The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG), on September 20, said foreign funding to political parties under the Electoral Bonds Scheme, 2018, without any scrutiny is more detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto than funding to the voluntary sector.
Under the Electoral Bond Scheme, a citizen of India or a body incorporated in India including by foreigners are eligible to purchase the bond of the political parties contrary to Section 2(g) of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). On June 30 2022, the Union government issued the latest notification on the electoral bonds.
As of May 31 2022, of 50,204 NGOs registered under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act), licenses of 20,679 organisations have been cancelled, the licenses of 12,654 organisations deemed to have expired while 16,871 NGOs remained active under the FCRA.
It implies that out of 50,204 NGOs registered under the FCRA, about 33,333 NGOs i.e. over 66% can’t receive foreign funds.
“The Christians who constituted 2.30% of India’s total population as per 2011 census had 15% of the total NGOs i.e. 3,152 out of 20,670 NGOs which lost their FCRA license as on May 31 2022. When the denial of renewal of the FCRA licenses came up on January 2 2022, out of the 2,257 religious-nature NGOs which lost their licenses, the licenses of 1,626 NGOs were registered with the intent of running social programmes aligned to Christianity i.e. 72% of the faith-based organisations were denied renewal,” RRAG director Suhas Chakma said.
“The targeting of the voluntary sector led to falling of foreign funding from Rs 16,490 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 2,190 crore in 2019-20 i.e. by over 87%,” Chakma said.
“The crackdown on the voluntary sector had a severe impact on the democracy, social justice and social inclusion in India,” Chakma added.