Nongovernmental organisations in India received nearly Rs 12,500 crore from foreign contributors in 2013, according to a home ministry report. In 2011-12, they had received Rs 11,500 crore, which in turn was nearly 12 per cent since the previous year. In the two years preceding that, foreign donations had dropped around 4 per cent.
The report also noted that only two per cent of the country’s estimated 20 lakh NGOs report their donations from abroad, and that most of the money is used for purposes not specified by the NGOs.
NGOs have been under the government scanner following an Intelligence Bureau report to the PMO stating stating that they are “stalling development projects”. The home ministry report, released last December, states, “…It is necessary to note that the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.”
The ministry report notes the absence of a centralised database on the number of NGO in the country and the quantum of finance involved in their operation. But it adds, “Unofficial figures indicate that there are over 20 lakh NGOs registered in India and those reporting to MHA for Foreign Contributions Regulation Act are only 2 per cent of the total NGOs.”
The report classifies 15 major purposes for which the foreign contributions have been received, and states that the highest amounts were received and utilised for “activities which are not mentioned” and under the miscellaneous head — Rs 2,350 crore approximately in 2013 and Rs 2253.61 crore in 2012 — followed by work in rural development, welfare of children, construction and maintenance of schools and colleges, and research.
The home ministry also raises concern that a “large number of registered associations still don’t submit their statutory annual returns mandated by the law”. Among states and UTs, the highest amount of foreign contribution for the year 2013 was reported by Delhi, followed by Tamil Nadu. Between 2012 and 2013, several anti-government protests were organised in both states, holding up various projects including the Kudankulam nuclear plant.
In previous years, the highest foreign contribution by any district in 2011-12 was reported by Chennai (Rs 889.99 crore) followed by Mumbai (Rs 825.40 crore) and Bangalore (Rs 812.48 crore). Among NGOs, World Vision of India, Chennai, received the highest that year at Rs 233.38 crore, followed by the Believers Church India, Pathanamthitta, Kerala (Rs 190.05 crore), and Rural Development Trust, Anathapur, in Andhra Pradesh (Rs 144.39 crore).
United States tops the list of countries from where donations came during the years 2013 and 2012, with Rs 4,050 crore and Rs 3,838.23 respectively. In 2011-12, Compassion International USA had given Rs 183.83 crore and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints USA Rs 130.77 crore. The next five countries from where the highest donations have come in the past three years have been the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. In 2011-12, British organisations gave Rs 1219.02 crore, German ones Rs 1096.01 crore, Italian ones Rs 528.88 crore and Dutch ones Rs 418.37 crore, as per the MHA report.
Home Ministry officials said after an inquiry from the PMO on foreign contributions, a fresh list is being drawn and will soon be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Out of 22,702 NGOs that reported foreign contributions in 2011-12, 148 received in excess of Rs 10 crore, 178 between Rs 5 and 10 crore, 1,702 associations between Rs 1 and 5 crore, and the rest below Rs 1 crore.