Amended FCRA rules to make things hard for socio-religious bodies

New Delhi: The latest tightening of the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) are likely to affect organizations functioning under the registered societies and trust acts while they receive funds from foreign countries.

An example is the clause which stipulates that every member of the non-government organization (NGO) receiving funds from abroad will have to file an affidavit that he has not been convicted for religious conversion or prosecuted for communal disharmony.

The Central government on Monday issued notifiation with the amended rules under the FCRA of 2011.

Modi government has been over the last five years,  trying to close shop of NGO's that have been critical of the government.  In addition,  the government banned 18,000 organizations from receiving foreign funds.  It is also pointed out that even as the latest notification has been issued,  sangh parivar outfits have been consistently receiving crores of rupees by way of foreign funds even without any registration. 

Regarding religious conversion, the amendment states that the key functionary,  top office bearers and members of the body should file an affidavit individually that they have not been convicted for having converted any one from one faith to another,  or prosecuted for causing communal conflict or disaffection; only then will they be allowed to receive funds from abroad.

Under the rules of 2011, only key functionary and top office bearers were required to give affidavit for seeking prior permission from MHA to receive grants under FCRA.
The ministry has earlier amended the rules in 2012, 2015 and 2019 for NGOs seeking FCRA licences. MHA, however, has now increased the value of articles gifted for personal use to be declared, from Rs 25000 to Rs 1 lakh in a financial year by amending the applicable rules.

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