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Government puts Ford Foundation on 'watch list', curbs on funding

Government puts Ford Foundation on watch list, curbs on funding

New Delhi: In a fresh crackdown on foreign fundings to NGOs, the Union Home Ministry has put the Ford Foundation of the USA on its "watch list" and ordered that all funds coming from the international organisation have to be routed only with its nod due to "national security concerns".

The Home Ministry said it has decided to keep a watch on all activities funded by Ford Foundation and by exercising the powers conferred under Section 46 of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010, directed Reserve Bank of India to ensure that funds coming from it be brought to the notice of the Home Ministry.

"RBI is requested to instruct all the banks and their branches to ensure that any fund flow from the above mentioned agency to any person, NGO, organisation in India may be brought to the notice of the (Home) ministry so that funds are allowed to be credited into the accounts of the recipient only after clearance of this ministry," the order said.

The Ministry said it wanted to ensure that funds coming from Ford Foundation is utilised for "bonafide welfare activities without compromising on concerns of national interest and security".

The move came after Gujarat government asked the Home Ministry to take action against Ford Foundation as it alleged that the US-based organisation was "interfering in the internal affairs" of the country and also "abetting communal disharmony" through an NGO run by social activist Teesta Setalvad.

There have been allegations that the recipient NGOs have not filed mandatory annual reports and balance sheets with the government.

The Home Ministry in its order also said that government organisations can avail of foreign funding from Ford Foundation only with the clearance of the Department of Economic Affairs.

"Any instance of government organisation receiving funds directly from this agency may be withheld and brought to the notice of this Ministry," the order said.

Early this month, the Home Ministry has frozen seven bank accounts of Greenpeace India and barred it from receiving foreign funds for allegedly violating FCRA and "prejudicially" affecting the country's public and economic interests.

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