After the central government's decision to clamp down on foreign funding of institutions, aid group Oxfam India has come out to assert that the move will severely impact their ongoing humanitarian work in India which includes procuring Covid-19 supplies and providing food to vulnerable communities across the country.
"We [have] been working in public interest with the government, communities and frontline workers for decades. This decision by #MHA will severely hamper these collaborations through which were providing relief to those who needed it the most during times of crisis," the group said in a statement on Twitter.
Over 12,000 NGO's and aid organisations receiving foreign funding had their FCRA licences expire on Saturday, including Oxfam India, Oxfam India Trust. The famed Missionaries of Charity organisation that was affiliated to Mother Theresa was denied renewal. The Foreign Contributions Regulation Act was tightened up by the Indian government ostensibly to stop corruption and suspicious money flows into the country.
Oxfam India announced that the loss of licence would affect its own schemes to set up of oxygen plants, providing life-saving medical and diagnostic equipment such as oxygen cylinders and ventilators, and delivery of food to the most vulnerable communities during the Covid pandemic.
"Over the years our work has always been in public interest and guided by the principle of creating lasting solutions to address the injustice of poverty, to leave no one behind and to end discrimination and create a free and just society," Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India said, as quoted in an NDTV report.
The Home Ministry however said that the licenced had lapsed because the groups had not filed for renewal on time despite having been sent reminders. Critics of the move have said the government is attempting to control organisations which do not promote their interests.
Amitabh Behar had previously expressed admiration for the Congress party in a long missive dating back to 2019, where he eulogised the achievements of the party.
Other NGOs and organisations whose licences have now expired include Jamia Milia Islamia, the Indian Medical Association, the Leprosy Mission, the Tuberculosis Association Of India, the Indira Gandhi National Centre For Arts, and the India Islamic Cultural Centre.