FCRA licence of 5 NGOs cancelled as per law: MHA

A day after ET report on cancellation of the Foreign Contribution Registration Act (FCRA) licences of five prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the home ministry officials said that the action was taken following “due process of law”.

Among the NGOs that lost their FCRA licences were CNI Synodical Board of Social Service, Voluntary Health Association of India, Indo-Global Social Service Society, Church Auxiliary for Social Action and Evangelical Fellowship of India, added officials.

The FCRA license is granted by the home ministry to NGOs and think tanks for five years and their applications are reviewed based on annual returns and foreign grants received for the purpose it is meant for.

The FCRA was amended in 2020. Any misuse or diversion of foreign funds by the NGOs is considered as a violation of the FCRA, officials explained. The licences of these NGO were cancelled on March 30 this year and they will neither receive nor utilise the foreign contribution until the certificate is renewed, officials added.

In an email response, Evangelical Fellowship of India’s General Secretary Vijayesh Lal on Wednesday confirmed that their renewal application of FCRA licence was denied. “It is very surprising that the umbrella and representative body of Evangelical Christians in India and one that is involved in significant inter-faith, charity, and prayer initiatives to bless and unite the nation, is identified as a body that can ‘prejudicially’ affect inter-religious, or social harmony,” Lal noted.

EFI is one of the NGOs to lose its FCRA licence.

“On the contrary, it is one of EFI’s main works to act as bridge builders and agents of reconciliation to bring together a society that is increasingly being fragmented on religious and political lines. We are still debating on the next course of action and will take a call on the same soon,” he added.

Over the past two years, more than 100 NGOs, including Centre for Policy Research, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Oxfam India, have lost their FCRA licences on charges of alleged misuse of foreign grants.

Harry Byrne

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