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Government set to make Aadhaar mandatory for foreign funds

The government today said all religious organizations could receive foreign contributions as long as they used such funds for stated purposes and not for undermining internal security.

Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said this in the Lok Sabha on Sunday before the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act Amendment Bill, 2020, was introduced in the House by a voice vote, negating objections from opposition Congress and TMC.

The Bill gives the government powers to stop the utilization of foreign funds by a domestic NGO after conducting a summary trial on complaints of misutilisation of funds.

Besides, through another change to the original 1976 Act, the government has allowed itself the power to suspend the FCRA certificate beyond the 180-day period provided in the present law.

Opposing the introduction of the Bill, Congress’ Manish Tewari said while the statement of objects of the draft legislation say the government has canceled FCRA licences of 19,000 organizations between 2010 and 2019, “the Bill is silent on how many criminal investigations led to convictions”.

Rai allayed apprehensions of Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and TMC’s Saugata Roy regarding the submission of Aadhaar details saying the provision was in line with the spirit of the SC order on Aadhaar. He said the foreign contribution by any organization could only be received in a dedicated FCRA account with the SBI, New Delhi, account, but “documents for such registration can be submitted at the local SBI branch”.