The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the validity of registration certificates granted to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) under the Section 50 of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 until September 30, 2021 due to restrictions imposed in view of COVID-19.
- The registration certificates of many NGOs were set to expire or expired during September 29, 2020-May 31, 2021.
- The decision will benefit many NGOs as it is mandatory for them to register under the FCRA in order to receive foreign funding.
i.The MHA has also issued an order stating that NGOs have to open an ‘FCRA account’ at State Bank of India, New Delhi Main Branch (SBI NDMB) before June 30, 2021.
- After June 30, NGOs shall not be eligible to receive foreign contributions in any account other than the ‘FCRA account’ opened in SBI NDMB.
- Delhi High Court mandated SBI to ensure that it opens accounts FCRA for NGOs within 10 days of receiving approval from MHA.
- Besides, with the amendments, office expenses have been brought down to 20 per cent from 50 per cent and election candidates, government servants, members of any legislature and political parties were prohibited from accepting foreign funding.
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)
FCRA was first enacted in 1976 and then amended in 2010 to correct its shortcomings.
i.In 2020, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 was passed in the parliament.
- FCRA seeks to regulate the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies.
- It aims to prohibit the foreign contributions being used for activities which are detrimental to national interest.
ii.The Provisions of FCRA Amendment Bill, 2020 are
- Aadhar number of the office-bearers of an NGO necessary for registration of the organisation under the FCRA.
- NGOs intending to receive foreign funding must be at least 3 years old and must have spent INR 15 Lakh in voluntary activities prior to their applications.
- NGOs must submit a commitment letter from the donor, indicating the amount of foreign contribution and purpose.
iii.There are around 22, 400 NGOs in India.
- Over INR 58, 000 Crore of Foreign funds were received by NGOs registered under FCRA between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
Recent Related News
On November 11, 2020, MHA amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) Rules, 2011 by notifying new rules under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.
About Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
Union Minister – Amit Shah (Lok Sabha – Gandhinagar, Gujarat)
Minister of State – G Kishan Reddy (Lok Sabha – Secunderabad, Telangana), Nityanand Rai (Lok Sabha – Ujiarpur, Bihar)