Odisha will give financial aid to the Missionaries of Charity, the Catholic religious order and philanthropic organisation started by Mother Teresa, after it was blocked from accessing foreign donations for not meeting eligibility conditions under India’s laws.
In a statement, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s office said it will give Rs 78.76 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to 13 institutions run by the charity in Odisha.
The charity set up by the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1950 has its headquarters in Kolkata. It runs several leprosy homes and orphanages in Odisha.
Mr Patnaik has asked all district collectors to ensure the funds reach 13 institutions run by the charity in eight districts, where over 900 people are being looked after.
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked District Collectors to be in regular touch with organisations run by the Missionaries of Charity in Odisha. He has directed them to ensure that no one in these organisations suffer, especially from food security and health related distress. Wherever needed, funds from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund can be used for this purpose,” Mr Patnaik said in the statement sent by his office.
The Home Ministry rejected on December 25, Christmas, rejected a request from the Missionaries of Charity to receive funds from donors abroad. To use these funds, non-profits need clearance under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, or FCRA, but Mother Teresa’s charity had said their request to renew this licence was rejected.
To ensure there is no lapse, the charity then asked its centres not to operate any of foreign contribution accounts until the matter was resolved.
Refusing FCRA clearance has been criticised by activists as the government’s way of suppressing organisations whose work or officials are not considered supportive enough of the centre.
The Home Ministry had denied that it had not frozen the bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity, claiming, State Bank of India informed that the charity itself sent a request to the bank to freeze its accounts.