Nearly two weeks after the Union government refused to renew the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity (MoC), the Centre restored it on Thursday. The new FCRA certificate will be valid till the end of 2026.
With the renewed registration, the charity will be able to receive and use funds from foreign contributions.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), as of January 7, there are 16,908 active or alive FCRA organisations in the country, and MoC is one of them.
Details for Kolkata-based MoC, with 147120001 as its FCRA registration number, show that the organisation’s FCRA certification was renewed on January 6. The registration certificate is now valid from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026.
Sunita Kumar, spokesperson of MoC, said, “We are happy and delighted that the central government realised and restored our FCRA registration. People who are donating know it is for the poor. They also raised their voices, asking why this had happened. Anyway, I am happy.”
On December 25, the MHA had refused to renew the NGO’s FCRA registration after it had received some “adverse inputs”. It had mentioned in a statement on December 27 that MoC’s “renewal of FCRA registration…was refused on December 25, 2021, for not meeting the eligibility conditions under FCRA 2010 and Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR) 2011”. It mentioned that “no request/revision application” was received from MoC for the refusal of the renewal. The organisation’s registration was valid up to October 31, 2021, the Ministry said, adding that the “validity was subsequently extended up to December 31, 2021, along with other FCRA associations whose renewal application were pending renewal”.
“However, while considering the MoC’s renewal application, some adverse inputs were noticed. In consideration of these inputs on record, the renewal application of MoC was not approved,” it said.
On December 31, the Ministry had extended the validity certificates of all organisations that were expiring between September 29, 2021 and March 31, 2022 who had applied for a renewal before the expiry of their certificates.
The refusal to renew the FCRA registration, which is needed by the NGOs to receive foreign funding, had become a political flashpoint, with several Opposition leaders expressing shock and dismay at the move.
As per the annual reports submitted to the Home Ministry, MoC had received Rs 425.86 crore in the past five years in foreign donations, and over Rs 1,099 crore in the last 15 years from foreign sources. Between April 2020 and March 2021, it had received Rs 75.19 crore.
The NGO was set up in 1950 by Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for bringing help to suffering humanity”.
Leaders of the BJP and the right wing have accused the charity of proselytization. On December 12, an FIR was registered against MoC in Vadodara and it was booked under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, for allegedly “hurting Hindu religious sentiments” and “luring towards Christianity young girls” at a shelter home it runs in Vadodara.
The organisation had rejected the charge.
In the recently concluded Winter Session of Parliament, BJP Lok Sabha member had accused the NGO of indulging in religious conversions and illegally sending children for adoption abroad.
— With inputs from Atri Mitra