Saturday, September 3, 2016

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Application for Award of financial assistance To Cultural Organization with National Presence

Ministry of Culture invites applications from the Cultural Organizations with National Presence for sanction of grant under the Scheme

Financial Assistance to Cultural Organizations with National Presence’ for the financial year 2016-17

Last Date to apply:

23 Sep 2016

About the Scheme:

This Scheme is to provide financial assistance to Cultural Organizations with National Presence to meet the expenditure to be incurred on the cultural programmes during the financial year 2016-17.

Eligibility to apply for grant :-

1. The Applicant Organization should be registered in India having an all India Character with national presence and should have operational presence at national/international level.

2. The activities of the organization should be primarily or significantly Cultural.

3. The Organization should have capacity to do at least 20 events/programmes in a year. The Organization should have adequate working strength artistes/staff/volunteers, Organization should have spent Rs.1 crore or more during 3 of the last 5 years on cultural activities.

How to apply for Grant :-

The eligible Cultural Organizations may apply on the prescribed proforma download (Application for financial assistance to cultural organizations with national presence): http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/sites/default/files/Schemes/formnationalpresence.pdf from website provide by Ministry of culture, India. Before applying the Cultural Grant all the NGOs are requested to have NGO portal unique Id by Niti Aayog Portal. Then apply for grant. NGOs need (About Ngo partnership System unique Id: http://ngo.india.gov.in

Applications complete in all respect should be submitted by 23 Sep 2016 at the address mentioned below:-

Section Officer (Parts. I),

Room No.205, 2nd Floor,

D -Block, Puratatva Bhawan, GPO Complex, INA,

New Delhi-110023

More details please see on ministry of culture website:-

Important links:-

Application for financial assistance to cultural organizations with national presence : http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/sites/default/files/Schemes/formnationalpresence.pdf

Scheme for Financial Assistance to Cultural Organisations with National Presence

http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/scheme-financial-assistance-cultural-organisations-national-presence

Ngo partnership System Unique Id Registration Details : http://ngo.india.gov.in

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MHA wants real-time monitoring of NGOs’ foreign funds

According to MHA officials, some banks currently update their intranet systems with transaction details of these accounts only once in 24 hours.

AN effort to keep track of foreign funds received by NGOs on a “real-time basis”, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked the Reserve Bank of India to instruct all banks to link designated foreign contribution accounts to the MHA’s online database through the Core Banking Solutions system and Public Financial Management System.

According to MHA officials, some banks currently update their intranet systems with transaction details of these accounts only once in 24 hours. The MHA wants automatic updates on any activity regarding these accounts.

“Each beneficiary of foreign contribution has a designated account. We have observed that banks are pushing transaction data of these accounts only once in 24 hours and that too is updated manually. We have taken up the matter with the RBI, as we want to ensure that we can track all such transactions on a real-time basis through an automatic reflection in the Home Ministry’s own online system,” said a home ministry official.

“What we have proposed is that all designated accounts of those who receive foreign contributions are linked to the core banking system and the PFMS, which in turn, is linked to our own online database,” the official added.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

HCL Grants for Indian NGOs

HCL Grant Adds Two More Categories This Year
Health and Environment added besides Education
Call for Entries Open

Dear Change Leader,

As you would probably know, HCL Grant<http://hclgrant.hcltech.com/>, is an initiative by HCL Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of HCL Technologies<http://www.hcltech.com/>, for recognizing the rise of The Fifth Estate – the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) which are formed and led by the citizens of this country. The Grant supports such change agents that reach out to marginalized, isolated and underdeveloped rural communities, and achieve sustainable socio-economic development.

In its first year, HCL Grant identified the best NGOs working in the area of rural education. From a pool of over 400 NGOs who applied for HCL Grant, six finalists were selected. Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the Honorable President of India, awarded the first HCL Grant Award of Rs.5 crore to Going to School, an NGO which currently covers over 1,300 schools and is impacting 1,50,000 children every week, with imperative life changing skills through their design-driven approach and learning material, in remote villages of Bihar.

For the second season of The Grant, HCL Foundation is inviting applications in the following three categories:
HEALTH:
Complements state efforts towards achievement of the Goals under National Health Mission and aims at supporting innovative, scalable models that would help the nation meet its targets faster than planned, in rural India. Gender transformative projects ranging from providing equitable & universal access to health for all, equitable access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to all, prevention and elimination of water borne diseases, are all in the radar of HCL Grant. Given that the country needs substantial push on these health indicators, maternal, adolescent, child health and nutrition, eradication of communicable diseases, while reaching out to the most unreached and the underprivileged, is the primary focus of this Grant.
ENVIRONMENT:
Sustainable Environment conservation by supporting the National Missions under Climate Change, ranging from providing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to all, combatting climate change and its impact, protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem, wetlands and other water bodies, combatting desertification, deforestation, land degradation and biodiversity loss, combatting pollution and promoting sustainable use of non-renewable resources, in the rural belt. The Grant focuses on direct action that leads to long term impact, achieved through lasting behavioural change towards conservation of environment, the flora and the fauna, as well as strengthening of the state systems towards a common goal of instilling cross sectoral shared responsibility towards protection of environment. Gender transformative and inclusive approaches will be a key consideration to make it to a winning idea.
EDUCATION:

The Grant is focused on Right to Education for All, by upscaling initiatives that strengthen Elementary, Secondary and Higher Education as well as Adult Literacy. The Grant essentially considers scalable and replicable education models that promote lifelong learning opportunities through skill development and confidence building, including digital literacy for all. Gender transformative education initiatives that lead to girl child and women empowerment through education are central to this Grant. The project should be designed around equitable, inclusive and quality education approach, thereby strengthening state systems and attaining sustainability in rural development.

In each of the above mentioned categories, an amount of INR 5 Crore will be awarded to the winning NGO, selected through a robust evaluation process consisting of  multiple levels of assessment, including field level due diligence. The winner will be announced in February 2017.

The last date for receiving applications for HCL Grant is September 15th, 2016. To know more and apply, please Click here. http://hclgrant.hcltech.com/#Apply

Best regards,

Nidhi Pundhir
Director CSR - Lead HCL Foundation

For queries, please write to hclgrant@hcl.com<mailto:hclgrant@hcl.com

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Foreign fund flow comes under intelligence radar

KOZHIKODE: In the wake of warnings on massive arrival of foreign funds for anti-national activities, the Central intelligence has put the activities of various NGOs and organisations in Kerala under thorough scanner.

Surprisingly, there has been drastic increase in number of organisations in Kerala which have been found violating rules under Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). As per a latest MHA report, FCRA licences of 527 organisations have been cancelled in Kerala in 2015 compared to two in 2014. In 2013, FCRA licences of one organisation was cancelled while 450 faced action for violation in 2012. Strict directions have been issued to all enforcement agencies concerned to keep track of the flow of funds to the NGOs and other charitable organisations in Kerala. According to officers with the intelligence, the Union Home Ministry has started to flag the organisations where they suspect diversion of funds for other purposes.

"The MHA has upped the surveillance and reports are filed. There is information that many organisations are using the subsidiary route for pumping in money. A lot of fund transfer is happening between parent organisation in a foreign country and its subsidiary opened in a different name in India," said a senior intelligence officer.All the organisations have been directed to keep their account books update. The MHA has been strict in taking action only in those cases where violations of FCRA have come to notice. It is learnt that a detailed probe is on to trace the funding activities of a few organisations in Kerala with regard to latest incident of 21 missing persons who reportedly left for Syria to join the IS. Officers said that they have collected details about a few bank accounts of the organisations. "Mostly, hard cash might have been used for the deals but we are put the accounts under surveillance," the officers added.

