Today's Paper

Govt. tables Bill to amend FCRA

The Centre is set to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and proposes to make Aadhaar a mandatory identification document for all the office-bearers, directors and other key functionaries of an NGO or an association eligible to receive foreign donations.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai.

The Bill says the amendment is required to enhance transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions worth thousands of crores of rupees every year and facilitating the “genuine” non-governmental organisations or associations who are working for the welfare of society.

The Bill proposes to include “public servant” and “corporation owned or controlled by the government” among the list of entities who are not eligible to receive foreign donations, the draft says.

Bars public servants

“Amendment of clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 3 to include public servant also within its ambit, to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any public servant,” the Bill says.

In 2016, the Home Ministry had cancelled the licence of Lawyers Collective, run by noted lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover for various violations. The Ministry, in its suspension notice, had said that Ms. Jaising — as a government servant — had received foreign funds over Rs. 96 crore when she held the post of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) between the years2009 and 2014, in violation of FCRA norms.

Ms Jaising refuted the Ministry’s allegations and had said she was a “public servant” not “government servant.”

FCRA regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect the internal security of the country. The Act, first enacted in 1976 was amended in the year 2010 when a slew of new measures were taken by the Union Home Ministry to regulate foreign donations.