FCRA Licences of JNU, DU, IITD, RKM, Others Restored

The Union government has restored the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of Jawahar Lal University (JND), Delhi University (DU), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi), Ramakrishna Mission and 70 other non-government organizations (NGOs). The NGOs are said to have submitted documents and annual returns – mandatory requirements for renewal of licences, after which the licences were restored, said officials.

To receive foreign grants, NGOs have to register with the ministry of home affaires (MHA), which assigns a unique FCRA registration number, to be renewed every five years. Earlier, West Bengal-based Missionaries of Charity (MoC)’s FCRA licences was restored by the MHA after denying it citing “adverse inputs”. Officials familiar with the process told ET that applications of several other prominent NGOs, including Oxfam, were under consideration but were yet to be processed. A home ministry official said that with the restoration of the FCRA licences, these organizations will be able to receive foreign funding and can also spend the money lying in their FCRA bank accounts.

The renewal of as many as 179 FCRA licences was denied by the MHA in December last year while the licences of 5,789 NGOs had lapsed. The total number of active NGOs registered under FCRA came down to 16,907 from 22,797. Some NGOs informed the MHA on Monday that they had filed the renewal applications online ahead of the list of NGOs whose licences had lapsed.

On January 1, 2022, the home ministry withdrew FCRA licences of 5,968 entities, including MoC, DU, JNU, IIT-Delhi, Oxfam, Jamia Millia Islamia, Hamdard Education Society, India Islamic Cultural Centre, Nuclear Science Centre in JNU, India Habitat Center, Indira Gandhi National Centre For Arts, Lady Shri Ram College For Women, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Medical Council of India among others.

After the FCRA amendments in 2020, 18,778 NGO licences were due for renewal between September 30, 2020, and December 31, 2021. “Some NGOs were given extension but they did not apply since FCRA registration was not required. The validity of FCRA registration of NGOs that were expiring between September 29, 2020, and September 30, 2021, and those which have already applied, were extended till March 31, 2022,” explained a home ministry official.

Under the 2020 FCRA amendments, public servants have been barred from receiving foreign contributions.

The Act makes Aadhaar number mandatory for all office-bearers, directors or key functionaries of a person receiving foreign contribution, as an identification document. It also requires that foreign contributions must be received only in an account designated by the bank as FCRA account at the State Bank of India branches, New Delhi. Further, the law proposes that not more than 20% of the total foreign funds received could be utilized for administrative expenses. It was earlier 50%. S-ET

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