Source: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/Foreign-fund-flow-comes-under-intelligence-radar/2016/07/28/article3550484.ece



NGOs got over Rs 50,000 cr from abroad in past three yrs: Govt

NEW DELHIi, July 26:

Over Rs 50,000 crore were received by the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in last three years, the Lok Sabha was told today.
The acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by association or institutions is regulated under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.
“As on date, 33,091 NGOs are registered under the FCRA and the total funds received from abroad during the last three years and current year is Rs 50,944.54 crore,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The Government monitor funds received by the NGOs and also complaints that are received from various sources including security agencies in this regard, he said.
In 2014, penalty amounting to about Rs 60 lakh was imposed on 24 associations; Rs 80.11 lakh on 71 associations in 2015 and penalty of Rs 32.78 lakh on eight associations so far this year was imposed for compounding the offence for receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution without holding registration or prior permission under the FCRA, Rijiju said.
The notices were issued to around 21,000 associations in 2011 and to 10,343 NGOs in 2014 for not filing annual returns continuously for three years, the Minister said.
Consequently, registration of 4,138 NGOs was cancelled in 2012 and of 10,020 in March 2015 after issue of show cause notices to such associations and giving them adequate opportunity, he added. (PTI)

Source: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/ngos-got-rs-50000-cr-abroad-past-three-yrs-govt-2/

NGOs Not Registered Under FCRA Slapped With Rs 1.5 Crore Penalties

NGOs have received over Rs 50,000 crore in the last three years, the Lok Sabha was informed. The acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by association or institutions is regulated under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said that as on date, 33,091 NGOs are registered under the FCRA and the total funds received from abroad during the last three years and current year is Rs 50,944.54 crore.

He also said that funds received by the NGOs are monitored by the government, while complaints are also received from various sources including security agencies in this regard.

Penalties were also imposed for receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution without holding registration or prior permission under the FCRA. In 2014, penalty amounting to about Rs 60 lakh was imposed on 24 associations; Rs 80.11 lakh on 71 associations in 2015 and penalty of Rs 32.78 lakh on eight associations this year.

Notices were also issued to around 21,000 associations in 2011 and to 10,343 NGOs in 2014 for not filing annual returns continuously for three years, the minister pointed out.

4,138 NGOS saw their registration cancelled in 2012 and of 10,020 in March 2015 after issue of show cause notices to such associations and giving them adequate opportunity to reply, the minister said.

Source: http://www.cfo-india.in/article/2016/07/26/ngos-not-registered-under-fcra-slapped-rs-15-crore-penalties

Relief for NGOs as House Passes Lokpal & Lokayukta Amendment Bill

The government on Wednesday passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta amendment bill changing provisions which made it mandatory for senior management personnel working with NGOs to disclose their assets and liabilities.

In the process the bill brought relief to lakhs of public servants who were supposed to declare their assets by July 31.

The amendment also addressed its dispute with the Opposition making the "leader of the single largest party" part of the selection committee instead of the Leader of Opposition. With Congress having only 44 members in the present Lok Sabha, there is no Leader of Opposition.

Minister for personnel Dr Jitender singh said the amendments will now be scrutinized by a parliamentary standing committee which will give its report before next session of Parliament. What this would mean is that public servants will get relief from declaring their assets till the standing committee gives its report.

The original Lokpal act of 2013 had brought NGOs within the purview of Lokpal by defining Directors and Office Bearers of NGOs as public servant and made it mandatory for them to make their assets public.

Section 44 of the original act said, "any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or officer of… [a] society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), by whatever name called, wholly or partly financed by the government and the annual income of which exceeds such amount as the central government may, by notification, specify.”

On June 20th this year government through a notification brought all NGOs who receive FCRA of 10 lakh or Central government grant of one crore.

The NGO sector was worried after this notification as they were asked to file detail of their assets, debts and other liabilities by July 31.

Being defined as "public servant" meant the NGO office bearer were also facing the prospect of being prosecuted under the prevention of corruption act.

The Lokpal amendment bill was not listed in Wednesday's list of business and was suddenly introduced by Dr. Jitender Singh much to the objection of the Opposition members who questioned the urgency.

Assuring opposing MPs like CPI(M)'s Mohd Salim and TMC's Kalyan Banerjee the minister said, 'Section 44 has certainly created urgency to get the amendments passed before July 31 as the government cannot do it on its own.'

The Narendra Modi government has prosecuted many including NGOs like Greenpeace and Teesta Setalvad's Sabrang trust for FCRA violation.

But the decision to take NGOs out of the purview of Lokpal is bound to be welcomed by this sector.

Source: http://www.news18.com/news/india/relief-for-ngos-as-centre-passes-lokpal-lokayukta-amendment-bill-1274614.html

Targeting NGOs

Overregulation will stifle the voluntary sector. The lokpal act provisions need a relook.

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, legislated by the then UPA government overzealously included senior management personnel working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the definition of “public servants” requiring them to disclose their assets and liabilities if their NGO receive foreign donations and funds from the Union government. It didn’t stop there. The personnel’s spouse and dependent children too were required to furnish such details.

These persons, now that they are public servants, could be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act for non-compliance. The act kicked in following a June 24 notification by the government, and requires disclosures by July 31. This is perhaps the worst case of a public policy swinging between extremes when legislated in a hurry and in an environment of distrust and anger. A perception of rising corruption during the UPA’s second term and the consequent high-decibel protests led by Anna Hazare forced the government to legislate the lokpal act.

Unfortunately, in a bid to be seen as cracking down on those who swindle public money or resources, it introduced provisions which are draconian.

A clear and irreversible course being followed by India since the beginning of economic reforms in 1991 has been to do away with the tyranny of red tape and inspector raj. In as much, the direction has also been to encourage enterprises and individuals alike to invest their precious and finite resources — time and money — in areas including health and education where the government has not met the needs of the country’s poor. Nobody disputes the need for transparency and adequate disclosure by organisations that are recipients of public money. The lokpal act brings under its purview any NGO wholly or partly funded by the Union government to the extent of Rs one crore or more and has received Rs 10 lakh or more in foreign donations. But the provisions of the act stretch in a manner that not only intrude into the privacy of individuals, but also provides the leeway for officials to harass people. Overregulation may not only stifle the voluntary sector but also force volunteers and donors to stay away. Many trustees, directors and professional managers in NGOs, who could be philanthropists, experts and eminent persons from different walks of life, wouldn’t want their assets and liabilities loosely posted on government websites.

A group of parliamentarians cutting across party lines met the prime minister on Monday, who has promised an extension of the July 31 deadline. But the prime minister must also ensure that the lokpal act does not end up smothering a vibrant civil society when the government sets out to monitor and regulate NGOs that receive huge funds.

