India’s Home Ministry has issued notices to nearly 6,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving foreign funding for failing to file annual tax returns for the last five years.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — The ministry’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) division served the show cause notices to 5,922 NGOs. The reason: these organizations have not filed mandatory annual income and expenditure records from 2010-11 to 2014-15, despite repeated notices. Now, the government has put the ball in their court, asking why their license shouldn’t be cancelled.
The NGOs were required to file their annual tax returns until June 14 without paying any fine, as directed in a circular issued by the home ministry.
“However, in spite of sufficient and adequate notice, it has been observed that 5,922 associations have not uploaded their annual returns for three or more than three years within the stipulated time given in the notice,” the circular said.
The government had asked 18,523 NGOs to respond with details of their income and expenses in May. Now, these organizations will have to furnish their replies by July 23, failing which it will be presumed that they have nothing to say and action will be taken as per FCRA norms.
Some of the prominent names in the Home Ministry list include Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, Mayo College Central Council Society, Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Delhi College of Engineering, Punjabi University (Patiala), Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Khadi Gramodyog Samiti and Oxfam Trust.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has faced criticism for targeting the NGO sector and since 2015, the government has canceled registration of over 10,000 organizations under FCRA.
The Modi government’s measures to ensure greater compliance from the NGO sector has garnered attention in the West as well, with many US-based civil society organizations’ operations curtailed or completely shut down.
In March this year, influential Congressman and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce and more than 100 members of the US Congress had written to India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh, asking him to allow US-based charity Compassion International to continue its work in India.
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