YWCA-Delhi, 2 other NGOs lose FCRA licences

All the organisations stated that they furnished the required papers within the deadline

A sheet of paper with the words 'FCRA Compliance' (photo courtesy taxconcept)
A sheet of paper with the words 'FCRA Compliance' (photo courtesy taxconcept)

Ashlin Mathew

Several leading non-governmental organisations including Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Delhi have lost their Foreign Contribution Registration Act (FCRA) licenses in May and June after scrutiny by the Union home ministry. CNI Shishu Sangopan Griha and Program for Social Action have lost their licences too.

All the organisations got an email stating that they did not submit the documents on time and it obliquely referred to the work that the organisations do to deny their FCRA licences. However, all the organisations stated that they furnished the required papers within the deadline.  

The YWCA Delhi balance sheet for 2020-21 states that no foreign contribution was received by the association between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. Delhi-based CNI Shishu Sangopan Griha states on its website that it has received Rs 27.8 lakh as foreign donations between March and September 2020. The balance sheet of the Programme for Social Action (PSA) states that it has received Rs 3.22 crore as grants and donations for the year 2021-2022 through foreign contributions. PSA’s FCRA registration is in Kerala.

YWMC-Delhi, which began in the capital in 1912, runs several shelter homes and hostels for women, and engages in community development programmes. They also work with survivors of gender-based violence. The email to YWMC-Delhi stated that they have been denied the FCRA licence under Section 16(1) read with Section 12(4)(b).

The inference one can draw from the invocation of these two subsections is that either they did not apply in time as per Section 16 (1) or that they are unable to show that they worked in the domain in which they have usually been working (because of the invocation of Section 12(4)(b)). However, the organisation states that the facts are quite to the contrary.

“We are disappointed to hear the news. We work in partnership with the government for several of our programmes. Our work for women will not stop. We are looking through the papers and we will then appeal to the government. We hope with our credibility, we should be able to get the FCRA licence renewed,” said Pragya Mohan, YWC-Delhi general secretary.

YWCA partnered with the National Institute of Disaster Management under the Ministry of Home Affairs for organising an online training programme - Child Centric Disaster Risk Reduction - for Delhi, Assam and Nagaland during the Covid-19 pandemic.

PSA general secretary Aashima Subberwal said they were baffled and shocked about the decision of the Home Ministry to refuse FCRA renewal to PSA. “The FCRA renewal application of PSA stands denied as per the Home ministry website and a one line email received by the organisation. In plain reading, one of the two reasons cited is also technically wrong since PSA had filed our renewal application very much on time. PSA is one of the oldest network organisations successfully functioning since even before FCRA came in,” said Subberwal.

She maintained that they were optimistic that the ministry and department would correct this error and she hoped that they would get the opportunity to present their papers again. “We will take it for review, with this hope of a course correction,” underscored Subberwal.

Adding to it, PSA president Xavier Dias said that it was a big blow to the work that the organisation does. “Many people will lose their livelihood especially when jobs are not available. PSA played a pivotal role in Covid relief and was instrumental in supporting government hospitals across India,” added Dias.

Programme for Social Action, which began in 1975, has worked with a large constituency of historically oppressed and marginalised communities across the country. The organisation works on democratic governance, human rights and corporate accountability.

CNI Shishu Sangopan Griha works in the field of adoption and for the skill development of youngsters and women. They work across 11 districts of Delhi in supporting families and children in crisis especially in need of family-based care.

In early June 2023, Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the licence of CARE India, a non-governmental organisation. It is a part of CARE International Confederation and has been working for the past 70 years with the aim of ending poverty and social exclusion. It was last renewed with effect from 1 October 2022, for a period of 5 years — for 180 days.

According to the auditor's certificate for CARE India for 2021-22, the NGO, which received Rs 377.5 crore during 2021-22 as foreign contributions, and was subjected to a tax 'survey' under Section 133A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

In 2022, six thousand organisations including Oxfam India, Common Cause, Jamia Milia Islamia, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) were taken off the list of registered organisations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

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