NGOs play a vital role in raising crucial issues which matters to the country, society, community, and nation-building. There are many NGOs doing fantastic work in nearly every sector of the country.
In 2017, the Supreme Court, in a writ petition (CRL) No. 172/2011, had indicated the Government of India to frame appropriate guidelines for the certification of NGOs, by providing a legal manner in which they receive grants. The government needs to look into the accounts and its up keeping.
The court had observed that the guidelines must define a procedure to take action to recover grants in case of theft, including criminal activity. Former senior police officer cum author VN Rai in an interview with the Firstpost said: “the system to monitor NGOs needs massive reform, and there has to be a clear distinction between a good civil society group and organizations that are set up primarily to take out money.”
In the Modi government’s tenure, most of the NGOs struggling through the process of banning and cancellation of licenses. The process started with the banning of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO from accepting inaccessible foreign funds.
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According to the Home Ministry, it was a major step taken by the government. It was highlighted as an anti-terrorism and pro-government move. From then on, the NGOs have been under scrutiny.
A year ago, out of the 33,000 NGOs in the country, 20,000 have had their licenses canceled for the violation of laws. Between 2014 to 2017, the government is estimated to have canceled the license of about 7,500 NGOs. This includes a number of top universities, Supreme Court Bar Association and Escorts Heart Institute, which has failed to give an account of their proper income and expenditure statements.
The decline in funding and cancellation of licenses could have a major impact on employment of about 12.7 million people working in the 1.2 million NGOs.
Currently, there are at about 300 NGOs that are under prior permission category but not registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, (FCRA). The FCRA licenses of 16 NGOs were successfully revived by the Home Ministry under the “automatic” route and all the cases were reviewed thoroughly and except in two cases. As per FCRA guidelines, if an NGO is established under the prior permission category, it is barred to receive foreign funding from abroad without taking any permission from the Home Ministry.
The last four years of Modi government was very harsh for the NGOs that tolerated unprecedented attacks. But most importantly, it should be noted that, as reported by Scroll.in on August 4th, 2018, “RSS is also an affiliated NGO which obtain a huge amount of funds from abroad but remains unmarked”.
It is still questionable that RSS is out of any of the FCRA violations.