What to speak of (over) regulations the whole gamut of N G Os should be disbanded in India forthwith.
This counter productive and un-accountable sector has become so vast, diverse, mischievious,indulgent, self serving and anti Government that it is beyond the capacity of any authority to control their activity.this activity drew oxygen when late Narasimha Rao as prime minister called upon on N G Os to forward the nation's progress. However it so happened that there has been negligible /sustainable growth in most sectors under N G O activity for decades .The only positive thing happened that these organizations got a chance to fatten their purses with Indian nd foreign funds,threw crumbs at the vast un/under engaged youth, decided their own agenda and field of activity as per their choice and convenience.
They neither worked with the real conditions prevailing nor have any proof of improvement after years of so called social work except doctored reports for donor's consumption and untrue certificates from accounts/audit.
Most have been alleged to have engaged in un-healthy activities like conversions, anti social teachings, working against social norms and traditions thus putting the delicate social balance in jeopardy.
It will be worthwhile to note if any state /central govt has any statistics of real development through decades long activity by literally thousands of N G Os in all states.
If at all the Govt/s wish to still engage the services of this sector then all domestic and foreign funds must be received/disbursed for specified time/result oriented development of deserving areas on outsourcing basis with strict monitoring by Govt departments.Even Govt functioning with its in built checks often goes haywire, how unaccountable people/organizations can be entrusted with un accounted funds for national development

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/targeting-ngos-lokpal-lokayukta-act-2937438/

NGOs got over Rs 50,000 crore from abroad since 2013

NGOs have received around Rs 51,000 crore from abroad in the past three-and-a-half years, the government informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The government has also recovered Rs 1.64 crore as penalty from NGOs since 2014 after they were found to be violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 2010.

“As on date, 33,091 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) and the total funds received from abroad during the last three years and current year is Rs.50944.54 crore,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in a written reply.

In 2014, the penalty collected by the government was Rs 51.99 lakh from 24 NGOs, while it rose sharply to Rs 80.11 lakh from 71 organisations the next year. This year so far, Rs 32.78 lakh has been recovered from eight NGOS for compounding the offence for receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution without obtaining registration or prior permission under the FCRA.

“The government monitors funds received by the NGOs and also complaints and inputs that are received from various sources, including security agencies in this regard. In cases of violation is taken after conducting inspection of the records and accounts giving due opportunity to the concerned association/NGO,” Rijiju said. Notices were issued to around 21,000 associations in 2011 and to 10,343 NGOs in 2014 for not filing annual returns continuously for three years. Registration of 4,138 NGOs was cancelled in 2012 and of 10,020 in March 2015 after the issue of show cause notices to such associations and giving them adequate opportunity, he said

Source: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/560398/ngos-got-over-rs-50000.html

The unease over the NGO notifications

The implications of falling under the ambit of the Lokpal Act have discomfited many non-governmental organisations.

Two years after the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013 was enacted by the UPA government, the Centre’s decision to operationalise a couple of provisions has set off alarm bells among a large section of the NGO sector.

Three notifications from the Department of Personnel dated June 20, 2016, and an official memo on June 24, laid down the procedures and timelines for filing returns of public servants, the definition of which in the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act includes office bearers of NGOs.

Section 14 (1) of the Act includes directors, managers, secretaries and other officers of societies, trusts and associations of persons that receive more than Rs 10 lakhs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) under its ambit. It does the same in the case the organisations wholly or partly funded by the Central government if they receive an annual grant above a limit that may be fixed by it. (This has been set at Rs 1 crore.)

July 31 deadline

Earlier, Central government employees had been asked to file their assets and liabilities under the Lokpal Act. But what the June 20 notifications did was extend this to those working in NGOs and set the deadline for submissions of their returns to a designated authority by July 31.

Ironically, the Lokpal Act’s definition of senior employees of NGOs as ‘public servants’, thereby bringing them under the Lokpal and making them prosecutable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA), went through Parliament without a murmur. These were inserted at the insistence of civil society activists such as Arvind Kejriwal, now Delhi’s Chief Minister, who were campaigning for the legislations.

“As the Act was passed in Parliament and defines those who work in NGOs as public servants, the rules are the same and they are expected to follow it,” said K.S. Dhatwalia, spokesperson for the Home and Personnel ministries.

Specific target

But the notification which makes it mandatory for senior staff of NGO’s to provide details of cash, bank balances, immovable properties and loans of themselves, their spouses and dependent children has caused a deep discomfort within a section of the NGOs.

Refusing to buy the Centre’s argument that it is merely implementing what is prescribed already in the Act, there are some who believe that this is a part of the Centre’s strategy to target NGOs. The Home Ministry’s cancellation of the registration of 10,020 associations for violation of the FCRA is cited as evidence of this.

Says Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty India: “The present notification needs to be seen in the context of the actions of the government over the last two years, which has combined targeting of specific human rights NGOs and wholesale cancellations of FCRA registrations.”

Uniformly applicable

Privately, some members of NGOs admit they were blinkered in failing to notice the implication of being declared public servants under the Lokpal Act. Moreover, that it is also somewhat self-serving to continue to demand that disclosures be made by bureaucrats while seeking exemptions for themselves.

But what triggered the June notifications? According to official home ministry sources, it was the large amount of funds sent from foreign donors to Christian missionaries and Islamic organisations. On March 28, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) put two foreign donors — U.S.- based Compassion International and South Korea’s Family Federation for World Peace and Unification — under the “watch-list” after adverse reports from security agencies. A senior government official said these two associations were sending money to NGOs in India who were involved in proselytisation.

The issue found an echo in the Rajya Sabha last week when nominated MP Anu Aga pointed out that while “NGOs and charitable institutions work for the public, they are voluntary and regulated by several laws including the Charity Commissioner and the Registrar of Societies and Income Tax and FCRA. Trustees of these NGOs are not public servants because they give their time and some also give their financial support on a voluntary basis.”

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, NCP leader Sharad Pawar wanted the Centre to have a relook at the provisions of the Act.

Several NGO representatives have petitioned senior officials in the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) asking for a respite from the order. And The Hindu has learnt that the Centre is considering withdrawing the notification and making amendments to the Lokpal Act.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/the-unease-over-the-ngo-notifications/article8902676.ece

NGOs got over Rs 50,000 cr from abroad in past three yrs: Govt

The acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by association or institutions is regulated under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

Over Rs 50,000 crore were received by the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in last three years, the Lok Sabha was told on Tuesday.

“As on date, 33,091 NGOs are registered under the FCRA and the total funds received from abroad during the last three years and current year is Rs 50,944.54 crore,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told Lok Sabha in a written reply.

The acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by association or institutions is regulated under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

The government monitor funds received by the NGOs and also complaints that are received from various sources including security agencies in this regard, he said.

In 2014, penalty amounting to about Rs 60 lakh was imposed on 24 associations; Rs 80.11 lakh on 71 associations in 2015 and penalty of Rs 32.78 lakh on eight associations so far this year was imposed for compounding the offence for receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution without holding registration or prior permission under the FCRA, Rijiju said.

The notices were issued to around 21,000 associations in 2011 and to 10,343 NGOs in 2014 for not filing annual returns continuously for three years, the Minister said.

Consequently, registration of 4,138 NGOs was cancelled in 2012 and of 10,020 in March 2015 after issue of show cause notices to such associations and giving them adequate opportunity, he added.

As many as 14,222 NGOs were barred from receiving foreign funds in the past four years for violating norms, the government had announced last week in a similar written reply by Rijiju to the Lok Sabha.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ngos-got-over-rs-50000-cr-from-abroad-in-past-three-yrs-govt-2936679/

NGOs Want Board Members Out of Lokpal Act’s Ambit

NGO heads who fought for the transparency law are also concerned that the government is trying to dilute its strength by classifying NGO officials as ‘public servants’

The government notification making it mandatory for directors and trustees of NGOs, including charitable organisations, to disclose their income and assets has received severe criticism from the sector. People fear that it may dissuade many board members who work in honorary capacities from keeping their position, since they would not like to disclose their assets in public domain. On the other hand, those in the sector are also worried that in the garb of diluting the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, under which the declarations are mandated, the Centre might end up diluting the transparency law itself.

