Union Home Ministry has cancelled the FCRA-2010 (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) licenses of various acclaimed higher education institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Delhi, IIT-Delhi, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Punjab University, Gargi College (Delhi), Lady Irwin College (Delhi), Mumbai University, Pune University and others after they reportedly failed to file their annual income and expenditure statements, for the period 2010-11 to 2014-15, to the government. A FCRA licence is mandatory for any organisation which wants to receive funding from abroad.
The list consists of 18,871 names of several top-notch universities, educational institutions and noteworthy non-governmental organisations (NGOs) whose FCRA registrations are cancelled. Prominent associations, trusts and societies are also affected by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order like Supreme Court Bar Association, Kamala Nehru Education Society, Kasturba Peace Centre, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, School Of Planning & Architecture-Delhi, FICCI Socio-Economic Development Foundation, Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Escorts Heart Institute, Cancer Educational Society and People for Animals. Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Armed Forces Flag Day Fund, Doon School Old Boys Association, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College (Delhi), Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia International Trust, Coordinating Voluntary Adoption Resource Agency, Bombay Diocesan Society, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (Karnataka), Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (Bengaluru), Shri Mahatma Gandhi Charitable Trust (Gujarat) and Sri Satya Sai Trust also feature on the list.
The organisations were asked to submit their replies by July 23, failing which action would be taken against them. The MHA also directed 1,222 NGOs – including Sri Ramakrishna Math, Ramakrishna Mission, Indore Cancer Foundation Charitable Trust and the Coimbatore Christian Charitable Trust – to authorise their bank accounts and provide relevant details to the government. The move comes after the government found that the organisations – all registered under the FCRA – had not validated the bank accounts through which they receive foreign funds. In a circular issued on September 8, the ministry had asked all NGOs to take rectifying steps to avoid punitive action. A similar request was earlier made to 2,025 NGOs on June 7. Ministry officials said non-validation of such accounts had been halting efforts made by banks to comply with FCRA provisions.
The BJP government has already revoked the registration of over 10,000 NGOs in the last three years for allegedly failing to file annual returns as prescribed by the FCRA. Furthermore, violation of regulations was cited to disallow more than 1,300 NGOs from renewing their registration in the recent past. The NGOs, however, allegedly claim that the government has been selectively targeting them. “It is not a level playing field,” Ravi Chellam, the executive director at Greenpeace India, told Hindustan Times. “When political parties need funding from foreign donors, they amend the law retrospectively. That is a problem – the law should be applied fairly to everyone”, he said.
Promila Kumar, the acting principal of Gargi College, told the Indian Express, “We have filed our returns. In fact, we got a reminder about filing returns recently and we informed the government that we have already complied. I’m not sure why this has happened.”
Image Credits: DU Beat Archives