Govt cancels FCRA licence of top public health NGO

The RSS-backed Swadeshi Jagran Manch had recently alleged a nexus between the Gates Foundation and big pharma and its “influence” on health policymaking.

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published:April 20, 2017 5:04 am
fcra licence, Public Health Foundation of India, PHFI, PHFI foreign funding, phfi foreign funding, ngo foreign funding, india news, indian express news, latest news After the NDA government came to power in May 2014, FCRA licenses of around 20,000 NGOs have been cancelled by the Home Ministry. (Representational)

THE Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a Delhi-based NGO that aims to strengthen training, research and policy development in public health, has been barred from receiving foreign funds including from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The Union Home Ministry has cancelled PHFI’s registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, alleging violations of the law. PHFI’s licence was renewed for five years in August 2016, said officials.

Headed by noted public health expert K Srinath Reddy, PHFI — it was launched by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006 — provides technical assistance to Central and State Governments in several areas ranging from HIV prevention, access to drugs, tobacco control and immunization to environmental health, universal health coverage, public health cadre development and capacity building of primary care physicians.

The RSS-backed Swadeshi Jagran Manch had recently alleged a nexus between the Gates Foundation and big pharma and its “influence” on health policymaking. Speaking to The Indian Express, co-convenor Ashwini Mahajan said: “We have met the Union Health Minister and raised the matter regarding funding of PHFI by BMGF.” According to the Home Ministry, the PHFI license has been cancelled for alleged FCRA violations. These include alleged lobbying with parliamentarians and media for the anti-tobacco lobby. It was further alleged that PHFI had opened bank accounts which were not disclosed to the ministry and had “misreported” foreign donations received over the past three years. Officials claimed the NGO had transferred significant sums outside India without alerting the Home Ministry.

In an e-mail response to The Indian Express, the PHFI spokesperson said, “PHFI has received notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) — FCRA Wing regarding the renewal of its FCRA Registration. Certain observations have been made by the Ministry on utilisation of funds related to PHFI’s projects on tobacco, HIV/AIDS and its financial reports. PHFI has submitted the requisite information and documents to the MHA on the observations raised in the notification and provided the needed clarifications…PHFI is seeking an early resolution of the issue and continuation of the FCRA registration, based on the clarifications provided.”

Reddy was quoted by PTI as saying: “We have submitted all relevant documents and information to the ministry and are now waiting for a response.” According to the PHFI’s website, the chairman of the executive committee of its governing body is Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy and members include former deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Health Secretary C K Mishra. The website claims that several Central departments and state governments of Gujarat, Telangana, Odisha, Meghalaya, Karnataka and Delhi as collaborators along with a range of academic institutions in India and overseas including WHO, World Bank, All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health and the National Human Rights Commission.

After the NDA government came to power in May 2014, FCRA licenses of around 20,000 NGOs have been cancelled by the Home Ministry. Of these, the FCRA licenses of over 9,500 NGOs were cancelled in 2015. Among them were senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising’s NGO, Lawyers Collective (LC), Greenpeace, and Teesta Setalvad-run Sabrang trust.

The Home Ministry also toughened its stand in the case of Compassion International (CI), the Colorado-based child rights donor agency and despite US pressure refused to remove it from the prior permission category. Last year, three US NGOs George Soros-run Open Society Foundation; World Movement for Democracy and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) were put under prior permission category.

