Six NGOs For Specially Abled And Human Rights Lose FCRA Licences

Six prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have lost their Foreign Contribution Registration Act (FCRA) licences ahead of the March 31, 2023 deadline. These include Blue Cross Blue Crescent Society, Good Earth Education Foundation, India Eye International Human Rights Observer, Deaf Crick-et Society, Bidirectional Access Promotion Society and Behaviour Foundation of India. Officials said the licences of these NGOs are “deemed to have ceased” and they can no longer receive foreign grants. While Blue Cross Society claims to be affiliated to United Nation-DESA and accreditation with The European Union, the Good Education Society is set up by the Eicher group to educate children with a special emphasis on the girl child starting with primary education the rural poor. Similarly, Deaf Cricket Society works to enhance physical mobility of the differently-abled through several welfare activities and through cricket. The Behaviour Foundation provides intervention services for children with autism.

ET has learnt that the licences of the six NGOs expired in March this year ahead of the home ministry granting six months extension, till September 2023, to NGOs of “certain categories” to apply for renewal of their FCRA licences. When contacted, Blue Cross society founder director Mithilesh Kumar Karn told ET that he has applied for a name change in the FCRA licences but has not received any communication. “My FCRA licence was issued in the name of Blue Cross Blue Crescent while the NGO’s name is Blue Cross and Blue Crescent Society. I have been running from pillar to post and applied for a name change in January this year but, so far, have not received any updates from the ministry. I am not able to receive any foreign grants due to this.” The Union home ministry grants FCRA licence for five years for NGOs to receive foreign grants. Several NGOs have either been suspended, cancelled, deemed to have ceased or revoked in the past six months including the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Oxfam India.

Licences of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) were cancelled in October last year. The two NGOs are headed by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gand hi. A senior government official said the FCRA licences of these NGOs were suspended due to violation of FCRA conditions. As per section 18 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, every association which receives foreign contribution has to submit annual returns along with income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account and balance sheet for every financial year within 9 months of closure of the financial year. The government is empowered to carry out an audit and inspection of the accounts under sections 20 and 23 of the Act to ascertain that the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution is as per the provisions of the Act. During the last three years-2020 to 2022 and the current year, the FCRA Registration Certificates of 1,828 associations have been cancelled under section 14 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 due to violation of the provisions of the Act and rules. S-ET

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