New Delhi, June 15: Any foreigner associated with an NGO visiting India will no longer have a walk in the park.
The Home Ministry has decided that any visiting member of an NGO will have to register his or her name with the Foreign Regional Registration Office and furnish all details.
This is part of the process involving the amendment to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act or the FCRA.
The Home Ministry which has been cracking down on NGOs getting foreign funds and not declaring them or using it for purposes to undermine India's economic interests has decided to introduce several measures to check the menace.
Provide all details on arrival:
The Home Ministry says earlier a visiting member of an NGO would visit India and there would be no questions asked. However now as per the amended rules the visiting member would have to furnish all details to the Foreign Regional Registration Office. This would be the first step on arrival.
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In addition the purpose of the visit along with the duration of the stay would also need to be furnished. Further the NGOs website would have to detail the visit by its visiting member, the new rules would also mandate.
Home Ministry officials say that this will be made mandatory as we have had bad experiences in the past.
Take the case of the Wahabi scholars who came to India in the past couple of years. Their visits were aimed at spreading a radical school of thought and due to lack of stringent rules they came in large numbers.
The same has been found with the other NGOs who have been inviting their members to preach at areas where there are developmental works on.
Provide access to Intelligence Bureau and Home Ministry:
The Home Ministry has also proposed that any financial transaction shall be listed on the website of the NGO. The NGOs will have to furnish all details of their bank accounts and also the funds that they get. They would also have to give detailed information on how these funds are being spent.
In addition to this the banks where the NGOs deposit their funds would be required to provide access to the Home Ministry and the Intelligence Bureau.
The IB will have the power to check the financial transactions if it finds that the funds being brought in are not used for the purpose intended.
Educating the NGOs:
A home ministry official tells OneIndia that not all NGOs are bad. There are many foreign funded NGOs which use the money for the right purposes. There are several NGOs who are not aware of the norms or rules. Such NGOs need to be educated about the rules.
The Home Ministry official says that there will be a programme conducted where NGOs will be educated about the rules. We are sure that the genuine NGOs will have no problem in abiding by the rules.
The rules may appear to be stringent only to those wishing not to follow it, the officer also stated. Such programmes will be held at the state level and all NGOs who bring in the foreign funds would have to attend it and strictly follow the rules.