The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has redefined guidelines on how non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can accept, transfer and utilise foreign donations and contributions by amending the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) with Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020 which has come into force w.e.f. September 29, 2020.
- The decision regarding its commencement was taken by the Centre in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020 (33 of 2020) to maintain transparency in NGOs.
- Notably, the amendment in Section 13 of FCRA empowers the MHA to freeze the FCRA Bank account in case of any contravention of the FCRA law and can also suspend FCRA registration of an organization up to 360 days from current 180 days (6 months).
Since 1976, the FCRA regulates foreign donations in ensuring that such contributions don’t adversely affect internal security. It was amended in 2010.
- It is applicable to all associations, groups, and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations and thus make them mandatory to register themselves under the FCRA.
Here is the brief of major changes under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020
Aadhar requirement mandated: A new provision is introduced in this act under which furnishing of Aadhaar numbers by office-bearers of NGOs has become mandatory for registration. In case of a foreigner, a copy of the passport or the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card is required.
Reduction in administrative expense cap: The act also lowered the administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding to 20% from the existing 50% of annual funds by amending Section 8 of FCRA.
Bars public servants from receiving funds from abroad– The Act amends the Section 3 of FCRA by adding “public servant” as defined in Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to this list of persons who are prohibited from receiving foreign contribution.
Transfer of foreign contribution prohibited: The act amended Section 7 of FCRA to prohibit FCRA authorized individuals to receive foreign contributions from transferring such foreign contributions to any person.
Forbidding of foreign contribution recipient from utilising/receiving its funds: The Act substituted existing Section 11 of FCRA to bar its authorized individuals in utilizing or receiving foreign contribution without Government approval. Currently, this restriction applies only when such a person is found guilty of an FCRA contravention.
FCRA bank account in SBI , Delhi Mandated: As per the amendment of Section 17 of FCRA, the foreign contribution can be received only in “FCRA Account” opened in the State Bank of India (SBI) branch in New Delhi.
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i.On July 31, 2020, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh (AP) Biswa Bhusan Harichandan gave his assent to the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Repeal Bills – 2020.
ii.On August 17, 2020, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) approved the renaming of Manduadih Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh (UP) as ‘Banaras’.
About Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA):
Union Minister – Amit Anilchandra Shah
Minister of State (MoS) – Gangapuram Kishan Reddy, Nityanand Rai