April 25, 2024

The Union Home Ministry, on Tuesday, cancelled the Foreign Contribution Registration Act (FCRA) licences for five prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as reported by The Economic Times. Allegations against these NGOs included involvement in religious conversion and violations of foreign grant regulations, the report said.

The NGOs affected by this decision include CNI Synodical Board of Social Service (CNI-SBSS), Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), and Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFOI).

CNI-SBSS was established in 1970, along with the formation of the Church of North India (CNI), serving as the official arm of the Church working in the rural development sector. Last December, the Home Ministry revoked the licence of Delhi-based Churches of North India (CNI). Officials stated that CNI and its affiliates faced allegations from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), with raids against CNI for alleged misappropriation of church properties. 

According to the report, the National Council of Churches formed the ‘NCC Relief Committee’ (NCC) at the time of India’s Independence, which later evolved into the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA). CASA had received foreign donations from various countries, including Germany, the United States, and Sweden, with a substantial amount noted in the FCRA contribution statement from April to June 2023, as per the report.

VHAI, established in 1970, has collaborated closely with organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research. It has received foreign grants from countries such as the USA and France, particularly active during disaster relief efforts following events like Gujarat’s Bhuj earthquake, Odisha’s super cyclone, and the Covid-19 pandemic, the ET report said.

Another affected NGO, the Indo Global Social Service Society, which focused on climate resilience, was receiving foreign funds from Germany, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, the business-daily claimed.

The Economic Times, citing officials, reported that the fifth NGO, Evangelical Fellowship of India, had its FCRA licence revoked for violating FCRA rules. 

Over the past year, more than 100 NGOs, including notable entities like the Centre for Policy Research, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (led by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi), and Oxfam India, have lost their FCRA licences due to alleged misuse of foreign grants. In January this year, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) saw its FCRA licence being cancelled for several violations.

The latest move comes after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the validity of all FCRA-registered NGOs, whose licences were expiring on March 31, until June 30.

The ministry has also given all NGOs whose five-year validity period expires between April 1, 2024, and June 30, 2024, time to apply for renewal before the expiry date.

First Published: Apr 03 2024 | 9:33 AM IST