The notification was issued on June 20, 2016 by the personnel and public grievances ministry. All board members and officers of not-for-profit organisations – including those established by the central government or government NGOs, those which receive central government grants exceeding Rs 1 crore annually and those receiving donations of over Rs 10 lakh annually from foreign sources – were covered by the notification, which required them to declare their assets by July 31.

It was also stated that all NGO functionaries will be treated as public servants and be charged under the anti-corruption law in case of financial irregularities. The home ministry subsequently issued an “order” that requires disclosure of assets and liabilities under Section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act by directors, secretaries, managers and other officers of foreign funded NGOs.

According to Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, this order did not indicate which website should be used for the online submissions. “The order contains the telephone number of the director of MHA [home ministry] for FCRA [Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010]. When I tried calling it, there was no response. The office under secretary, FCRA informed me that they also do not have any idea of which URL may be used for online filing. They said they have received several calls of this kind but have no ready answer to the queries.”

While Nayak’s concern is that unless the home ministry realises the flawed nature of its order it will be difficult for people to file their declarations, a bigger concern about the entire exercise is that it may be used to dilute the law itself.

Diluting the law?

Several NGOs which have been at the forefront of fighting for the disclosure of assets by public servants, including the bureaucracy (which after nearly two years of extensions is required to file declarations by July 31 this year), are worried by the notification. They feel that in the name of supporting the demand from NGOs, the government may postpone or dilute the terms of declaration.

Recently, Rajya Sabha MP and businesswoman Anu Aga raised this issue, asking why trustees of NGOs should be considered as ‘public servants’. She pointed out that several trustees had already resigned from the boards after the notification. Union minister Venkaiah Naidu had replied that the government could look at extending the deadline, but the final decision would only be taken in consultation with other political parties. Incidentally, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party and Digvijay Singh of the Congress had also sought urgent attention on the matter.

Some NGO office bearers said they felt “split” at the prospect of such an extension. “They will give us an extension and there is also the talk of bringing in an amendment to remove the NGO officers as public servants. But this can jeopardise the entire transparency law – that also covers judges, politicians and bureaucrats – as other categories can be added in the name of providing us relaxations. How can we ensure that the gains of transparency achieved through years of struggle are not compromised,” said a concerned Amitabh Behar, executive director of National Foundation of India.

Demand for excluding board members

Behar said the need of the hour was to make a distinction between the executive body of NGOs and board members. “As part of the executive, I am personally okay with the declarations. But when it comes to the board members, they are there in an honorary capacity and do not take any remuneration for their work. So it is unfair to make them file declarations for their work with the NGOs. This would only dissuade good talent from remaining in or joining the boards.”

Since the board plays two important roles of passing the annual budget and approving the annual report, he said its members also keep a tight leash on the use of funds for the purpose they are meant. “If eminent personalities stop becoming board members, it would lead to a scenario where the executive members of different companies will join each other’s boards and this would compromise this role of the watchdog that board members play.”

Behar said while there were black sheep in every sector, it would be unfair to paint the NGO sector in one brush. “As it is, NGOs already file their income tax returns, clarity commissioner returns and FCRA returns and all these are also put up on their websites. Also, just like public private players work on physical infrastructure, we provide important contributions to nation building by working on social infrastructure. But how come those taking foreign direct investment are not required to file declarations whereas those taking donations are?” he asked.

He said civil society was primarily present to channelise the voluntary energies of the community. In light of the recent developments, he added, legal advice was being taken to fight the unjustified demands of the Centre in court.

As for the board members, they have reservations not only about being asked to file declarations, but also with the practice of putting them in the public domain. “I am obviously not comfortable with the idea of declaring the assets of my children, my wife and my own especially when they are being put in the public domain. Why should people in my surroundings or others know our wealth,” said a former IAS officer, who is now on the board of several NGOs.

The fear is as much of harassment by government agencies as of becoming the target of criminal elements. The former bureaucrat said it should be remembered that it was to counter the campaign of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal for the Lokpal that officers of NGOs were brought under the ambit of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013. He said under the law, the officers were now required to file their declarations for three years and not doing so would mean that all the wealth acquired by them was through “corrupt means”.

“There are several friends of mine who are in various boards and who have quit or now want to quit due to this notification. They probably do not realise that this will be of no good as the law applies retrospectively from 2013-14. So the only way out is through a legal battle,” said the bureaucrat, who has served in international organisations as well.

To counter the Centre’s move, about 250 NGOs came together for deliberations on July 14. They were annoyed at the government trying to enlarge the definition of “public servant” in the Lokpal Act in such a way that all trustee and employees of NGOs were covered and become liable to file voluminous details of personal assets.

The meeting decided that the voluntary sector must move swiftly and collectively to challenge the new law and seek a court injunction for its stay. It also contended that the the Act violates Article 14 of the Constitution by singling out only FCRA-registered organisations from the wider NGO community for special and adverse treatment. In a number of cases, the Supreme Court has ruled such discrimination to be unconstitutional.

The NGOs also questioned the categorisation of their officers as public servants, stating the courts have normally held that in order to be a public servant, the person should have discretionary authority, be appointed, be subject to dismissal, be remunerated and be subordinate to an authority. They said in the case of board members, none of these conditions apply as they do not have discretionary authority, they are not appointed but elected, they can be removed, they do not get any remuneration and they are not subordinate to any authority.

For the legal challenge ahead, NGOs have started pooling their funds.

At the same time, the Centre is sending out mixed signals. The latest on the issue came from minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh on July 24, when he said there were some “contradictions“ now that the very same people and politicians who had pressed for making NGOs accountable to Lokpal were now protesting against implementation of this provision.

It seems like the final word in the matter will have to come from the courts.

Source: http://thewire.in/53931/ngo-board-members-lokpal-act/

NGOs to be considered public servants, have to disclose assets and liabilities: Report

Delhi: In a measure which could have far-reaching consequences, the Union Home Ministry has decided that all non-profit organisations that receive more than Rs one crore as government funds and over 10 lakhs as donations from abroad, will have to declare their assets.

Thus, under the provisions of the Lokpal Act, they are supposed to disclose assets and liabilities every year.

At the same time, they have to put out the information in public domain.

As of now, the government tracks only foreign funds and expenditure of NGOs, but henceforth the assets of the non-profits will be looked into as well.

The report further quoted sources as saying that this was yet another way for the government to keep an eye on NGOs that are allegedly engaged in anti-development activities.

In April last year, the NDA government had cancelled licences of nearly 9,000 NGOs for violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

In an order, the Home Ministry had said that notices were issued to 10,343 NGOs for not filing annual returns for the year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

The notices were served on October 16, 2014 saying that the NGOs should file their annual returns within a month specifying amount of foreign funds received, sources of such funds, for which purpose it was received and in manner in which such foreign contribution was utilised, according to a Home Ministry notification.

Out of the 10,344 NGOs, only 229 had replied.

There was no reply from the remaining NGOs leading to cancellation of their registration issued under FCRA.

Source: http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/ngos-to-be-considered-public-servants-have-to-disclose-assets-and-liabilities-report_1911463.html

NGOs, Their Executives Asked To File Assets Detail By July 31

NGOs getting the foreign grant of over Rs 10 lakh, returns are to be filed with the Home Ministry.

