MHA ready to give consideration to US NGO compassion after ban

NewDelhi,Dec9:After US NGO Compassion International threatened to wind up its operations in India, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it is willing to reconsider its decision to ban the US-based donor from funding Indian based NGOs.

“We are ready to reconsider the case of Compassion International, the US donor, which was put under ‘prior permission category’ for alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA),” a senior Home Ministry official told India Today.

Compassion International was put under prior permission category in May last. When a donor organisation is put under prior permission category, it is barred from funding any Indian NGO without the nod from the government, in this case Compassion East India and Caruna Bal Vikas.

 The US donor has been working in the field of child rights for 48 years and is accused of funding non-FCRA registered NGOs.

Meanwhile on December 6, Stephen Oakley, senior vice president and general counsel of Compassion International, during a US congressional hearing accused the Narendra Modi government for trying to eliminate foreign NGOs.

“For 48 years Compassion has operated continuously and lawfully, helping over a quarter of a million children break the cycle of poverty. Until 2016, Compassion sent nearly $50 million per year in humanitarian aid to India, funding nearly 145,000 sponsored children in some of India’s most impoverished and remote regions. MHA evidently views Christian values as a threat to the national interest, particularly if those values are taught to the poor. MHA has never provided Compassion or its partners with any explanation for the prior clearance order, nor has it ever responded to Compassion’s multiple efforts to engage in dialogue,” he said.

A spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs defended the government’s decision.

“Our attention has been drawn to a recent congressional hearing in the US regarding placing of an American NGO in the prior reference category by MHA. The hearing appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its society, Constitution and laws. There is a well-established legal framework for NGOs to conduct their operations in India. This is borne out by the presence of over three million NGOs in the country, one of the largest NGO networks in the world. India welcomes lawful operation of foreign NGOs in India,” the spokesperson said.

It has been learnt that during a visit to India in September, US Secretary of State John Kerry had asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to reconsider the decision to place Compassion International in the prior permission category.

Several NGOs have been at receiving end of MHA’s wrath for FCRA violations.

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