay on the administrative charges, as enough surplus amount had already been collected by the government, so much so that the charity commissioner’s office could be run from the interest of the fixed deposit of the entire amount.
As the PIL was still under hearing stage, the Gujarat government issued the notification giving exemption from administrative charges on grants and donations under FCRA, giving relief to over 1,500 NGOs of Gujarat.
---
*Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Gujarat. Click HERE to download new rules

Comments

TRENDING

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Cops' 'inability' to deliver justice? Model Gujarat ranks 12th among 18 major states

By Rajiv Shah
A Tata Trusts study, released in Delhi on Thursday, has ranked “model” Gujarat 12th out of 18 major states it has analysed across India to “assess” the police's capacity to deliver justice. Several of the advanced states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as some of the so-called Bimaru states such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are found to have ranked better than Gujarat.

People's pressure? GPCB mining cancellation 'notice' to top cement unit in Gujarat

By Sagar Rabari*
Environmental Clearance (EC) was given to Ultratech Cement Co Ltd for limestone mining in villages Talli and Bambhor of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on January 5, 2017. EC was issued ignoring, overriding and undermining opposition from local farmers to mining activity in the area. The mining in these two villages covers an area of 193.3268 hectares (ha), while the entire project is spread over an area of 1,715.1311 ha.

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

NHRC notice to Gujarat chief secretary following silicosis deaths in Rajkot

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Gujarat chief secretary and the district magistrate, Rajkot, to respond to a complaint filed by health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, regarding the alleged death of Raju Prakash Parihar and two others reportedly because of silicosis, a fatal occupation disease, in Rajkot, one of Gujarat’s top cities.

Concern in UK over BJP supporters, Hindu charity 'interfering' in general elections

By Our Representative
Following apprehensions of “foreign interference” in Canadian elections, which took place last month, from several countries, including India, a similar a concern is now reported with regard to the next month’s United Kingdom general elections. The concern has particularly come from Labour Party candidates, who are citing campaign by “India-linked Hindu nationalist group” targeting Labour candidates.