New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the validity of the registration certificates issued to NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), which expired on September 29, 2020, till September 30 this year due to the restrictions imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is mandatory for the NGOs receiving foreign funding to register under the FCRA and the decision is expected to benefit several thousands of NGOs and other voluntary organisations, the registration of which expired on September 29 last year.
The order issued by the MHA is being seen as a relief to the NGOs for switching to the new FCRA regime.
'Keeping in view the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 situation and to ensure a smooth transition to the amended FCRA regime, the central government, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 50 of the FCRA, 2010, has further decided that the registration certificates expiring or expired during the period between September 29, 2020 and September 30, 2021 shall remain valid up to September 30, 2021,' the order said.
Another order issued by the ministry said the non-government organisations (NGOs) can open their FCRA accounts to receive foreign donations at the main branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) at Sansad Marg in Delhi till June 30.
'After that date, they shall not be eligible to receive foreign contributions in any account other than the FCRA account...,' the order said.
According to the amended law, providing the Aadhaar number of the office-bearers of an NGO is mandatory for the registration of the organisation under the FCRA.
Besides, with the amendments, office expenses have been brought down to 20 per cent from 50 per cent and election candidates, government servants, members of any legislature and political parties were prohibited from accepting foreign funding.
According to the rules issued after the amended FCRA, NGOs that intend to receive foreign funding must be at least three years old and must have spent Rs 15 lakh in voluntary activities prior to their applications.
The NGOs will also have to submit a specific commitment letter from the donor, indicating the amount of foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to be given.
Over Rs 58,000 crore of foreign funds were received by the NGOs registered under the FCRA between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
There are around 22,400 NGOs in the country. PTI NES SKL RC