The Central government according to reports, has revoked the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act-2010 (FCRA), of top Universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which means that as a result they won’t be able to receive foreign funds.
This step was reportedly taken because these institutes didn’t file their returns for a period of 5 consecutive years from 2010-11 to 2014-15. Other prominent educational institutes which have been barred include: Delhi University, Indira Gandhi National Open University, IIT-Delhi, Mumbai University, Pune University, Punjab University, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and Lady Irwin College.
They were reportedly asked to file their replies for the lack of compliance by 23rd June, failing which this action appears to have been taken against them. Even NGOs, prominent associations, societies and trusts have not been spared by the government. According to the report, the licence of organisations like Supreme Court Bar Association, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, FICCI Socio-Economic Development Foundation, People for Animals and Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital has also been revoked.
As a result of this action, questions might be raised as to why were such prominent organisations not filing their annual returns as mandated by the FCRA Act? Was this a logistic problem or did they have something to hide?
The government though doesn’t appear to be any mood of stopping here, after it has also directed 1,222 NGOs to validate their bank accounts where they receive the foreign funds, failing which punitive action would be taken against them. The NGOs in the list includes Sri Ramakrishna Math, Ramakrishna Mission and Coimbatore Christian Charitable Trust.
The Home Ministry in its circular has also specified that all the NCRA registered NGOs need to receive their donations in a single bank account.
The government has in the past 3 years, cancelled the registration of more than 10,000 NGOs for not filing their returns. Plus more than 1,300 NGOs have been denied renewals after they reportedly violated various provisions of the FCRA.
Such an action by the government may have been a long time coming, as was reported by us in the recent past.