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Govt. set to remove Ford Foundation from watch list

The move comes after the foundation registered itself under FEMA Act

January 07, 2016 10:54 pm | Updated September 22, 2016 10:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The NDA government is all set to ease restrictions against the U.S.-based Ford Foundation and remove the international NGO from the “prior permission” category.

Citing “national security”, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had put the association under the “prior permission” category last year after it received a report from the Gujarat government that the organisation funded the “anti-India” activities of Teesta Setalvad’s two NGOs — Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust.

The move comes in the wake of the Ford Foundation’s compliance with the government’s condition to register itself under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, which enables it to receive foreign funds in its accounts.

The Ford Foundation, which has been operating in India since 1952, was not registered either as an NGO or under any other category like the Indian Society Act till now.

Registered under FEMA

All this while it was operating on the basis of an understanding with the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

“Since they have registered themselves under FEMA, we are inclined to remove them from the prior permission category. It will be done soon,” said a senior government official.

Besides the Ford Foundation, there are 15 other NGOs and associations which are under this restricted category. Organisations in the prior approval category are required to seek the MHA’s clearance before transferring money to any bank account in India.

The U.S. government has, on several occasions, taken up the issue of the clampdown on the Ford Foundation with Indian authorities.

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