January 7, 2017 3:51:38 am
An NGO working for women and child rights in south India has lost its FCRA licence, which was renewed by the Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) in October last year. The licence of Florence Home Foundation (FHF) — a member of France’s Emmaus International — was cancelled on the ground that the NGO credited “foreign contribution into the local fund bank in violation of Section 17 of FCRA, 2010”, said the ministry order. The NGO is based in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu.
The MHA had recently cancelled Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of seven NGOs including activist Teesta Setalvad’s Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP), Shabnam Hashmi’s Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) and Gujarat-based Navsarjan Trust on the grounds that they were renewed “inadvertently despite adverse reports”. As first reported by The Indian Express, CJP’s FCRA licence was renewed though it was still under prior permission category.
In its latest order, the MHA stated that FHF applied for renewal of licence on March 10, 2016, and its licence was “inadvertently” renewed on October 31, 2016. According to the MHA, the NGO was “guilty of diversion /misutilisation of the funds” and there was a “need to revise the said order for renewal of registration in public interest”.
The FHF website claims that the NGO grants micro-credit to widows, single and poor women in surrounding areas, helping them achieve self-sufficiency. The Indian Express was unable to contact the NGO.
“FCRA licences of eight NGOs have been cancelled so far and some more cases are under scrutiny,” said a senior home ministry official.
MHA officials said there were adverse intelligence inputs against these NGOs, including allegations such as painting the government as “anti-Dalit” abroad and working against public interest by using foreign funds.
The leaders of opposition parties had earlier written to PM Narendra Modi accusing his government of pursuing vendetta politics by “selectively” cancelling licences of NGOs, and demanded that they be restored.
After the Modi government came to power in 2014, FCRA licences of more than 20,000 NGOs have either been cancelled or lapsed, leaving only 13,000 NGOs entitled to receive foreign donations.
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