INDIATOP NEWS

Govt set to amend FCRA; Aadhar to be mandatory for registration

New Delhi

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) is all set to be amended, under which providing the Aadhar numbers of the office-bearers of any NGO will be mandatory for registration and public servants will be barred from receiving funds from abroad.

The Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020, to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday, also proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

The draft bill proposes that not more than 20 per cent of the total foreign funds received could be spent on administrative expenses.

Presently, the limit is 50 per cent.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states, “The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 was enacted to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

The draft says the Act came into force on May 1, 2011 and has been amended twice.

The first amendment was made by section 236 of the Finance Act, 2016 and the second by section 220 of the Finance Act, 2018.

It says the amendment is required to enhance transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions worth thousands of crores of rupees every year and facilitating “genuine” non-governmental organisations or associations that are working for the welfare of the society.

Any person who makes an application for prior permission or seeks registration under the FCRA or renewal of his FCRA licence will now have to mandatorily furnish the Aadhar numbers of all its office-bearers or directors or other key functionaries or in case of a foreigner, a copy of the passport or the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, the draft bill says.

It proposes to include “public servant” and “corporation owned or controlled by the government” in the list of entities, who are not eligible to receive foreign donations.

Over Rs 58,000 crore foreign funds were received by NGOs registered under the FCRA between 2016-17 and 2018-19.

There are around 22,400 NGOs in the country.

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