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Home Ministry cancels registration of Infosys Foundation over FCRA violations

The foundation had requested for de-registration from FCRA

The Home Ministry has cancelled the registration of NGO Infosys Foundation for alleged violation of norms in receiving foreign funds, according to reports. All NGOs receiving funds from abroad are mandatorily required to be registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), and violation of this rule leads to action against the NGO, including cancellation of licence.

After coming to power, the Modi government has started to crack down on NGOs operating in the country in violation of laws. As part of that, Infosys Foundation was served a show-cause notice last year for failure to submit annual income and expenditure statements on foreign funding. A total of 1775 entities were served similar notices in November 2018, and Infosys Foundation was part of that.

The notices were issued by the home ministry after these NGOs failed to file income and expenditure statement, receipts and payment account, balance sheet for up to six consecutive financial years from 2011-12 to 2016-17 despite regular reminders. The notice had said that if they fail to submit the returns for the said period by December 1, 2018, appropriate action will be taken under the FCRA.

The registration of Infosys Foundation has been cancelled as the NGO did not file its return on income and expenditure statement for the last several years within the given deadline.

When contacted by media, Infosys Foundation said that its de-registration from the FCRA as done after it had proactively requested for the same with the Ministry of Home Affairs. An official of the foundation said, “this was done as the Infosys Foundation does not come under the purview of the FCRA following the amendment made to the act in 2016. We had approached the ministry to consider this, and thank them for granting our request.”

FCRA registration is required to obtain foreign funds, and once registered under FCRA, an entity have to mandatorily file annual returns, even if it gets no foreign fund in a year. Therefore, if an NGO stop receiving fund from foreign countries and do not intend to receive foreign funds in future, it may request for de-registration from FCRA, which eliminates the paperwork needed for annual returns under the ACT. In this case, instead of submitting the pending returns as a response to the show-cause notice, the Infosys Foundation requested for de-registration from FCRA instead.

Established in 1996, Infosys Foundation is headed by Sudha Murthy, the wife of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. The foundation supports programs in the areas of education, rural development, healthcare, arts and culture, and destitute care.

 

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