Foreign funds to NGOs- Why better scrutiny is needed FCRA Report 2008-09

Food for Thought 
•NGO’s are required to file their accounts by 31st December of the subsequent year. The FCRA report for year ended 31/3/2009 was signed in December 2010 i.e. nearly 12 months after due date of receipt. So either NGO’s filed reports late or there was a delay at the Ministry of Home Affairs end. Either way a delayed report has historical value. 
•NGO’s should file their audited accounts within six months of March 31 so that FCRA report is ready by December. The MHA site now allows NGO’s to file returns electronically, a welcome move. It should help in speedier consolidation.  
•Since 45% of the NGO’s have not filed audited accounts, any NGO which does not file accounts for two years should not be allowed to receive further remittances. The bank branch i.e. authorized to receive remittances should be empowered to ask NGO for proof of filing annual return.  
•Is field inspection of books of accounts of a few NGO’s good enough to monitor the activities of over 36,000 NGO’s countrywide who receive in excess of $ 3 billion annually?   
•Since it is impossible to do so should the MHA involve the home departments of respective states. MHA sources say that States have refused to co-operate. The issue should be resolved through a dialogue between the ruling and opposition parties. 
•The deeper intent behind the Western world remitting thousands of crores into India annually needs to be probed and acted upon. After all poor people live in the West, the East not to forget the Middle East.  
•More importantly should a country growing at 8% plus allow Western NGO’s to have such a toehold in India?   
•Would the U.S, Germany, Netherlands, U.A.E., UK allow Indian NGO’s similar freedom as does the Government of India?

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, whilst moving certain amendments to  the FCRA, Home Minister Chidambaram said the government would like to ensure  "that the foreign money does not dominate social and political discourse  in India. There is enough money within India”.

Intent exists! However, India needs to improve monitoring mechanism for  funds received.

The author is a Chartered  Accountant and founder

Also read:
1. To know how Foreign Funding  (Western Govts, Church etc) of Indian NGO’s, academic bodies seeks to influence  Indian thought and promote identity based politics thereby seeking to divide  India read ‘Breaking India’

2. Even though the title is  misleading this India Today story on foreign funding is titled – Independent  Churches mushroom across India attracting foreign funds click here to read.

3. FCRA Report 2007-08 –  you can read 2010 rediff article, get detailed tables of foreign funding and  2007-08 FCRA report PDF file.  click here to read

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