news Friday, June 19, 2015 - 05:30
In a move that could be seen one to tighten the screws on NGOs, the Union Home Ministry has proposed a draft amendment to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). A report in The Times of India mentions that the ministry plans to make it mandatory for banks to report to it within 48 hours of a foreign-fund transfer to an organisation without FCRA registration. The amendment would ensure that NGOs and individuals submit the details of receipt of foreign funds within a week of the transaction taking place. The report adds that the NGOs website could have all the necessary details of transactions and an annual accounts report would be filed to the ministry too. The ministry’s move comes after the government had cancelled the registration of over 1000 NGOs over concerns of the lack of transparency in foreign funding. “The amendments are meant to promote transparency in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions by these organisations as well as the reporting mechanism of banks by using available information technology,” a ministry official told the newspaper. He added that the new rules will improve the existing system in terms of requests for permission, prior registration and its renewal under the FCRA. The report adds that all NGOs receiving funds from abroad would have to register or renew existing registrations by March 2016, following which they would be unable to do so. “The proposed move to amend the act is welcome for the sake of transparency,” K Shivakumar, treasurer of Voluntary Action Network India (an association that represents NGOs) is quoted by the newspaper as saying. Shivkumar adds though that the hassle of submitting details on foreign exchange received or spent on a daily basis would interfere with an NGOs functioning. Development Promotion Group head R Bhakther Solomon told the TOI that submitting details for banks so regularly would be difficult too. The government has given all stakeholders to respond by July 1, following which the Centre would make amendments to the FCRA. Also Read: Why did Greenpeace allow perpetrators to walk away, asks ex-staffer who alleged rape    

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