Mystery NGOs of India and their modus operandi
Hyderabad, March 23: It has been found that there are a host of NGOs in the country which have registered themselves for a short duration of time and then shut it down almost immediately.
The issue came to light when the Ministry of Home Affairs was dealing with around 1141 NGOs in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh.
This has promoted the home ministry to take action against all these NGOs which were found to be violating the rules.
Some had not filed their returns while others did not exist and there were a good number of them which had shifted offices without intimating the ministry concerned.
510 NGOs went off the radar:
The murky world of these NGOs came to light when notices were issued to 1141 of them.
The government sought to know about why they had not filed their returns and also not made public their funds as per the rules mandated under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
While many had replied with unsatisfactory answers what has surprised the ministry is that 510 NGOs had not even responded.
Following this an inquiry was conducted and it was found that many had shifted their base for the fear of getting caught while others never existed.
An in-depth inquiry that is being conducted has found that most of them had collected a large number of funds from foreign sources and then immediately shut shop.
Others have just moved away from their addresses for the fear of getting caught.
Conversions over terrorism:
During the probes that have been conducted it has been found that a majority of such NGOs are involved in conversion activities.
In the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh this racket had gone up ten fold four years back and several such NGO's mushroomed across the state.
Terrorist groups have been selective when it comes to the use of NGO's for their activities. In fact only one out of every 50 cases are terror related.
Terror groups have other ways such as hawala etc to deal with their financial transaction and their reliance on NGOs are extremely less.
However, in the case of some missionaries who carry out conversions the reliance on an NGO is very high.
Every third case is related to conversions and the NGOs have been opened up only to get in the funds. Many times it has also been found that NGOs have got funds just funds and then wound up.
The modus operandi:
Most of these small NGO's basically report to the main one. While there is one major NGO which oversees all the activities, the funds that it would be getting in is very legitimate.
These funds are basically used for the purpose they are intended such as upliftment of the poor etc.
However, they have a series of smaller NGO's which open and then shut shop after bringing in the funds.
This way the main NGO gets away scot free without any scrutiny while on the other hand the funds are being brought in by the smaller groups.
The Intelligence Bureau says that there are 510 mystery NGOs that have been found in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh alone.
The number could well go up to 10000 country wide. New rules need to framed and the number of NGOs need to be limited.
The licensing policy must be changed and only select NGOs must be granted permission.
The state governments too should exercise caution while granting permission for such NGOs if this problem needs to be curbed, the officer also informed.