INTERNATIONAL

U.S. to hold hearing on India’s curbs on NGO

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee will next week hold a hearing on restrictions imposed by the Indian government on American charity Compassion International (CI).

India had in March 2016 stopped the flow of funds from CI to around 250 organisations it wanted to support in the country. The government partially lifted the restrictions in October, allowing 10 organisations to receive funds, after Secretary of State John Kerry took up the matter with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Indian security agencies say the funds were being used for religious conversions. The hearing will bring into sharp focus an issue that has upset the Obama administration and several members of Congress.

Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a review of the curbs.

The partial relaxation has not satisfied the administration and members of Congress. The State Department then said it would continue to push for a “more welcoming environment for NGOs”.

Mr. Royce, who is considered a strong supporter of India in Congress, and several other members support the Christian charity that raises funds mostly through small monthly donations. The CI supports local NGOs that work among children in several countries.

The issue continuously comes up in Indian interactions with U.S. interlocutors, according to sources familiar with the situation. The hearing, titled ‘American Compassion in India: Government Obstacles’, will take place on December 6.

In March, India stopped the flow

of funds from a

U.S. charity to

250 organisations

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