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Explained: What is FCRA?

In a major nationwide crackdown on NGOs violating norms in receiving foreign grants, the CBI found Rs 2 crore in hawala transactions at 40 locations.
What is the FCRA?
Foreign donations are regulated by the FCRA, which ensures that they do not jeopardise national security. It was first enacted in 1976, and it was updated in 2010.
What is the purpose of FCRA, 2010?
According to FCRA website, FCRA, 2010 has been enacted by the Parliament to consolidate the law to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by certain individuals or associations or companies.
It was enacted to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution for any activities detrimental to national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
What is foreign contribution?
As defined in Section 2(1)(h) of FCRA, 2010, "foreign contribution" means the donation, delivery or transfer made by any foreign source.
Who can receive foreign contributions?
Any “Person” can receive foreign contribution subject to following conditions
  • It must obtain the FCRA registration / prior permission from the Central Government
  • It must have a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme.
  • It must not be prohibited under Section 3 of FCRA, 2010.
For how long is approval granted?
FCRA registration is valid for five years. NGOs are expected to apply for renewal within six months of the date of expiry of registration.
On what basis is approval cancelled?
The government can cancel the FCRA registration of any NGO if it finds it to be in violation of the Act.