World Vision India loses FCRA registration

The Christian NGO’s FCRA registration was initially suspended in November 2022 due to alleged non-compliance with FCRA norms; it had received ₹170 crore in foreign donations in 2022

January 21, 2024 12:23 am | Updated 07:53 am IST - NEW DELHI

Logo of World Vision India. World Vision has been operational in India for the past 70 years. Photo: LinkedIn

Logo of World Vision India. World Vision has been operational in India for the past 70 years. Photo: LinkedIn

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of World Vision India (WVI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focusses on children’s issues. The U.S.-based World Vision is one of the world’s largest Christian voluntary groups with a presence in over 100 countries. It has been operational in India for the past 70 years.

According to the MHA’s order, the Indian NGO is no longer eligible to receive foreign donations, including from its parent organisation, as its registration has been cancelled on account of “violation” of FCRA rules.

WVI has been registered under the FCRA since 1986, to receive money used to conduct “social and educational” programmes. The NGO has signed agreements with several government departments in the past. In 2016, amid an uproar on social media, the Rajasthan government had to cancel a memorandum of understanding signed with WVI on Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). 

Suspended in 2022

The NGO’s registration was first suspended in November 2022, a year after it applied for the renewal of its FCRA registration, which must be done every five years. The Ministry initially suspended the registration for 180 days for alleged non-compliance with the FCRA’s provisions. The suspension was extended in May 2023.

According to WVI’s latest financial statement for the year 2022-33, submitted to the MHA on October 14, 2023, “the Society (WVI) has submitted its detailed responses to the MHA for all matters raised by them alleging non compliance by the Society with the provisions of FCRA relating to the periods from 2012-13 to 2020-21. The Society has also provided the required supporting documents for all the matters raised in the letters from the MHA.”

‘Unable to settle liabilities’

The financial statement added that WVI’s operations had been significantly impacted due to the suspension, as it could not carry out any activities covered under FCRA after November 2022. “The Society has closed all of its project offices working exclusively on FCRA projects and also terminated the contract with its employees working on FCRA projects in the month of May 2023,” it said. “Considering the suspension, the Society has not been able to access the funds or assets and has not been able to settle its liabilities to employees and vendors (including ₹39.72 crore relating to the period from November 2022 to 31 March 2023). The Society has applied for access to 25% of the funds to settle the liabilities before the MHA which is pending disposal as of date,” it added.

In 2022, WVI received around ₹170 crore in foreign donations from its partners in the U.S., Switzerland, and Germany, among others. It also received ₹8 lakh as a donation from the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Since 2011, the FCRA registrations of around 20,000 NGOs have been cancelled on various grounds of violation of provisions. On January 10, the MHA cancelled the FCRA registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a leading public policy think tank in New Delhi.

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