Oxfam India says Centre’s refusal to renew FCRA registration will hit humanitarian work in 16 States

‘Oxfam India will reach out to the MHA and will urge them to lift the funding restrictions,’ says CEO Amitabh Behar.

Updated - January 02, 2022 03:00 pm IST

Published - January 02, 2022 02:58 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Twitter image of Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar.

Twitter image of Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar.

Oxfam India said on Sunday that the Central government’s refusal to renew its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration would severely affect the organisation’s ongoing crucial humanitarian and social work in 16 States.

Stating that the decision would not reduce the organisation's commitment to serve vulnerable communities and uphold values enshrined in the Indian Constitution, Oxfam India chief executive officer Amitabh Behar said in a statement: “Oxfam India will reach out to the MHA [Ministry of Home Affairs] and will urge them to lift the funding restrictions to ensure vulnerable communities keep receiving the support they need at this critical time of pandemic.”

Also read: Centre may extend December 31 FCRA renewal deadline for NGOs

According to the list released by the MHA on January 1, 2022, Oxfam India’s FCRA registration renewal request has been denied, restricting the flow of foreign funds to the organisation.

Mr. Behar said that Oxfam India had been working in public interest with the government, communities and frontline workers in the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it joined hands with health departments, district administrations and ASHA workers. He said the organisation was also working with various State governments to ensure bridging of the learning gap in school education due to the pandemic.

Explained | How will the foreign funding for charity issue be resolved?

“We have worked to enhance women livelihood and worked with forest dwellers to ensure that they are not denied their rights. We have worked in some of the most flood-prone districts to make communities resilient and provide a lasting solution,” he said.

‘Mission Sanjeevani’

Oxfam India said that under “Mission Sanjeevani”, it provided six oxygen generating plants and distributed over 13,388 lifesaving medical equipment in 16 States. It trained and provided safety kit to over 48,000 ASHA workers in nine States; delivered food ration to over 5.76 lakh people; and made cash transfers to over 10,000 people to the tune of ₹3.53 crore during the pandemic.

Also read: | Missionaries of Charities funds were cut after FIR alleged religious conversion

“As India stares at a possible third wave due to the Omicron variant, the restrictions on accessing funds will hamper our efforts to provide support in strengthening the public healthcare system,” it said, adding that since March 2020, Oxfam India was at the forefront whenever Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon NGOs and civil society to join the fight against COVID-19. The Supreme Court also acknowledged the contribution of NGOs in providing relief during the pandemic, it said.

Work during natural calamities

Oxfam India said it had been one of the first to respond to cyclone, floods, landslips, and earthquakes. Last year, it reached out to over 8,000 people in Assam, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and West Bengal.

Also read: ‘Audit irregularities’ at Missionaries of Charity led to FCRA denial, says official

The organisation also worked with some of the most marginalised and vulnerable communities to ensure education to all, especially girl children, and to provide multi-lingual education to tribal children. Its education programmes had helped more than 90,000 children in the past five years.

The organisation, which became a fully Indian entity in 2008, listed its other works in the areas of women livelihood, forest rights of tribal communities and traditional forest dwellers. Oxfam had come to India to provide famine relief in Bihar during 1951, it said.

“Oxfam’s support to Amul...in 1960s... helped it to become the largest milk brand in India and one of the largest food products in the world. In 1971, it recruited doctors and medical students to provide medical assistance to refugees coming into India from East Pakistan,” said the statement, adding that during the Kargil war also, Oxfam provided relief material to communities on the Indian side of the border.

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