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Many NGOs Under Lens; Some may Lose FCRA Licences

Non- governmental organisations (NGOs) are under the scrutiny of the Union home ministry and some of them my end up losing their Foreign Contribution Regulation (FCRA) licences ahead of the March 31 deadlines, according to people aware of the matter.

Several prominent organisations have also approached the Union home ministry for further extension of the deadline, they said.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center had granted relaxation for validity of FCRA registration expiring between September 29, 2020, and December 31, 2021 till March 31, 2022.

The prominent NGOs which are due for renewal include the Center for Policy Research, help page India, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), SoS children Village Of India, CNI Trust Association, Aga Khan Foundation Tibet House Cultural Center and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

“Many of these NGOs have applied while others have been granted renewal of their licences,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified.

The trusts linked to the Congress party RGF and RGCT, have been under scanner of agencies since 2020, when the home ministry set up a committee headed by the Enforcement Directorate to probe alleged violations of the Prevention of Money laundering Act and income Tax Act. As per the certificate of FCRA, RGF and RGCT, named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, were granted renewals in 2016, for five years. The Aga Khan Foundation is closely involved in several projects, including setting up of schools and educational center in Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai.

Under section 32 of FCRA, 2010, the FCRA certificate of public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi and Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata, were renewed by way of revision while 6,000 NGOs lost their licences in January this year. The NGOs which were denied renewals had approached the Supreme Court seeking relief, but the apex court turned down their relief pleas. From 2019 to 2021 FCRA registrations of 1,811 entities were cancelled, according to a home ministry reply to the Lok Sabha on March 15 this year. The total number of FCRA registered associations is 16,831.

As reported by ET earlier, the government recently put one of the largest US-based philanthropic organisations, Hewlett Foundation, under the ‘watch list’ for alleged violations of FCRA, norms. Earlier the ministry denied renewal of FCRA licences to Oxfam India, asserting that it did not fulfil the criteria specified in the law.S-ET

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