`No conviction for conversion’ pledge mandatory for NGOs and staff to receive foreign funds

17 Sep 2019


The home ministry has amended rules regarding foreign funding of non-government organisations (NGOs) making it mandatory for office bearers, key functionaries and members of NGOs receiving foreign funds to declare before the government that they were not prosecuted or convicted for religious conversion.

A government notification on Monday announced changes to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules 2011, which states that for non-government organisations (NGOs) wanting to receive foreign funds, all their employees and officials have to declare to the government that they were not prosecuted or convicted for religious conversions, according to new rules issued by the home ministry. 
The notification makes it mandatory for "office bearers and key functionaries and members" of an NGO to certify that they have not been "prosecuted or convicted" for "conversion" from one faith to another and for creating "communal tension and disharmony".
Earlier, only directors or the top official seeking permission to receive foreign funds were required to make such a declaration. From now, not just the applicant but every member of the NGO must pledge that they have never been involved in "diverting" foreign funds or propagating "sedition" or "advocating violent means".
Under the amended rules individuals need not declare personal gifts worth up to Rs1 lakh anymore. Earlier, gifts valued at more than Rs 25,000 had to be declared.
The new rules also make it clear that in case of any medical emergency during a visit abroad, the government has to be informed about foreign hospitality to an NGO member within a month. 
The intimation should contain full details, including the source, approximate value in Indian rupees and the purpose for which and the manner in which it was utilised. Earlier, the intimation was required to be given within two months.
The member has to give details like the source of funds, the approximate value in Indian rupees, the purpose and the manner in which the money was used.
Earlier, these details could be given within two months.
Over the past five years, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tightened rules and procedures for NGOs receiving foreign funds. Permission to receive foreign contribution was taken away from nearly 18,000 NGOs for allegedly violating various clauses of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

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