Foreign funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have long been a problem for India’s growth and development. Earlier governments used to face problems in clamping down on their activities or they had perhaps given them a free hand in order to boost their own political ambitions. All this changed with the Bharatiya Janata Party government under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi who came to power in 2014. In the last couple of years, numerous steps have been taken to ensure the closure of NGOs which indulged in anti-India activities such as supporting Naxals and indulging in conversions. A number of NGOs have been brought under the scanner by government agencies working under the Home Ministry. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has undertaken the job of shutting down such NGOs with an unparalleled zeal and gusto, and his commendable efforts in bringing stringent nets have been praised throughout India. If recent reports are to be believed, PM Modi too has joined Rajnath Singh in his bid to end those NGOs which have been embroiled in anti-national activities. PM Modi has expressed concern over the subject of foreign funding and has directed the top security officials and Home Ministry to work with state police departments in a bid to curtail their activities swiftly.
A staggering 30 lakh NGOs operate in the country of which merely ten percent file their balance sheets, while the rest are at liberty to use (read misuse) the funds without accountability. The funds received by them from the government are a staggering 900 crore rupees coupled besides the thousands of crores they receive from foreign contributions. NGOs receive approximately Rs 27,000 crore in domestic and foreign grants. According to the Home Ministry, there are approximately 25,000 active organisations registered under The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. Records suggest that NGOs received foreign contributions to the tune of Rs 18,065 crore for various social, cultural, economic, educational and religious activities in 2016-17.The Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) had rattled these NGOs and had contributed heavily to closure of some 14,000 plus NGOs within a year of its coming into effect.
The PM Modi led BJP government plans to bring a lot more of these to the book in order to reveal their mission and agenda. Back in 2017, the Supreme Court too had directed Government of India to frame guidelines for accreditation of NGOs. “The apex court, too, had raised questions over transparency in civil society organisations, and a Central Bureau of Investigation report had clearly highlighted that a majority of these groups operate without any accountability. NGOs could be a tool for social change, but at the same time, this potent medium could be used for activities that may adversely affect the interests of the country”,said a top government official regarding this issue.
The interference of PM Modi has come after the latest spate of arrests regarding the Bhima-Koregaon riots which have thrown up new plots to overthrow the central government. Although it is yet to be proven that there is a direct link between foreign funds and the instigators of the violence, PM Modi nonetheless wants to ensure a definite end to the foreign bodies that use the Maoists and Naxals as tools. PM Modi and BJP government’s stance on foreign funding will ensure a swift end to the sinister activities of these conversion and anti-India gangs. All it will take is the central leadership and state units to work in sync with each other to ensure that both the big and small fishes don’t escape the net.
The online portal launched by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on June 1 is doing its bit in order to ensure close monitoring of the flow of foreign contributions to the registered NGOs. “It gives them the capacity to make data-driven and evidence-based decisions regarding the compliance of the provisions of the FCRA,” according to the ministry. The analytical tool facilitates government officials in scrutinizing the source of funds and their actual use in the country. PM Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh are ensuring that government agencies hit a home run with these tools at their disposal.