Washington DC: In a move that could trigger controversy before US president Barack Obama’s visit, Centre has clamped down on four American NGOs — Avaaz, Bank Information Centre (BIC), Sierra Club and 350.org – dealing with issues on climate change.
Union home ministry sources said the action was taken as irregularities were found in the funds being transferred. The funds received by the NGOs were being transferred in to the individual or personal accounts and not into the accounts approved to receive foreign funding under the Foreign Control regulation Act (FCRA).
Following home ministry’s observation, the Reserve Bank of India has restricted all funding to four American NGOs operating in India after the government found them allegedly violating laws related to foreign contributions.
The home ministry has asked RBI to take prior permission from its foreigners’ division before clearing any aid from abroad to the four NGOs. The move, sources said, follows prolonged monitoring of the activities of four American NGOs which were allegedly violating the rules governing FCRA.
Accordingly, the RBI has put on hold any direct flow of funds to these NGOs and their representatives from abroad since each transaction has to be cleared on a case-by- case basis by the home ministry.
The move comes within six months of international environment group Greenpeace and Climate Works Foundation subjected to a similar restriction for allegedly opposing several development projects in India. The two NGOs have denied the charges.