MEA’s Think Tank among 30 NGOs to Lose FCRA Licence

Foreign contribution licences of more than 30 organizations, including the external affairs ministry’s think tank, India Centre for, Migration (ICM), were withdraw after scrutiny of documents by the Union home ministry, according to people aware of the matter.

Several non-government organizations (NGOs) had approached the home ministry seeking restoration of their FCRA licences on the grounds that they had filed the renewal applications online after 7pm but before 12am on December 31, 2021.

An official said ICM’s bank account was with Canara Bank. The 2020 FCRA amendments require NGOs to open bank accounts with a designated branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) in Delhi. The official, however, said ICM’s bank account has been shifted to the SBI and that this has been conveyed to the home ministry.

ICM advises the external affairs ministry on matters relating to international migration and mobility. It is headed by a secretary level officer. “One of the grounds for refusal of FCRA licences has been the delay in opening of bank accounts with the SBI,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified. “In the case of other NGOs, the examination of documents is still underway. FCRA licences of some organizations were restored after relevant documents were submitted before the authorities.”

For receiving foreign grants, NGOs have to register with the home ministry, which assigns a unique FCRA registration number, to be renewed every five years. According to home ministry officials, the number of FCRA registered association has reduced to 16,876 from 16,907, and may further reduce after verification of documents.

On January 1, FCRA licences of 5,968 NGOs, including Missionaries of Charity, Delhi University (DU), and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), IIT-Delhi, Oxfam, Jamia Millia Islamia, Hamdard Education Society and India Islamic Cultural Centre were cancelled after they failed to comply with the revised guidelines and apply for a renewal. A Week later, the ministry restored licences of Missionaries of Charity, JNU, IIT-Delhi, Ramakrishna Mission and DU, among others.

The home ministry had earlier said that the validity of FCRA registration of NGOs that were expiring between September 29, 2020 and September 30, 2021, and those which had already applied, had been extended till March 31, 2022.    

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