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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bloomberg-aided NGOs lose licence

For 'lobbying' violating FCRA norms

The Home Ministry has declined to renew the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of four NGOs which received funds from Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by U.S.-based billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the former New York Mayor had announced a joint initiative to build smart cities in India aided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Mr. Modi had also called Mr. Bloomberg a "friend."

Anti-tobacco agenda

A senior Home Ministry official confirmed that the licences were not renewed as they were involved in anti-tobacco lobbying.

"NGOs funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies fund various anti-tobacco NGOs in India to further its international agenda. Foreign corporate interests making foreign contributions to FCRA-registered NGOs for purposes of lobbying against an established economic activity raises multiple economic and social concerns," the official said.

The official said "lobbying" was a violation of FCRA norms and since its a commercial activity, it should be carried out by companies registered under the Companies Act and not done by FCRA-registered NGOs, which are exempted from tax.

The NGOs whose FCRA licences were not renewed are Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru, Voluntary Health Association of India, Rajasthan, Voluntary Health Association of India, Assam and Voluntary Health Association of India, Karnataka.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bloomberg-aided-ngos-lose-licence/article19589203.ece

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