Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has ordered a probe to find how the Intelligence Bureau (IB) report that claimed several foreign-funded NGOs are “negatively impacting economic development” got out.
The report first appeared in The Indian Express on June 7. According to a senior Home Ministry official, the decision to order a probe was taken after anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar, who was at the forefront of protests against the Kudankulam project and is one of the persons named in the report, filed a defamation suit against Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and Intelligence Bureau Director Asif Ibrahim.
The Delhi Police has been asked to conduct the probe. The IB report, sent to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said, “A significant number of Indian NGOs (funded by some donors based in the US, UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries) have been noticed to be using people centric issues to create an environment which lends itself to stalling development projects.”
It said the “negative impact on GDP growth is assessed to be 2-3 per cent per annum,” and identified seven sectors/ projects that got stalled because of NGO-created agitations.
The report, dated June 3, also called Greenpeace “a threat to national economic security”, and accused it of contravening laws to “change the dynamics of India’s energy mix”. It said Greenpeace’s “superior network” of numerous pan-India organisations has helped conduct anti-nuclear agitations and mounted “massive efforts to take down India’s coal fired power plants and coal mining activity”.
Following the report, the MHA had told the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that prior permission should be sought before any donations are made to Greenpeace India from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation.
On July 8, while answering a question in the Lok Sabha on foreign-funded NGOs, MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju said, “There were intelligence inputs of alleged involvement of NGOs which have received foreign funds in the past in sponsoring agitations against nuclear plants and coal fields in the country. NGOs against whom inputs were received during the last three years include Tuticorin Diocesan Association, East Coast Research and Development Trust, Thoothukudi, Centre for Promotion and Social Concern, Madurai and Greenpeace India, Chennai.”
DDC vice-chairperson Ashish Khetan said, “As of today he does not hold the charge anymore.”