MHA cancels FCRA licences of several big NGOs

The Union home ministry has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Registration Act (FCRA) licence of five prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their alleged involvement in religious conversion, violations of foreign grants, among others, ET has learnt.

The latest round of cancellation came following a scrutiny by the Centre till March 31, 2024. Among the prominent NGOs were CNI Synodical Board of Social Service (CNI-SBSS), Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFOI), said officials familiar with the details. Many evangelical NGOs were facing charges of religious conversion and land grab.

The home ministry had granted a six-month extension to several NGOs listed above in September last year. The licences were cancelled on March 30 this year and they will neither receive nor utilise the foreign contribution until the certificate is renewed, officials added.

At the time of India’s Independence, the National Council of Churches formed the ‘NCC Relief Committee’ (NCC). The NCC later went on to become the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), claims its website. It has been receiving foreign donations from Germany, United States, Sweden and as per the FCRA contribution statement from April-June 2023, the NGO received a sum of ₹9,63,65,095. An email query sent to the NGOs remained unanswered.

Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) came into existence in 1970 and has been working in close association with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Indian Council of Medical Research and has been receiving foreign grants from the USA, France, among others. The organisation has been active during disaster relief measures after Gujarat’s Bhuj earthquake, Odisha’s super cyclone and COVID -19 along with National Disaster Management Authority.

In December last year, the home ministry revoked the licence of Delhi-based Churches of North India (CNI). The FCRA licence of its another affiliate, CNI-SBSS, was cancelled on March 30, 2024, said officials, adding that the CNI and its affiliates were facing charges from the Enforcement Directorate. The central agency carried out raids against CNI at various locations last year for alleged gross misappropriation of Church properties. The fourth NGO – Indo Global Social Service Society, working towards climate resilience has been receiving foreign funds from Germany, United Kingdom and Singapore.

The FCRA licence of the fifth NGO – Evangelical Fellowship of India – has been cancelled on charges of violation of FCRA rules, according to officials. None of the organisation replied to email queries sent to them. In the past one year, more than 100 NGOs, including Centre for Policy Research, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust that is headed by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and Oxfam India, have lost their FCRA licences on charges of alleged misuse of foreign grants.

William Murphy

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