Oxfam India Says Covid Outreach Affected by Foreign Funds Curb
(Bloomberg) -- Oxfam India said the government’s move to stop it from accessing foreign donations will affect the non-profit organization’s social and humanitarian work in the country at a time when Covid-19 cases are rising again.
The refusal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to renew Oxfam India’s license to get funds from abroad will affect humanitarian work of setting up oxygen plants, delivering life saving equipment to hospitals and supporting healthcare workers, the NGO said in a statement.
The restrictions come as India added 33,750 new infections Monday, or more than five times the cases it reported a week ago, as numbers point to a new virus wave building in the country. Researchers at Cambridge late last month forecast a surge within days as India heads into a possibly intense but short Covid wave.
“Oxfam India will reach out to the Ministry of Home Affairs and will urge them to lift the funding restrictions to ensure vulnerable communities keep receiving the support they need at this critical time of pandemic,” said Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India.
A Home Ministry spokesman declined to comment.
Oxfam is among the nearly 6,000 entities whose renewal for receiving foreign donations was stopped or had expired, Press Trust of India reported, citing government documents.
This is not the first time that charitable and voluntary organizations or rights groups have lost their licenses to get money for its activities from overseas donors. Since it came to power in 2014, Modi’s government has cracked down on hundreds of NGOs.
In 2020, Human rights watchdog Amnesty International shut down its India operations after accusing the government of “constant harassment,” including freezing its bank accounts.
Last week the government barred the Missionaries of Charity, the Catholic religious order and philanthropic organization started by Mother Teresa, from accessing foreign donations for not meeting eligibility conditions under local laws.
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