NGO ‘crackdown’: US conveys its concern to India

After some of India’s prominent NGOs, including Ford Foundation and Greenpeace India, were accused of violating Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the United States has conveyed its concerns to India over a series of steps taken against various NGOs located in the country.

New Delhi-based US diplomats met government officials in the capital on July 6, and sought clarification on India’s Home Ministry’s action against these NGOs. India’s Ambassador to US Arun Kumar Singh had also apprised Union Home Secretary L C Goyal of the US’ concerns on July 4.

Ford Foundation and Greenpeace India’s headquarters are located in the US. Ford Foundation was accused of funding political party and profit-making companies, which led to this NGO coming under the Home Ministry’s “watch list”. Greenpeace India, on the other hand, was involved in anti-government activities, causing suspension of its FCRA licence. The home ministry emphasised that all NGO and donors needed to work within the established framework.

Recently, US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma had said that the US officials were in talks with Indian officials on the ongoing issue.

“We had a very good dialogue with the government. It is an important issue. Both of our countries have such a rich tradition of a robust civil society. We collectively need our civil society for all the work they do in literacy, health and education. It is vitally important for India and the US. It is also important that NGOs be legally compliant,” Mr Verma had said.

Earlier, India’s Home Ministry had taken actions against several NGOs, including Greenpeace India, and cancelled applications of over 10,000 NGOs in the country. The ministry had put Ford Foundation under the “watch list” for violating provisions of FCRA.

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