New Delhi, April 24: Had Ford Foundation provided a grant of 540,000 US Dollars to the Sabrang Trust, an NGO that is run by Teesta Setalvad? An inquiry that was conducted by the Gujarat government made this point and also stated that the NGO had an agenda which ran contrary to what it actually proclaimed.
The Ford Foundation was placed under watch by the Home Ministry yesterday. At least 5 million dollars in terms of grants sent by the Ford Foundation had been blocked in the past couple of months.
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The Home Ministry said that the NGOs which had received funds from the Ford Foundation had not submitted their statement of accounts and hence had violated the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
Funding the Sabrang Trust
As per the investigation that was conducted by the Gujarat Government, it was alleged that the Ford Foundation had provided a grant of 540,000 US dollars to NGO Sabrang Trust and Sabrang Communication & Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) which is run by Teesta Setalvad.
The inquiry had stated that the NGO was started with the intention of promoting communal harmony, ensuring social justice and upholding democratic principles. However the NGO is indulging in actions contrary to what it had proclaimed.
The inquiry further questions the motive of the Ford Foundation in handing out such a huge grant to the Sabrang Trust and the Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Ltd.
Sabrang a proxy for Ford Foundation
The Gujarat government had also held that it appeared that Sabrang Trust is a proxy office for Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation has been accused in the past too of funding groups with an intention of spreading a cultural propaganda.
The inquiry report further alleged that the Ford Foundation was cultivating and positioning the NGO with a long term plan.
The inquiry also recommended strong action against the Ford Foundation. It alleged that it had violated the Foreign Exchange Management Act. Apart from this the foundation was also accused of interfering in the internal affairs of the country and recommended action for promoting communal disharmony.
Ford Foundation in India
Ford Foundation was probably one of the biggest funder for NGOs in India. It has assets worth nearly 11 million dollars and had funded nearly 1,250 institutions from its office in New Delhi. It is said that Ford Foundation has made nearly 3500 grants amounting to 508 million dollars.
The New Delhi office was started in the year 1952 following an invitation by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The foundation is said to have provided funds to promote various activities which include women and child rights, indigenous philanthropy, classical and contemporary arts, regional security among others.