New Delhi: All domestic and foreign-funded NGOs receiving grants beyond a threshold limit and their executives have been asked to file details of their assets and liabilities by the end of this month.

The directive follows the Centre’s order last month which brought organisations receiving more than Rs one crore in government grants and donations above Rs 10 lakh from abroad under the ambit of Lokpal.

“Any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or any other officer of a society, association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), wholly or partly financed by the government, and the annual income of which exceeds Rs one crore has to file the details (of assets and liabilities),” a senior Personnel Ministry official said.

He said these declarations are to be filed with the central government department concerned giving the highest amount of grant to the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).

In case of NGOs getting the foreign grant of over Rs ten lakh, these returns are to be filed with the Home Ministry, the official said.

“It has been decided by the Centre to consider office bearers of the NGOs as public servants and they need to file the details of assets and liabilities, along with those of their spouse and dependent children, with the central government department concerned by July 31, 2016,” he said.

As per rules notified under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, every public servant shall file declaration, information and annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities as on March 31 every year or on or before July 31 of that year.

The returns are to be filed for financial year 2015-2016 by July 31. Besides them, all central government employees also have to file such details by that date.

“The new rules by the Personnel Ministry bring officials working under the NGOs funded by the government under the Lokpal’s ambit and subject them to legal action for misusing the grant or for alleged corruption,” the official said.

The decision is being objected to by the civil society activists.

“NGOs and their officers do not perform any public duty like civil servants, MPs or judges. Their work is purely voluntary i.e. no law or rule imposes on them any duty to perform public functions.

“So, treating them as public servants is like treating unequals equally. This is a complete violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which requires equals to be treated equally and unequals unequally,” said Venkatesh Nayak, who works with NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

As many as 14,222 NGOs were barred from receiving foreign funds in the past four years for violating norms, as per the government’s latest data.

Source: http://www.huewire.com/headlines/indian/ngos-their-executives-asked-to-file-assets-detail-by-july-31/191564/

Monday, July 25, 2016

NGOs, Their Executives Asked To File Assets Detail By July 31

NEW DELHI:

All domestic and foreign-funded NGOs receiving grants beyond a threshold limit and their executives have been asked to file details of their assets and liabilities by the end of this month.

The directive follows the Centre's order last month which brought organisations receiving more than Rs. one crore in government grants and donations above Rs. 10 lakh from abroad under the ambit of Lokpal.

"Any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or any other officer of a society, association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), wholly or partly financed by the government, and the annual income of which exceeds Rs. one crore has to file the details (of assets and liabilities)," a senior Personnel Ministry official said.

He said these declarations are to be filed with the central government department concerned giving the highest amount of grant to the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).

In case of NGOs getting the foreign grant of over Rs. ten lakh, these returns are to be filed with the Home Ministry, the official said.

"It has been decided by the Centre to consider office bearers of the NGOs as public servants and they need to file the details of assets and liabilities, along with those of their spouse and dependent children, with the central government department concerned by July 31, 2016," he said.

As per rules notified under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, every public servant shall file declaration, information and annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities as on March 31 every year or on or before July 31 of that year.

The returns are to be filed for financial year 2015-2016 by July 31. Besides them, all central government employees also have to file such details by that date.

"The new rules by the Personnel Ministry bring officials working under the NGOs funded by the government under the Lokpal's ambit and subject them to legal action for misusing the grant or for alleged corruption," the official said.

The decision is being objected to by the civil society activists.

"NGOs and their officers do not perform any public duty like civil servants, MPs or judges. Their work is purely voluntary i.e. no law or rule imposes on them any duty to perform public functions.

"So, treating them as public servants is like treating unequals equally. This is a complete violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which requires equals to be treated equally and unequals unequally," said Venkatesh Nayak, who works with NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

As many as 14,222 NGOs were barred from receiving foreign funds in the past four years for violating norms, as per the government's latest data.

Source: http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/ngos-their-executives-asked-to-file-assets-detail-by-july-31-1435420

Upload Return of Assets and Liabilities to FCRA under Lokpal

Public Servant of the applicable organization has to file return of his assets and liabilities with FCRA department. in prescribed forms.

Today, FCRA department has provided link to upload the forms.

1. Download lokpal forms take a print, and fill with blue or black ball pen.

2. Theses forms to be scanned and create PDF file.

3. Upload this PDF in the below shown link.

4. PDF size should not increase 10 mb.

Link: https://fcraonline.nic.in/fc_lokpal_initial.aspx

NGO Lokpal Forms

https://app.box.com/s/f8q3ouxgh9irsm21d93nbilc4dsaa0np

Choking Funds of Sabrang Trust – FCRA cancellation

The Home Ministry order cancelling the FCRA registration of Teesta Setalvad’s trust will further hinder her work for Gujarat riot victims. By ANUPAMA KATAKAM

ON June 16, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order cancelling the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, (FCRA) registration of the Sabrang Trust, of which the chief trustees are the activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand. The order means that the Sabrang Trust will not be able to receive foreign funding anymore.

The Ministry’s order said that the FCRA registration was being cancelled because of monetary irregularities detected in the Sabrang Trust’s transactions and also that the organisation’s responses to the charges had been carefully examined. It said that the trust had spent Rs.50 lakh for Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL), of which Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand are directors, co-editors, printers and publishers. “By this action, the NGO [non-governmental organisation] has not only unauthorisedly utilised the foreign contribution for the purposes of an unregistered entity but also that entity being a self-owned media and publication company, utilised that amount for activities totally prohibited by FCRA,” the order added.

The trust responded to the order with a statement, saying: “The Trustees regret to note that today’s order of the Home Ministry is simply a mechanical reiteration of the very same allegations made earlier, in total disregard to the detailed and reasoned explanations and arguments put forward by the Trust. Sabrang Trust will actively explore all legal options to challenge the order.”

Teesta Setalvad told Frontline: “It is an old story which you also have been following. We have been fighting this for two years. This decision was pre-decided. When Javed went for the hearing, it was over in seven to 10 minutes. This is nothing but a vilification campaign to malign and defame.” The Sabrang Trust works on issues relating to communal harmony. The choking of funds effected by the MHA order will hinder its work, particularly its work with the victims of the 2002 violence in Gujarat.

Accusations and Rebuttal

The MHA has listed six FCRA violations by the Sabrang Trust. Teesta Setalvad and her team have said they have already refuted each one of the charges. In a press release of October 2015, Teesta Setalvad’s defence team said in the 2015 release that the transfer of Rs.50 lakh (between 2006-07 and 2013-14) was “payment” by the Sabrang Trust to SCPPL towards its agreed monthly share of shared actual expenses incurred on office/furniture and fixtures/office equipment/staff. No part of this amount was paid to Teesta Setalvad or Javed Anand, and no rent has ever been charged to any trust or entity for use of office space by Teesta Setalvad’s parents, as alleged.

The MHA order says that the NGO did not obtain the mandatory government permission before utilising over 50 per cent of foreign contributions for administrative expenditure. Teesta Setalvad’s press release had contended that its administrative expenses for 2010-11 and 2011-12, the check period, were well below the permissible 50 per cent limit. She says that the MHA has collated project-related expenses incurred in furtherance of the objectives of the trust with administrative expenses. The FCRA, 2010, clearly states that expenses directly related to project execution are not to be included in administrative expenses, the trust says.

