Ayodhya Ram temple trust gets FCRA licence to receive foreign donations

The trust has already collected ₹3,500 crore of donations from domestic sources; foreign donations to the trust will only be accepted at one SBI branch in Delhi; the temple’s inauguration is likely in January 2024

October 18, 2023 09:02 pm | Updated January 09, 2024 11:28 am IST - NEW DELHI

Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple construction work is under way in Ayodhya on October 18, 2023. Photo: X/@ShriRamTeerth via ANI

Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple construction work is under way in Ayodhya on October 18, 2023. Photo: X/@ShriRamTeerth via ANI

The Ayodhya Ram temple trust, known as the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, on October 18 said that it has received a license to accept foreign donations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The trust has already collected ₹3,500 crore in donations given by people across India.

“The FCRA section of The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has allotted the FCRA licence to Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust to accept the voluntary contribution from the foreign sources,” the trust’s general secretary Champat Rai said.

Also read | MHA data shows nearly half of fresh FCRA registrations under the religious category are for Christian NGOs 

He added that foreign donations will only be accepted at one State Bank of India (SBI) branch located at 11 Sansad Marg, New Delhi. The trust had applied for the FCRA licence earlier this year.

Construction funded by donors

The Ram temple is being built after the Supreme Court’s 2019 judgement, which maintained that the Muslim community was wrongfully deprived of the 450-year-old Babri masjid demolished in 1992, but rejected its claim for exclusive title and possession of the land in Ayodhya. The temple will thus be situated in the 67.3 acres of land accorded to the trust in the SC judgement. The temple construction commitee has also acquired an additional 71 acres of land to build public utilities near the temple.

Nripendra Misra, chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust’s construction committee, told The Hindu earlier this year that the temple’s construction is being funded through donations from the public, adding that about ₹3,500 crore has been collected so far.

The trust maintained that the Ram temple in Ayodhya would be inaugurated between January 14 and 24, 2024. the trust is expecting around 10,000 people to attend the event inside the temple premises. The number of pilgrims in Ayodhya may go into the millions on the day of the consecration ceremony, and the district administration has been asked to ensure the smooth movement of the devotees and management of the crowd.

FCRA registrations

Registration under the FCRA is mandatory to receive donations from outside of India. The NGOs applying for an FCRA license must define their activities under a category such as cultural, economic, educational, religious, or social programmes.

The Act aims to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by NGOs, and prohibits foreign funds to organisations found to be indulging in “any activities detrimental to the national interest”.

As per the information given by the Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai in the Rajya Sabha in March 2023, the government has cancelled the FCRA registration of 1,827 NGOs over the last five years.

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