Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) Renewal: The Truth & Progress So Far
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) is a set of regulations that govern the receipt and use of foreign donations by Indian citizens and organizations. The Act was enacted in 2010, and it replaces the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 1976. The FCRA regulates the receipt of foreign contributions by certain categories of persons and organizations, such as political parties, religious organizations, and educational institutions.
It also requires that all recipients of foreign contributions report their activities to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The FCRA is designed to ensure that foreign donations do not influence India’s political process or affect its national interests.
Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) License Renewal: What you Need to Know?
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) is a set of regulations that govern the receipt and use of foreign donations by Indian NGOs. All NGOs receiving foreign donations must obtain an FCRA license from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The license must be renewed every five years.
To renew an FCRA license, an NGO must first submit a detailed application to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The application must provide information on the NGO’s activities, finances, and foreign donors. The Ministry will then scrutinize the application and may ask for additional information or clarification.
Once the application is approved, the NGO will be issued a new FCRA license. The license must be displayed prominently at the NGO’s office. The NGO will also be required to submit annual reports detailing its activities and finances to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Failure to comply with the FCRA regulations can result in the cancellation of the license and severe penalties, including imprisonment. Therefore, it is essential for all NGOs receiving foreign donations to ensure that their FCRA licenses are up to date.
But recently a question came up in the Lok Sabha regarding the FCRA renewal.
(a) Is the government denying license renewal to about 6,000 organizations under FCRA?
(b) As to whether refusing to register with the FCRA would negatively impact their welfare programs & Covid relief efforts;
(c) whether any measures are being taken by the government to ensure an amicable resolution of this issue, including not interfering with welfare schemes in this regard, if so, their details, if not, their reasons;
(d) Whether some charity organizations and some NGOs in the country have recently been restored or granted FCRA registration;
(e) Whether there have been any restorations of such charities and NGOs’ FCRA registrations in the country, both in terms of their names and locations?
Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs “Shri Nityanand Rai” Reply
Not at all, sir. A total of 5800 FCRA registered associations have failed to renew their certificates within the period stipulated in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Thus, these associations are no longer considered FCRA registered under section 12 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, and rule 12 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011.
Since Covid-19 is sweeping through the country, certain relaxations have been given to NGOs in order to ensure that welfare programs are not affected. Here are some of the main relaxations:
A notice has been sent to NGOs that are scheduled to expire between 29.09.2020 and 31.12.2021 to extend the validity of their registration certificates until 31.12.2021. Several conditions have been added to the validity extension until 31.03.2022.
(ii) The time period for filing the Annual Returns for the year 2019-20 has been extended by six months, to 30 June 2021.
(iii) Foreign contributions may be received in FCRA associations’ old main account until June 30, 2021.
Section 32 of FCRA, 2010 allows the Central Government to review any order passed in proceedings against a registered organization. In accordance with this provision of the Act, a revision application will be considered on its merits and disposed of accordingly. By way of revision, the FCRA certificates of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Delhi & Missionaries of Charity (MOC), Kolkata were renewed in Nov 2021.
We are grateful to the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs “Shri Nityanand Rai” for his reply and clarification on FCRA license renewal. The minister has stated that the government is committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of NGOs. We hope that all concerned parties will work together towards this goal so that Indian citizens can continue to benefit from the important work done by NGOs.