The order stated that the inspection of records showed that the chief trustees Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand also work as directors, co-editors, printers and publishers in SCPPL, which publishes a magazine called Communalism Combat. Both entities function from the same premises, utilising staff, infrastructure and other resources interchangeably. This violates Section 3 and 7, 8 (1) (a) of the FCRA, 2010. The organisation’s position is that though the Sabrang Trust, the association that had been granted registration under FCRA, was prohibited from publishing or acting as correspondent, columnist, editor, and so on, there was no restriction or prohibition on any of its board members or office-bearers from acting as publishers, editors and printers of a registered newspaper run by some other independent legal entity.

Another MHA allegation is that the Sabrang Trust made direct payments of approximately Rs.12 lakh from its FCRA-designated account to CitiBank and Union Bank of India to meet liabilities on credit cards belonging to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand respectively. The activist couple and other Sabrang Trust members say that these are “false and baseless allegations”.

A member of a lawyers’ group in Mumbai suggested that the order probably reflected the government’s frustration at the way the activist couple had been protected from arrest by the country’s judicial system: “The Supreme Court has been extending from time to time protection to Setalvad and Anand from arrest and custodial interrogation, sought by the CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation], on the grounds that it was not required if the accused submitted all the required documents in connection with allegations of financial irregularities to the investigators. The cancellation of the FCRA registration of the Sabrang Trust, therefore, has been argued by some to have been the result of the government’s frustration with the continued protection from arrest of the couple by the Supreme Court.”

Teesta Setalvad’s story

The MHA order is damaging to the reputation of not only the Sabrang Trust but also Teesta Setalvad, who has been at the forefront of the protracted and intense legal battles seeking justice to the victims of the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. Along with Zakia Jafri, whose husband, Ehsan Jafri, was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre, she has also been seeking a criminal trial against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In early 2012, the Sabrang Trust and the Committee for Justice and Peace (CJP, also led by Teesta Setalvad) mooted the idea of building a memorial museum within the Gulberg Society compound. To raise funds for the project, the team held an “Art for Humanity” auction, for which over 80 well-known Indian contemporary artists donated their works. The CJP earned over Rs.1 crore from the exhibition.

If Teesta Setalvad’s campaign for riot survivors rattled certain sections, an opportunity to discredit her and her work seemed to present itself when Rais Khan, a former CJP employee and Gulberg Society carnage survivor, filed a first information report (FIR) in January 2014 with the Ahmedabad city crime branch alleging that the organisation misused funds collected in the name of providing relief and legal help to riot victims. There is a view that Rais Khan was set up to discredit Teesta Setalvad.

After Rais Khan’s FIR was filed, the activist couple and their organisations faced repeated harassment at the hands of the police in Gujarat. They were forced into repeated court appearances; bank accounts were frozen; there were inspections by law-enforcement agencies; they were required to produce a lot of paperwork. In 2015, the CBI tried to get Teesta Setalvad arrested, but she was able to get bail.

Soon after Modi became Prime Minister, FCRA regulations with regard to NGO funds were amended. Not long after that, the Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) drew up a watch list of NGOs that might be threatening “national security” or engaging in “anti-national” activities. Teesta Setalvad’s organisations did not feature in the list, but the FCRA rules seem to have eventually got her.

If Teesta Setalvad has been facing harassment in the last couple of years, crackdowns on NGOs started in 2013 with Greenpeace, the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements (NAAM) and the People’s movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) facing accusations of engaging in anti-national activities or movements threatening national security. The activists Priya Pillai of Greenpeace and S.P. Udayakumar of the PMANE were hounded by the government for their involvement in the anti-coal mines and nuclear power campaigns.

Earlier this month, the MHA cancelled the licence of Lawyer’s Collective, which is led by former Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising. Informed sources say other NGOs are also under scrutiny. The Ford Foundation, which funds NGOs, was listed in the infamous I.B. “watch list”.

Apparently, it came under scrutiny for jeopardising “national interests”. However, the label was removed from the organisation in June this year.

Crackdowns part of a larger plan?Rights groups, prominent activists and NGOs say that the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to keep corporate India happy. The crackdown against NGOs is part of that larger plan. Anyone who crosses the path of corporate entities will clearly pay a price.

In April 2014, just before the general election that returned Modi as the Prime Minister, the well-known columnist and Gujarat commentator Aakar Patel warned: “Like all tyrants, Modi has a fundamentally primitive view of criticism. Those who oppose him, write against what he says and does, are enemies and he must fix them before they harm him. They should watch out.”

In the same piece, he commented on Teesta Setalvad: “She is a genuine heroine who is being slowly martyred and tortured by Modi, as a disinterested nation looks elsewhere. This is the sort of third-rate pettiness Modi likes descending to because as a nation we allow him to. This constant mischief from Modi keeps Setalvad away from the work Modi is afraid of.”http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/taint-and-thwart/article8815548.ece

Source: http://www.kractivist.org/choking-funds-of-sabrang-trust-fcra-cancellation/

SCOPE for accountability check of NGOs getting funds from PSUs

New Delhi: SCOPE, apex body for central public sector enterprises, on Saturday "strongly" advocated accountability check of NGOs that are getting funds from PSUs for activities related to corporate social responsibility.

He also emphasised on the need for social audit in all such cases.

Speaking at a seminar on 'Relevance of CSR: PSE Perspective' U D Choubey, Director General, SCOPE "strongly advocated for accountability check of NGOs who are allocated funds for CSR from public sector enterprises".

Choubey said public sector enterprises have accepted 2 per cent mandatory provisions of CSR in both letter and spirit.

"Baseline survey identifying the needs of the people, evaluating and selection of implementing agencies, supervision and monitoring are made through a robust mechanism to ensure that the benefit reaches at the end point," quoting Choubey, SCOPE said in a statement.

Some of the public sector units have made trust and are in better position to implement CSR funds, he added.

Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) is an apex body for Central Public Sector Enterprises.

Source: http://zeenews.india.com/business/news/economy/scope-for-accountability-check-of-ngos-getting-funds-from-psus_1910855.html%20

Over 14000 NGOs are barred in India from receiving Foreign Funds

Over 14000 NGOs are barred in India from receiving Foreign funds due to violations of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, (FCRA), 2010. These NGOS are barred in series of activities are after issuing so cause notice to them for non-compliance of necessary documents which are required to full-fill all norms of FCRA.

After 2002 riots in Gujarat, thousands of NGOs are emerges in all over India, who not criticizes state government but also lobbied in international community for many years for strict actions against the state government.

Based on such reports of human social organization, US barred Modi to travel and enter in their country by cancelling of his visa. Not only that NGOs again acted against our nuclear programs, tried to stop our development by utilizing foreign funding for strikes, procession and obstructions in construction of nuclear power plant.

Doing 2014, Lok Sabha polls, around 500 NGOs were working against Modi, were indulge in campaigning against Modi, distributed various CDs and documents related with Gujarat 2002 riots are tried to mug-up the minds of Varanasi voters.

After victory in Lok Sabha Polls, Modi Govt initiated the scrutiny process for NGOs. Till time around 14, 222 NGOs in couple of years are barred from taking Foreign funds. Also show cause notices had issued to various NGOs for non-compliance of norms. Around 1000 NGOs gone missing after Lok Sabha polls, and their no records found further in India. Hence it is considered that, such NGOs were indulge in anti-national activities on funding from foreign.

Lots of Hindu societies has raised their voices against spreading of Christianity in India. lakhs of people are every year, converted to Christianity by using money power by taking opportunity of their poverty. It is considered as many NGOs are also indulge in such activities, still they are not following the norms for compliance.

