27 September 2021 23:55

Indian Government restricts funding of two Australia-based NGOs

The Indian government had specified the number of foreign entities to be placed on the “Prior Reference Category” (PRC list)

The Indian government has moved to restrict the funding for a group of ten Non-Government-Organisations (NGO) belonging to the USA, Australia and Europe.

These NGO’s deal with environmental, climate change and child labour issues.

According to a national daily, an internal Reserve Bank of India memo (dated 1 July 2021) says that the Indian government had specified the number of foreign entities to be placed on the “Prior Reference Category” (PRC list).

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This has been done using the stringent Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010.

The FCRA 2010, revised in September 2020, has made both banks and chartered accountants accountable for any unauthorised funds.

The NGOs include the two Australia-based NGOs:
1- Walk Free Foundation,
2- Minderoo Foundation;

European: Climate Foundation

Three U.S.-based NGOs:
1 The Omidyar Network International, 2- Humanity United and 3- Stardust foundation

U.K.-based: 1- Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, 2-Freedom fund and 3- Laudes foundation,

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U.K./ U.A.E. based: Legatum fund

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Image source: Modern Slavery Index – Walk Free – 2016.

In 2017, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also objected strongly to the International Labour Organisation’s Global Slavery Index.

The Indian government has questioned “the credibility of data” which had ranked India 53rd of 167 countries where “modern slavery” was prevalent.

This index is part of the human rights group Walk Free Foundation’s annual survey that is used by other NGOs working in the field.

According to Walk Free’s webpage, modern slavery is a “hidden crime” and refers to “situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.”

The founding agency of Walk Free, Minderoo Foundation, is one of Asia’s largest philanthropies with AUD $2 billion committed to a range of global initiatives.

The Indian government has updated the parliament by releasing the numbers of NGOs under the scanner of security agencies.

Between 2016-2020, the Indian government has cancelled the FCRA licenses of more than 6,600 NGOs and suspended those of about 264.

The MHA, RBI, Walk Free Foundation and Minderoo Foundation did not respond to emails from The Hindu requesting a response.

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