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FCRA license of think tank CPR suspended

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Role of NGOs

 

Source: Indian Express

 Context: The Centre suspended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) following prima facie inputs regarding the violation of funding norms.

  

About CPR:

  • The Government of India recognizes CPR as a not-for-profit society and contributions to the Centre are tax-exempt – according to its website.
  • CPR receives grants from the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and is a Department of Science and Technology-recognized institution.
  • CPR receives grants from a variety of domestic and international sources, including foundations, corporate philanthropy, governments, and multilateral agencies.

  

What is the FCRA?

  • The FCRA was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organizations.
  • The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations.
  • An amended FCRA was enacted in 2010 to “consolidate the law” on the utilization of foreign funds, and “to prohibit” their use for “any activities detrimental to the national interest”.
  • The law was amended again in 2020, giving the government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and utilization of foreign funds by NGOs.

 

 

FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be

  • registered under the Act,
  • to open a bank account for the receipt of foreign funds in the State Bank of India, Delhi, and
  • to utilize those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act.

 

The Act prohibits the receipt of foreign funds by candidates for elections, journalists or newspaper and media broadcast companies, judges and government servants, members of the legislature and political parties or their office-bearers, and organizations of a political nature.

 

How is FCRA registration granted?

  • FCRA registrations are granted to individuals or associations that have definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, and social programmes.

 

For how long is the approval granted and when is it suspended? Click on this link

 

Mains Link: UPSC 2015

Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.