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Christian body flays Centre on FCRA row

Nagaland News

Our Spl Correspondent
NEW DELHI, JANUARY 4: Taking cognizance of media reports that a large number of NGOs and voluntary-charitable organisations including hundreds of church-supported bodies have been denied the permission to enlist foreign funding, a prominent Christian organisation has criticised the move.
“The latest action of the Government of India not renewing the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of particular organizations makes clear the Government’s intentions to target them as part of its hidden agenda”, AC Michael, Convener of the United Christian Forum (UCF), told this Journalist.
He said the Government should clarify certain issues on the matter.
“….if they do not have an appropriate policy to handle we will soon run short of funds to manage organisations that are catering to important cultural, economic, educational, and social organisations. A sample of this we witnessed during the second wave of COVID early 2021”, he said.
Michael also said: “It would be good if the Government makes up its mind properly and decides what it wants to stop by stopping funding coming in from outside India.”
An FCRA license is mandatory to receive foreign donations in India.
In 2021-22, almost giving a New Year shocker, a plethora of institutions like Oxfam India,
Hamdard Education Society, Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), Nehru Museum, Delhi College of Engineering, Goa Football Association, and Press Institute of India would now possibly face fund crunch as they have forfeited any right to get the overseas money in the organisations’ bank accounts.
In Nagaland too, at least 17 organisations will face the wrath of the new provisions of the merciless FCRA laws.
Among others, Clivia Welfare Society, Padum Pukhuri, Dimapur, Phom Baptist Christian Association, Nyengching, Longleng, Withee Bible College, Darogajan, Dimapur, Impur Christian Hospital, Impur, Mokokchung, Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Dimapur and Wokha Don Bosco have been affected.
In 2015, the Modi Government cancelled the FCRA licenses of about 10,000 organizations in India including Green Peace, Ford Foundation and some 20 Christian organizations.
Another 1,807 NGOs lost theirs in 2019.
In 2020, a Government order said these organizations will not be eligible to apply for a fresh license for a period of three years.
However, a social worker based at Guwahati admitted that some NGOs did ‘misuse’ the foreign funds.
“There are organizations supposed to be working for Leprosy or mental healthcare. But when their activists took part in the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests in 2020 January, we knew some adverse reactions were on the card”, the social worker said.
There are interesting twists in the story.
In 2019, Oxfam India in its report had said: “Workers on tea plantations in the Assam region of India are systematically denied their rights to a living wage and decent working and living conditions.”
Some right wing organisations are of course ‘welcoming’ the Government’s initiative.
One such body, Legal Rights Observatory (LRO), a nationalist activist organization, welcomed the Government decision.
“Are you convinced @OxfamIndia now that U were actually doing harm to Assam Tea only to kill employment, to promote #RiceBag conversions of those losing Tea employment n to promote militancy at the behest of foreign Tea Companies?” it said.
Harsh Mander’s ‘Center for Equity Studies’ and Oxfam India were in the past accused by right-wing bodies of ‘misusing funds’ to fuel the February 2020 riots in Delhi.
Mander is seen as someone close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The Hindu-Muslim carnage took place in Delhi around the time US President Donald Trump was in India.
The Government was obviously left red-faced though Trump skirted the issue and did not quite embarrass his hosts.
In 2017, US-based Christian donor Compassion International was forced to stop its Indian operations.