The FCRA regulates the acceptance and utilization of foreign funds by individuals, associations and companies among other provisions, the bill proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate. It also proposes that not more than 20 per cent of the total foreign funds received can be spent on administrative expenses. Presently, the limit is 50 per cent.
Under FRCA, election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, members of any legislature and political parties are prohibited from receiving foreign donations. The Bill adds public servants (as defined under the Indian Penal Code) to this list of prohibited persons. A key amendment proposes to introduce the requirement of Aadhaar, the biometric ID, stating that applicants must now provide Aadhaar details of all its office-bearers as an identification document.
The Bill also prohibits the transfer of foreign grants received by an entity to a partner organisation or an associated person, which is a usual practice also foreign contribution can now be received only in an account designated by the bank as “FCRA account” in a branch of the State Bank of India, New Delhi. No funds other than the foreign contribution should be received or deposited in this account.
Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai moved the bill for passage in the Upper House. Replying to a debate on the bill, minister said that the legislation was not against any NGO and is an effort to maintain transparency. This amendment is in the interest of good NGOs which want to do good work in the country.