Amnesty effect: More NGOs to face MHA crackdown

PTI8_19_2016_000152B ABVP activists shout slogans during a protest against Amnesty International India in Bengaluru | PTI

As the controversy continues to boil over Amnesty India, the Union Home Ministry is planning a stricter clamp down—which could spill over to other NGOs. The MHA reads out the rule book on Amnesty India and others which have not registered themselves under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) but have been operating in India for a long period of time and are keen to receive foreign aid periodically.

The rules mandate that the NGOs, which are not registered under the Act, can apply for "prior permission" to receive foreign aid, but such permission allows the NGOs to receive funds only twice. It is now being looked into whether Amnesty India took foreign funds more than two times under the prior permission category.

While Amnesty India is facing charges of sedition, unlawful assembly and promoting enmity following alleged raising of anti-India slogans at an event in Bengaluru last week, the MHA and IB scrutiny is likely to have a spill over effect with the Home Ministry keen to enforce its rules clearly defined under FCRA .

"Prior permission to receive foreign aid comes with riders and all NGOs must be aware of it," said an official. Moreover, the ministry has also made it clear that NGOs operating in the country for a long period of time will need to get themselves registered under FCRA if they want to receive foreign aid.

“Applying under the prior permission category to receive foreign funds is meant for new NGOs starting work in the country and not for the established ones,” said the official. The move is likely to impact some other NGOs in the country who have been working for a long period of time but have not got themselves registered under FCRA .

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