Government Set To Amend FCRA; Aadhar To Be Mandatory For Registration
Parliament House stands on the first day of the 17th Lok Sabha in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Government Set To Amend FCRA; Aadhar To Be Mandatory For Registration

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The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) is set to be amended, under which providing the Aadhar numbers of the office-bearers of any non-government organisation will be mandatory for registration and public servants will be barred from receiving funds from abroad.

The Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020, to be introduced in the Lok Sabha today, also proposes to enable the central government to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

The draft bill proposes that not more than 20% of the total foreign funds received can be spent on administrative expenses. Currently, the limit is 50%.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states, "The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 was enacted to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

The draft says the Act came into force on May 1, 2011 and has been amended twice. The first amendment was made by section 236 of the Finance Act, 2016 and the second by section 220 of the Finance Act, 2018.

It says the amendment is required to enhance transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions every year and facilitating "genuine" non-governmental organisations or associations that are working for the welfare of society.

Any person who makes an application for prior permission or seeks registration under the FCRA or renewal of his FCRA licence will now have to mandatorily furnish the Aadhar numbers of all the NGO’s office-bearers or directors or other key functionaries or in case of a foreigner, a copy of the passport or the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, the draft bill says.

It proposes to include "public servant" and "corporation owned or controlled by the government" in the list of entities who are not eligible to receive foreign donations.

Foreign funds worth over Rs 58,000 crore were received by NGOs registered under the FCRA between 2016-17 and 2018-19.

There are around 22,400 NGOs in the country.

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