After the NDA government came to power in May 2014, FCRA licenses of more than twenty thousand NGOs have been cancelled by the Home Ministry. Do you agree with the view that the policy of curbing foreign funds to the Indian NGOs is appropriate and should be more aggressively applied? Give arguments.

NGOs are nongovernmental organizations which actively participate in political, social, economic and cultural matters , they pursue activities to relieve the sufferings of poor, protection of environment, provide social service etc. They are playing an important role on international stage.
In India NGOs who receive fund  from countries need licenses under Foreign contribution regulation act to legally receive the funds. Government has cancelled 20,000 licenses out of 33,000 NGOs  as they were flouting the norms.
Policy of curbing the foreign funds would not be appropriate as:

  • Cancellation of licenses would bar them from receiving foreign funds but they can continue to function with domestic funds hence would not solve the issue of transparency and accountability in the working of NGOs
  • Some of them may adopt illegal means to receive foreign funds.
  • Paucity of funds can handicap the NGOs which are genuinely involved in upliftment of poor and marginalized, rural areas
  • Amount of funds from foreign nations is comparatively higher than received through domestic donors
  • Many of the foreign donors support pressing world issues like climate, poverty, health which requires large funds and where support from international networks helps bring best practices like Public health Foundation of India which receives fund from Bill and Melinda gates foundation collaborates with Ministry of Health
  • As per CBI only 10% of NGOS submit details hence discrimination between domestic and foreign NGOs would not make sector transparent.

Policy of curbing the foreign funds would be appropriate as:

  • Without due transparency and accountability, foreign funds being misused
  • Foreign funds influence the issues being raised and pursued by NGOs
  • Due to lack of any stringent regulation governing the credibility of NGOs, those receiving foreign may be involved in illegal activities.
  • IB report had mentioned that many NGOs were pursuing anti-national activities.

Thus, as per Supreme Court order, India needs a stringent law to regulate and register the NGOs and to make them accountable and transparent as they are a major pillar in growth and development of India.

Question for UPSC Mains:
After the NDA government came to power in May 2014, FCRA licenses of more than twenty thousand NGOs have been cancelled by the Home Ministry. Do you agree with the view that the policy of curbing foreign funds to the Indian NGOs is appropriate and should be more aggressively applied? Give arguments.

Published: September 21, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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