March 18, 2020 2:34:00 am
In the past three years, the government has cancelled licences of over 6,600 NGOs in the country for violation of various provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA). More than 69 per cent of these NGOs are educational institutions, the government told Parliament on Tuesday.
It also informed Lok Sabha during the Question Hour that during the same period, it granted new licences to just over 2,000 NGOs.
In a written reply to a question on the number of FCRA licences of NGOs cancelled since 2017, Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai told Lok Sabha: “For violation of various provisions of the FCRA, 2010, the Central government has cancelled registration certificates of 6,676 associations.”
Of these, Rai said, 4,614 were educational institutions, 2,531 cultural organisations and 900 religious organisations. Given that the total adds up to more than 7,000, Rai explained: “Many association(s)/NGOs have obtained registration certificate under the FCRA, 2010 for more than one programme, thus, they figure in more than one category in the relevant year. Due to such overlap, the category-wise total number may differ from the actual total.”
On the question of new licences issued, Rai said 2,214 new licences were issued since 2017. He added that the highest number of licences were issued in 2017 — 1,011.
Incidentally, 2017 was also the year in which cancellations were the highest. According to Rai, as many as 4,866 licences were cancelled that year, of which 3,316 belonged to educational institutions.
Since it came to power, the NDA government at the Centre has mounted a campaign against NGOs that do not strictly follow provisions of FCRA. Several high-profile NGOs —the Ford Foundation, Amnesty International and the Lawyers Collective which is led by senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover —have been placed under the scanner.
Last year, in reply to a question by TMC MP Sougata Ray on whether the government and investigating agencies were following a “pick-and-choose policy and targeting organisations which were campaigning against its policies”, Rai had told the Lok Sabha: “No, Sir.”
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