Lok Sabha Passes Bill To Amend The Foreign Contribution Act
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi stands in front of Parliament House during the first day of the 17th Lok Sabha in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Lok Sabha Passes Bill To Amend The Foreign Contribution Act

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Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill to amend the Foreign Contribution Act that seeks to make it mandatory for office bearers of any NGO to provide their Aadhaar numbers at the time of registration and also bring various other changes.

Amid concerns raised by various opposition members about the Foreign Contribution Amendment Bill, 2020, Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai said the legislation was not against any religion or NGO.

The bill was passed after a discussion in the lower house.

Replying to the discussion on the bill, the minister asserted that the bill was necessary for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat and that it will also help in curbing misuse of foreign funds.

Among other provisions, the bill proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

Participating in the debate, Congress MP Anto Antony said an attempt was being made to "suffocate the NGOs" through this bill.

He, however, said action should definitely be taken if an NGO is found involved in anti-national activities. But in some cases it has been seen that due to technical reasons licences get cancelled "which is an attack on the minority".

Stating that the amendments to the bill were "ill-conceived", he made a plea to the government to not be in a hurry with the legislation.

BJP's Satya Pal Singh said many organisations receiving foreign contributions were not spending the money on the work it was meant for. He said the money received as foreign contribution could not be spent on terrorist activities.

Sougata Roy of the Trinamool Congress said there was "no need" for the bill, stressing that when the Supreme Court has said, Aadhaar is not compulsory then why is the government making it mandatory for registration of NGOs.

YSRCP's Bellana Chandra Sekhar supported the bill, saying it is "much needed." Shrirang Appa Barne of the Shiv Sena also supported the bill and said that there is a need to come out with a strict law to stop religious conversion.

Kaushalendra Kumar of the Janata Dal said the bill would boost transparency.

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