6,000 NGOs could lose licence to receive foreign donations

New Delhi: The Union home ministry has served show cause notices to 5,922 Non-Government organisations (NGOs) within 15 days seeking a reply as to why their registration under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) should not be cancelled for not filing annual returns for three years or more.

The registration is mandatory for any organisation obtaining funds from abroad for any voluntary activity that does not fall in the business category. Those losing the registration will not be able to accept foreign funds.

A notice sent out by the FCRA wing of the ministry to the defaulters on July 8 says it will be presumed that those not replying on fcrarenewal-mha@gov.in within 15 days will have nothing to say and action to cancel their registration under Section 14 of FCRA will be taken without giving any further notice.

The list of the defaulters is also published on the FCRA website. It also says a public notice was uploaded on fcraonline.nic.in on May 12 giving the NGOs a one-time opportunity to file their missing annual returns for financial years 2010-11 to 2014-15 within one month from May 15 to June 14 without payment of penalty for none or late filing of the returns. The public notice was also put on the home ministry and PIB websites.

This was followed by regular email alerts to the associations from May 19 to June 14 as also SMS alerts on May 31, along with daily SMS alerts from May 5 to June 14. The notice says despite sufficient and adequate notice, 5,922 NGOs did not upload their annual returns for three and more than three years and hence the final show cause notice.

The Act requires submission of the annual returns for every financial year on April 1 within nine months of the closure of the financial year.

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