Looking to various reasons, Govt is strictly cracking down such NGOs, but this should not be treated as vendetta politics. Govt has also issued advisory and further for maintaining transparency, all orders, notifications etc are placed on website
http://www.fcraonline.nic.in of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

This is time to identify such elements, those are trying to mug-up people with their hidden agendas on name of Social work. Many five star social workers are also running their hidden agenda on name of humanity and man-kind, our laws are taking course against them. Many five star activists are riding on their Audi car and living in Lutyens bungalows and for society they are self projected common man representative. We must aware and identify such kind of people and NGOs. There are lots of NGOs are also working to serve humanity and man-kind day and night, We should also encourage such people and such organizations.

Source: http://buzztimes.in/ngos-barred-india-foreign-funds-23071604/

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Online Facility for Lokpal Forms

In a surprisingly swift move, FCRA Department has set up an online facility for submission of Lokpal declarations. The link to the portal is here:https://fcraonline.nic.in/fc_lokpal_initial.aspx

Steps for filing the declaration online are:

1. Prepare, print and sign the declaration.

2. Scan the signed declaration as PDF, making sure file size doesn't exceed 10MB (tip: use smallpdf.com to make the file smaller for quicker upload).

3. Punch in the NGO's FCRA number at the link given above. This opens up a small utility where you can punch in the Member's/ Trustee's name and designation.

4. Upload the PDF file you have prepared.

5. FCRA Department is asking for FY 15-16 return only

This appears to be an initial effort, with some flaws:

1. There is no requirement that the return must be filed online.

2. There is no order specifying FCRA Department as the 'Competent Authority' for this.

3. There is no security or password for individuals logging in as NGO officers.

4. The filing is being linked to particular NGOs. What happens to an individual who is a trustee in multiple NGOs? Should they log in separately for each NGO?

Online filing facility for lokpal compliances in FCRA website

This is to inform you that just today, the FCRA Department has provided the link foronline submission of annual returns under Lokpal. Click here to go to the link. Or at: https://fcraonline.nic.in/fc_lokpal_initial.aspx

Instructions for filling the forms are given below: (also given in the FCRA website)

1. An applicant should download the returns form.

Applicant Means:- 'any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or other officer of every other society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), in receipt of any of any donation from any foreign source under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (42 of 2010) in excess of Rs. 10 lakh rupees in a year. '

2. An applicant required to fill the form with blue or black ball point pen with clarity.

3. An applicant required to scan the filled form in pdf format. (Instructions for scanning of documents is provided in the attachment)

4. The Size of Pdf should not exceed more than 10 MB.

As per the aforesaid direction of FCRA dept., returns have to be filed online on or before 31st July, 2016 without fail to avoid any action as prescribed by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

NGOs, civil society organisations throttled in India: international activists

Durban: The Indian government on Thursday came under heavy criticism from health activists, international organisations and civil society groups at the ongoing International AIDS conference in Durban for launching veiled attacks on NGOs and giving into the pressure of the west to impose regulations on the generic drug industry.

Leading international civil society groups such as South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Section 27 and US-based Health Gap condemned the BJP government for suspending the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of NGO Lawyers Collective's (LC) for six months in June for alleged irregularities in spending of funds. The protest in an international forum comes within days of the government stating in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that 14,222 non-profit organisations were barred from receiving foreign funds in the past four years.

Lawyer's Collective in the past has represented people living with HIV in a public interest litigation and got them access to free and quality antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication. They have also won cases against pharmaceutical giants which worked in favour of the generic drug industry and facilitated the availability of affordable HIV drugs for several lower and middle-income nations. According to reports, their registration was cancelled on the grounds of inappropriate use of the money, unauthorised transfer from one account to another, organising rallies of political hue, etc.

Mark Heywood of Section 27 said that the clamp down on non-profits, who have fought for human and patient rights, is a critical threat to the global AIDS response as India's generic drug market manufactures 80% of the ART drugs used around the world. "The affordable HIV drugs available used in large part of the world, including throughout Africa, is because of the work of LC to maintain space for generic medicines. If you take down the NGO, you take away the safeguards of the industry," he said.

Steven Lewis, former UN envoy for HIV/AIDS in South Africa said that sabotaging non-profits can deliver a fatal blow to global public health. "Lawyers's Collective is being targeted because the government has no tolerance for civic society. The government is irritated with the LC for taking a moral position on HIV, LGBT rights, domestic violence and human rights," he said.

Around 100 of these protesters belonging to several African nations, India and Pakistan marched to the Indian embassy in Durban on Thursday to submit a memorandum demanding an end to "witch-hunting" of NGOs. The memorandum also stated that the Indian government should ensure that the Indian generic companies are not taken over by the multinational pharmaceutical. While the security did not allow the protesters inside the embassy premises, an official received it on behalf of the Consul General.

A member of one of the Indian NGOs, who did not wish to be identified, said that there is an "environment of fear". "NGOs, particularly those working in the HIV space, are a lot dependant on the government funding. The situation has become worse with, on one hand, the global funds drying up, and on another, the government creating hurdles on the way of getting foreign money. The FCRA permissions for several non-profits are pending currently," the member said.

A June 20 notification by the government to bring non-governmental agencies under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013 is also seen as a reason for the growing distance between the government and the NGOs. It states that trustees or heads of any registered society, NGO getting government grants of Rs 10 million or above annually, or receiving international funds to the tune of Rs one million or more, will have to declare their assets.

"In the name of transparency, the government is trying to scare people. There are many agencies who work as non-financial partners with NGOs. Why should they be subjected to such scrutiny? There is an overwhelming concern that the democratic space in the country is shrinking," said Meena Seshu, founder of SANGRAM, a voluntary organisation that works with sex workers on HIV/AIDS-related issues. The NGO member said the government has to initiate dialogue with the civil society so that the trust built over years, which also forms the basis for several health programmes, doesn't collapse.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NGOs-civil-society-organisations-throttled-in-India-international-activists/articleshow/53336277.cms



Friday, July 22, 2016

NGOs under Lokpal

Another compliance requirement to be fulfilled by NGO and NPOs. This time, its Lokpal and Lokayukt Act (LLA, 2013). Yes NGOs are under the scanner of Lokpal now. Recently notified by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions nos 1541, 1542 and 1543 (dated 20.06.2016) specify the procedure and clarity regarding Lokpal.

(See Full Notification here)

Let us discuss this in FAQs.

Which NGOs/NPOs are covered?

As per notification three types of trust / society and associations (NGOs) are covered.

1. NGOs owned by government

2. NGOs, which has received grant or Rs. 1 crore and above from Government

3. NGOs, which has received FC funds of Rs. 10 lacs and above

What type of compliance?

“Public Servant” of above NGOs has to submit return declaring the Assets and Liabilities, as per sec44 of LLA, 2013.

Who is “Public Servant”?

Definition of “Public Servant” is not clearly given in the LLA, 2013. However all the Board Members are certainly covered.

Who is liable?

“Public Servant” in individual capacity is liable. Thus NGO per se is not liable, but all the trustees / board members are liable to comply with the provisions of LLA, 2013.

How to declare Assets and Liabilities?

There are 4 forms specify –

1. Form I: Name of spouse, dependent children, public position held by them,

2. Form II: Details of movable property such as cash, bank balances, investments, provident fund, loans and advances, vehicles, jewellery, gold, etc.

3. Form III: Details of immovable property such as land, house, shops etc.

4. Form IV: Details of loans taken, along with details

Download forms in excel from below link –


http://www.kcjmngo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NGO-Lokpal-Forms.xlsx?dd9664

Whose Assets and Liabilities?

