FCRA licences – required to be able to receive funding from abroad – of over 6,000 NGOs and other organisations expired overnight, the Home Ministry said Saturday morning, days after it refused to renew such a licence for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
Home Ministry sources said most of the NGOs or organisations had not applied for their licenses to be renewed. Ministry officials told NDTV reminders had been sent to make the application before the deadline – Friday – but many had not done so. “How can permission be given…” an official asked.
Overall, more than 12,000 NGOs – including the Oxfam India Trust, Jamia Milia Islamia, the Indian Medical Association and the Leprosy Mission – whose licences had expired over the past few months have lost their FCRA licenses as of today.
Apart from those mentioned, the staggeringly long list of NGOs includes the Tuberculosis Association Of India, the Indira Gandhi National Centre For Arts, and the India Islamic Cultural Centre.
Oxfam India and the Oxfam India Trust are in the list of NGOs whose FCRA certificates have expired and not in those whose registrations have been cancelled.
There are now only 16,829 NGOs in India which still have a FCRA licence, which was yesterday renewed till March 31, 2022, or till the time renewal applications (for NGOs who have applied) are decided.
22,762 NGOs are registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, according to news agency PTI, and they must remain registered (have a license) in order to receive foreign funding.
All of this comes after the Home Ministry cited “adverse inputs” to not renew the FCRA licence of the Missionaries of Charity, leaving the group – which operate orphanages and shelters for the poor, sick, and destitute across India – without access to foreign funds in over 250 accounts.
This was weeks after a police complaint was registered in Gujarat against the Director of a children’s home run by the Missionaries of Charity for allegedly attempting to convert young girls.
The Home Ministry also said it had not received a request to review its decision.
Mother Teresa’s charity confirmed their renewal had been rejected, and that “we have asked our centres not to operate any of the FC (foreign contributions) accounts until the matter is resolved”.
Controversy erupted after it emerged that accounts belonging to the Kolkata-headquartered charitable group, including those with the State Bank of India, had been frozen.
Opposition leaders, including Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, ripped into the government, particularly for ‘freezing’ the accounts on Christmas Day.
Father Dominic Gomes, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, also hit out at what he said was a “dastardly attack on the Christian community”.
Refusing FCRA clearance has been listed by critics of the government as its way of suppressing organisations whose work or officials are not considered supportive enough of the centre.