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  1. D
    Daya
    Apr 20, 2017 at 7:21 pm
    I am appreciated the government decisi on aboutFCRA the problem with christian organizations mis using founds ,my expiriance with 10years I use to work back to the bible organisation in hyderabad.this organisation lot of fraud about the foreign founds.
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    1. K
      ksp
      Apr 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm
      Are we becoming a too much police state
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      1. M
        Manu Konchady
        Apr 20, 2017 at 11:40 am
        The reasons for denying FCRA are absurd. Quote - "These include alleged lobbying with parliamentarians and media for the anti-tobacco lobby". What does the govt. expect from a public health NGO? Should they be pro-tobacco?
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        1. N
          Nagar
          Apr 20, 2017 at 11:26 am
          Drive out all these vicious NGOs receiving foreign funds & operating in India with a LOOT INDIA agenda. Also the nexus between these NGOs & MNCs should be broken. Indian Government should promote 'indigenous manufacturers' using 'indigenous systems' in the fields of medicine, food, Preventative Health.
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          1. A
            A villager
            Apr 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm
            Don't believe this JNU express.
            Reply
          2. N
            Nagar
            Apr 20, 2017 at 11:21 am
            All 'medicines', 'drugs' drugs by MNC Pharmas & corportates should be strictly banned - All our Public hospitals should only dispense AYURVEDIC MEDICINES & HERBS - ALLOPATHIC MEDICINES are poisonous chemicals promoted by MNCs to loot the world
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            1. E
              emittrap
              Apr 20, 2017 at 11:18 am
              'Allopathy' is a fraud on 'm es' by promoted by 'pharma mafia' aided by 'politic mafia' - The sooner India gets rid of 'allopathy' the better will the 'Indian Health Systems'. - Fast Foods, Pharma Companies & Insurance are the TRIO MAFIA out to loot Indians. - BAN FAST FOODS, INTRODUCE YOGA IN EDUCATION, REVIVE AYURVEDA
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                Mayasandra Varadarajan
                Apr 20, 2017 at 10:18 am
                Good decision to cancel THE Public Health Foundation of India licence. They are acting against national interest of INDIA. As for NARAYAN MURTHY everyone are aware he will sell any thing including INDIA for better profit. NARAYANA MURTHY has a track record of never standing up for matters of National Interest.
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                1. R
                  Raj
                  Apr 20, 2017 at 6:14 pm
                  Mayasandra Varadarajan What is your contribution from you comparing to Narayan Murthy. How dare you tell him, He will sell every thing including India for better profit. It is your BJP/RSS are doing it. They sell cow meat to foreign market. Narayan Murthy has bought enough Forex Reserve to his motherland. Absurd comments.
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                2. G
                  gopal
                  Apr 20, 2017 at 9:53 am
                  Good decisions by the govt. Time NGOs follow the law of the land
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                  1. D
                    David
                    Apr 20, 2017 at 9:41 am
                    These NGOs are hidden snakes, supporting Western agendas. Bill Gates promotes US interests in the guise of charity. Ban these NGOs.
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                    1. A
                      Ask
                      Apr 20, 2017 at 11:04 am
                      Well said! That is Russia has kicked western funded NgOs out of country.
                      Reply
                    2. Y
                      Yash Pal
                      Apr 20, 2017 at 9:33 am
                      The registrations are to be granted as per SJM's perceptions; good governance.
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                        Against Sick
                        Apr 20, 2017 at 9:01 am
                        very good move GOI. The litmus test these days for knowing if an individual or an ins ution is good or bad is very simple. If leftist media backs someone its very obvious that the ins ution or an individual has something to hide and is working against the national interest
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                          author
                          Apr 20, 2017 at 8:48 am
                          Very Good. ban all such western influences. even the website Quora is openly blocking Indian jyotish who are giving free and more accurate predictions than their western counterparts at the behest of these so called West based Vedic astrologers. The GOI should investigate Quora too.
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                          1. K
                            ksp
                            Apr 20, 2017 at 1:21 pm
                            An eye for an eye
                            Reply
                          2. A
                            Ask
                            Apr 20, 2017 at 6:57 am
                            NGO's funded by foreign money usually foundations or govt are working in the interests of their foreign funders to influence policy which is often not in the interests of common man in India. All NGOs with foreign funds should be barred from influencing policy making in Govt of India. A recent example is in Syria where the NGO raising red flag with respect to chemical gas of civilians is funded by western govts. Therefore it is a puppet of the govts from which it receives funds. ad has no incentive in doing it because he was already winning. Often people heading these NGOs are paid handsomely to do things that are unethical or immoral in nature and pushing foreign agenda in India thru govt of india policy making. Most recent example is of pushing cashless option in India based on global agenda.
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                              IslamForFoools
                              Apr 20, 2017 at 6:37 am
                              Very good, western evil countries with vested interest of Islamic jihadi countries are trying to weaken Hindu India rough their evil NGOs , most of which have very contradictory names, for example, amnesty international, green peace, human rights commission, religious watch dogs , peace tv. All these NGOs are are doing exactly opposite work of the name they have. We as Hindu must unite and work against these evil Christian and Islamic organizations. Jews and Hindus and budhists deserve countries not of their own
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                                Bopdji
                                Apr 20, 2017 at 6:34 am
                                The funds under the control of many of the powerful figures of the West, do unduly influence India, Indians and Indian lawmakers. The policy of curbing foreign funds to the Indian NGOs is still in its infancy and needs to be more aggressively applied.
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                                1. K
                                  kulaputra kulaputra
                                  Apr 20, 2017 at 6:16 am
                                  Bill Gates needs more money does not have credibility. If do ents are not filed or if there is malintent, donors must be told about this and the powerful executive committee is a strong one and will take action. Destroying ins utions is going overboard and will boomerang
                                  Reply
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