India tightens oversight on funds received by NGOs2 min read

BY: Pratima Hakke

Donations received by the non-governmental organizations(NGOs) and associations in Indian rupees from any foreign source which is located in India at the time of such donation should be treated as foreign contributions. This was laid down in a charter by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The existing rules mention that, within 48 hours of receiving or utilizing any foreign contribution by any non-governmental organization(NGOs), association, or a person, all banks have to report to the Central government. The banks have to report to the Central government whether or not such non-governmental organizations(NGOs), associations, or persons are registered or granted permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

It was made mandatory for all non-governmental organizations(NGOs) to receive foreign funds in a specific bank account at the State Bank of India’s New Delhi branch, under the amendments made to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, by the Parliament last September. Such a bank account must be opened by 31st March. The non-governmental organizations(NGOs) can keep their existing FCRA accounts the only condition is that such accounts must be linked to the State Bank of India branch in New Delhi.

Many provisions have been laid down for the funding of non-governmental organizations(NGOs). If an organization or a bank is found violating the provisions laid down in the charter, action will be taken under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.  Any foreign contribution must be received through banking channels and its accounting must be done in a specified manner.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had amended FCRA in 2019. It allowed persons like politicians, members of the judiciary, and journalists who were prohibited to receive foreign funds from NGOs, to accept foreign funds from their relatives if the amount does not exceed rupees one lakh. The transactions including amount higher than rupees one lakh must be informed to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

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