New Delhi, Sep 21 (PTI) Civil rights bodies on Monday urged the government to send the FCRA bill to a select committee of Parliament, saying the proposed law in its present form will virtually make it impossible for the NGOs to function.
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to make furnishing of Aadhaar numbers of office-bearers of any NGO mandatory for registration.
The bill seeks to bar public servants from receiving funds from abroad and proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.
The organisations said the bill might act as a 'death blow' to the development relief, scientific research and community support work of the NGO community as it prohibits collaboration with other Indian bodies.
Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), a national association of over 500 organisations including grassroot, state and national level NGOs like Save the children, Helpage India, Oxfam and Action Aid among others, claimed these amendments assume that all NGOs receiving foreign grants are guilty unless proved otherwise.
'The new FCRA Bill throttles the spirit of cooperation that had been ushered in earlier this year by the positive role played by development organisations in mitigating the lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic by virtually making it impossible for NGOs to function,' the association said in a statement.
'This makes NGOs open to possible harassment via queries which can be raised on almost any activity. This would impede collaborations and any other constructive activity they do,' it said.
It said the FCRA bill, 2020 should be referred to a select or a standing committee of Parliament.
Child Rights and You (CRY) said it stands in solidarity with civil society organisations, VANI and all grassroots level organisations working with underprivileged communities and children in India, in expressing a deep concern over the proposed FCRA bill, 2020.
This bill will have severe repercussions on the wide range of development relief and community support work done by the non-government sector, the CRY said in a statement.
'CRY urges the government to keep in mind the positive role played by development organisations in mitigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many such adversities in the past.
'It requests the concerned ministries to restrain from coming to any decisions in haste and to reconsider the bill, thereby letting development organisations, often called the fourth pillar of democracy, continue to do the good work that they have been doing to improve the situation of vulnerable and marginalised communities,' it said. PTI UZM TDS TDS