1. Self

2. Spouse

3. Dependent Children


Whom to Submit?

NGOs owned by government – Respective Department

· NGOs, which has received grant or Rs. 1 crore and above from Government – Department from which highest grant received

· NGOs, which has received FC funds of Rs. 10 lacs and above – FCRA Department, Home Ministry.

How to send declaration?

For now, only by registered post.

For How many years and what is the last date?

As per act, till the grant is not utilized, every year such return should be submitted. So, currently, return for 2015-16 is to be submitted before 31.07.2016.

There after for every year, last date is 31st July.

Any person become public servant in between the year, has to file return within 30 days form the date he is appointed.

Penalty?

If declaration is not submitted or the assets are not declared, it is presumed that all the assets are acquired through corrupt means and also it will be treated as offense and Lokpal can initiate the inquiry against the “Public Servant”.



FCRA Bank Account Details

The FCRA Department will shortly be connected to the PFMS. This will allow the Department to monitor bank account transactions of all FCRA NGOs online, in real-time.

In preparation for this momentous transition, FCRA Department has requested all NGOs to check whether the details of their designated and utilisation bank accounts is correct. If not, they should file an update by using form FC-6. This should be done latest by 31-Aug-2016.

If your bank account details are already updated, please do not file form FC-6 now.

Centre going easy? After cancelling license of 10,000 NGOs last year, only 1 banned this year

"The action needed was taken last year and it sent a strong message bringing the erring NGOs back on track," said a home ministry official, Gujarat activist Teesta Setlavad's NGO Sabrang Trust was the lone organisation whose FCRA registration was cancelled and foreign funding banned this year.

BRIEFCASE

· 1 The government this year has cancelled registration of only 1 NGO, unlike last year.

· 2  Teesta's NGO Sabrang Trust's registration has been cancelled this year.

· 3 The government said, they have not softened their stance on foreign funding to NGOs.

In a massive crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs last year, the Home Ministry cancelled over 10,000 registrations, but this year there has been just one such organisation in the firing line.

The Narendra Modi government came under severe criticism for cracking the whip on NGOs soon after coming to power and the United Nations human rights experts also urged India to repeal the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that governs foreign funding of NGOs.

This was also communicated to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). However, MHA officials say this year's action against just one NGO compared to 10,020 last year doesn't imply that the government has softened its stand after pressure was exerted from activists.

"The action needed was taken last year and it sent a strong message bringing the erring NGOs back on track," said a home ministry official, Gujarat activist Teesta Setlavad's NGO Sabrang Trust was the lone organisation whose FCRA registration was cancelled and foreign funding banned this year.

CRACKDOWN ON TEESTA'S NGO

Teesta was one of the activists who took up the cause of victims of Gujarat riots of 2002 and even lashed out at Narendra Modi who was the CM of the state then. Cancelling the registration, the government argued that the foreign funds received by the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence had not been used for the purposes meant. The order said during inspection, MHA found that foreign contribution has been frequently used for items of personal expenses.

RECAP

The action against foreign funded NGOs in 2015 started soon after Modi took charge and the number of FCRA cancellations of over 10,000 NGOs was far more than previous years. According to MHA data in 2014, there were 59 cancellations and in 2013, there were only four. There were 4,138 NGOs that lost their foreign aid in 2012.

MONEY LAUNDERING IN DONATIONS TO NGOs

Replying to a parliament question on the need to repeal FCRA as the law was obstructing civil society's access to foreign funding MHA stated, "The government is also aware about the one sided and biased views expressed by certain persons / associations regarding the cancellation of FCRA Registration. MHA has clarified the position against these one sided views earlier."

Other than cracking the whip on dubious NGOs, intelligence agencies are now focussing to crack down on the donors who are using these organisations for money laundering. Several donors have been blacklisted on suspicion of being part of a money laundering syndicate.

"There is a strong suspicion that some of these donors are funding these organisations to push their agenda and derail India's economic growth," said a home ministry official. While traditional tax havens like Switzerland, Mauritius and the UAE and Thailand are among the top donor countries, frequent donations from smaller countries North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Tonga, Kyrgyzstan, Burkino Faso, Swaziland, Luxembourg and Malta have raised suspicions of large scale money laundering.

POSSIBLE TERROR FUNDING IN DONATIONS?

It's not just money laundering but MHA in its report on FCRA had also red-flagged the issue of terror funding through these dubious foreign donors.

Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ngo-teesta-setalvad-sabrang-trust-modi-government-fcra-foreign-contribution-regulation-act-mha-ministry-of-home-affairs-10-000-ngos-only-1-banned-this-year/1/720051.html

Health Ministry struggles to afford overseas experts after Centre's foreign NGO crackdown

According to the health ministry, as many as 90 of its consultants will have to leave by the end of June.

The Union Health Ministry is digging into its pockets to retain a slew of experts fearing an exodus after the Centre recently dismissed dozens of foreign-funded consultants, seen as a bid to clamp down on the influence of international agencies and NGOs on public policy.

"With the order, the health ministry remains the worst hit as the public health sector has perhaps the highest number of such experts in various fields, ranging from tuberculosis, family planning to AIDS," said a senior health ministry official.

While many consultants have already been asked to leave after completing three years, others will soon get their marching orders.

"The concern is serious as work will get affected if these experienced people leave. We are considering the possibility of creating a separate fund for this so that we can pay the salaries of these experts in the future," the official said.

"We have been asked to make a list of those who are about to complete three years. We will talk to authorities to find a way to retain these experts at our own expense."

More than 363 consultants work in the health ministry, but get salaries from external agencies such as the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) along with aid groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Health-oriented international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF also have consultants in the ministry.

"With several health plans such as AIDS control programmes under the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), malaria, immunisation, family planning and mother and child health programmes, there is a dire need of health experts for guidance," said a senior health official.

"Not many posts have been sanctioned by the Centre so we are dependent on foreign agencies to fund these experts." Over half of these consultants have already served the government for more than three years, said officials.

"For those who have joined recently, we can extend their services annually, up to three years, after seeking permission from the finance ministry by giving them a valid reason. But these experts will start looking for other avenues if they don't see any financial gains in future. The final approval for the existing consultants will come after the approval of the new screening committee," an official said.

According to the health ministry, as many as 90 of its consultants will have to leave by the end of June. Around 120 work with NACO. "We have already started searching for new experts in the respective fields and their salaries will be taken care of by the health ministry," said the official. "We will manage some funds and recruit experienced people at our own level."

Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/health-gasps-as-union-health-ministry-struggles-to-keep-foreign-funded-consultants/1/647689.html

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Important Notice from FCRA Dept on filing of annual returns under LLA 2013

The FCRA Department has issued an order No.II/21022/58(0389)/2016/FCRA (MU)/S-3 dated 20thJuly, 2016 stating that-

“Any person who is or has been a Director, Manager, Secretary or other officer of every other society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not) in receipt of any donation from any foreign source under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 in excess of ten lakh rupees in a year” are required to furnish an annual return of assets and liabilities every year on or before 31st July. For the FY 2015-16, the returns have to be filed on or before 31.07.2016 without fail to avoid any action as prescribed by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

The return has to be submitted in hard copy to –

The Joint Secretary
Ministry of Home Affairs
(Foreigners Division) FCRA Wing,
NDCC-II Building, JAI SINGH ROAD,
Opposite Parliament Street, Near Jantar Mantar
New Delhi-110001