RS passes Bill to regulate foreign funds

Alarmed over the “size of money” coming into the country from abroad and many organisations not reporting it to the authorities...

Written by Raghvendra Rao | New Delhi | Published: August 20, 2010 1:44:28 am

Alarmed over the “size of money” coming into the country from abroad and many organisations not reporting it to the authorities,the government on Thursday got the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Bill,2006,cleared by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals,associations and companies,and for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

The Bill has several new features as compared to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act,1976. These relate to registration of certain persons with the Central government. The registration will be valid for a five year period.

The Bill empowers the government to inspect and seize accounts or records if it suspects contravention of the provisions of this law.

“We have examined the working of the law in the last 34 years and we think it is time to replace it with a brand new law. That is why,instead of attempting piecemeal amendments,we are bringing a fresh Bill,” Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha.

“The regulations have been so framed that while legitimate charitable social,educational,medical and activity that serves any public purpose is allowed,foreign money does not dominate social and political discourse in India… But,if you want to access foreign money,then one has to come under a system of regulation,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram added that the government was dealing with nearly 40,000 associations. “In fact,the number,as on July,2010 is,40,173. My biggest problem when I reviewed this Act is,one-half of the associations do not report the foreign contributions,they do not file accounts… Therefore,if the organisations do not file accounts or do not report,then,we have taken the power now,after issuing a show-cause notice,their registration will be cancelled,and then further consequences will follow,” he said.

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