Home Ministry cancels FCRA registrations of 1,448 NGOs in TN, highest in India
The Home Ministry also said the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the health ministry regarding bringing back bodies of those who died abroad due to COVID-19 must be strictly adhered to. Representational image: PTI

Home Ministry cancels FCRA registrations of 1,448 NGOs in TN, highest in India

Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of NGOs whose FCRA registrations have ceased and their certificates have lost their validity.

Across the country, 12,499 FCRA registration of NGOs have been cancelled till December 31 and in Tamil Nadu alone, 1448 registrations have been ceased and due to this, all these NGOs will not be able to get funds from foreign countries.

Among the NGOs which have lost their FCRA registrations, many belong to the minorities.

FCRA registrations are required to get funds from abroad. Of the 1488 registration scrapped, Chennai alone has 302 registrations of NGOs which have been cancelled. More than 30 Christian NGOs have lost their registrations in Chennai.

West Bengal follows Tamil Nadu with 1373 NGOs losing their FCRA registrations.

The Union Home Ministry refused to renew the registrations of the majority of the NGOs as they did not follow the rules.

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“The FCRA registration of these organisations were cancelled mostly due to their failure to submit annual income and expenditure statements on foreign funding for up to six years, despite repeated reminders,” said an NGO chief, who is also the member of Voluntary Action Network India (VANI).

As per FCRA guidelines, registered associations are required to submit an online annual report, with scanned copies of their income and expenditure statement, receipts and payment account, balance sheet, etc., for every financial year, within nine months of the closure of the financial year.

Any organisation, association or NGO in India cannot receive foreign funds if they do not have a license under the FCRA, which is regulated by the Home Ministry. A few NGOs whose registrations were cancelled were involved in providing support to people affected by leprosy.

In the last 10 years, the Union government has cancelled FCRA licenses of over 20,600 NGOs. Most of these cancellations were done on account of non-filing of annual returns.

In Tamil Nadu, some of the NGOs whose registrations were cancelled, were involved in the protests against Kudankulam Nuclear Units in 2011-12.

At present, over ₹58,000 crore foreign funds were received by NGOs registered under the FCRA, and there are around 22,400 FCRA registered NGOs in the country.

As per the amended law, providing Aadhaar numbers of the office-bearers of the NGOs has been made mandatory for registration of NGOs under the FCRA.

“As per the FCRA amendment, the NGOs can receive foreign contributions only through the State Bank of India branch in New Delhi with effect from April 1, 2021. Most of the NGOs complied with formalities and forwarded their application to SBI, New Delhi, but the bank is yet to open accounts,” said the VANI member.

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There are certain NGOs whose applications are pending with the Union Home Ministry, after the approval of the opening account with SBI.

“Others have received FCRA approval online but are waiting for the letter from MHA. Without this letter, the SBI is not giving them permission to receive funds or use the account,” the member said.

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