Skip to main content

Foreign funding rules to "affect" Indian NGOs working on human rights, policy, governance, electoral reforms

By Rajiv Shah
India’s civil society organizations have strongly objected to the new Foreign Contribution Regulation (FRC) Rules notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which require the NGOs to give an "affirmation" that they are not used the foreign contribution for activities that are likely to “prejudicially affect” the sovereignty and integrity of the country, the security, strategic, scientific and economic interests of the state and the public interest.
Circulating a note written by a senior activist for perusal and comments to NGOs receiving foreign contribution, Subhash Mittal, secretary, Socio-Research Reform Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO, comments, says, “Many organizations which work on, says, human rights, legal rights, policy, governance, electoral reforms related issues, may face interpretation issues.”
However, he adds, the “organizations who are working on clear cut issues (say health, water, development, etc.), such interpretation may not pose problem.”
This undertaking is part of the new form FC-4, which must for submitting annual statement of receipt and utilization of foreign contribution, which NGOs receive for their developmental activities.
Pointing out that this is a “new ground” introduced in the rules, the note says, “The earlier form, or even in the draft form circulated earlier, specified which activities NGOs cannot indulge in, such as those that ‘prejudicially affect’ the freedom or fairness of elections to any legislature, friendly relations with foreign State and harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic, regional groups, castes or communities.”
Comments this note, authored one of the senior-most activists, Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), “So the combined effect of these elements of the new Form FC-4 is that there is little clarity about the specific activities for which FC can be received and used.”
The activist says, “Enormous discretion is placed in the hands of the government to determine whether or not a foreign funded NGO's activities must be curbed by suspending and eventually taking away its FC registration or prior permission.”
The activist underlines, “The grounds of affirmation are so overbroad that all national and international advocacy and mobilisational activities of NGOs will come under the government's scanner and become potential ground for taking away the FCR registration.”
In another objection, the note says, the new rules require that all plain paper applications for FCR Act processes have been done away with. “This may cause a major problem for NGOs working in remote areas without access to high speed internet connections”, the note says.
There are, for instance, many parts of Jammu and Kashmir, “which cannot access even 2G Internet speed on many days of any month even though some service providers boast about providing 3G speed and services. The same could be true of several other States, which are just about opening up to the Internet.”
Also objecting to all payments under the FCR Act-related services to be made only through electronic payment gateway specified by the Government of India, the note says, “So now NGOs will have to make one of their functionaries to use his/her personal credit/debit card.”
This is particularly strange, as “banks do not issue credit or debit cards in the names of NGOs. Or, NGOs will have to make use of net banking for making these payments. So NGOs will have to authorise their functionaries to operate net banking for making these payments”, the note says.
---
Click HERE to download the new FCR Rules

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there. 

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.