TTD, Shirdi’s Saibaba Sansthan, Ramakrishna Mission also denied FCRA approval

The Ministry of Home Affairs has not said why their FCRA registration has not been renewed

Among the 6,000 NGOs that did not have their FCRA registration renewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently are also included the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the Ramakrishna Mission, and Shirdi’s Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST).

The famous Tirupati Venkateswara temple in Andhra Pradesh and the Ramakrishna Mission are registered as Hindu religious organisations, while the SSST falls under the “religious (others)” category of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

Registered associations can receive foreign contributions for social, educational, religious, economic and cultural purposes. FCRA registration is mandatory for receiving foreign funds.

The MHA did not comment on why the FCRA registration of the three religious associations has not been renewed. A few days ago, after reports emerged that the FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic religious congregation set up by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, had not been renewed, the MHA issued a statement on December 27 that it had refused to renew the organisation’s registration as “some adverse inputs were noticed”.

The Ministry asserted in an order on December 31 that NGOs that had had their request for renewal turned down would not be eligible to either receive or utilise the foreign contributions to their designated bank accounts.

According to an annual return filed by the TTD on December 22, 2021 for the financial year 2020-21, it had ₹13.4 crore in its designated foreign contribution bank account, of which ₹13.3 crore had been donated by foreign pilgrims who visited the temple.

The SSST filed its annual return on December 31, stating that it has over ₹5 crore in its foreign contribution account.

The Ramakrishna Mission registered in Maharashtra filed its return in July, declaring it had ₹1.3 crore in its designated foreign contribution bank account. The FCRA registration of other Ramakrishna Mission ashrams registered in West Bengal, Bihar and other parts of the country has also not been renewed.

A senior government official said that the NGOs that have not had their FCRA registration renewed may re-apply.

The registration of thousands of NGOs was up for renewal in 2020-21 and the earlier deadline of December 31, 2021 has been extended to March 31, 2022 as may applications are pending. An MHA official said last week that the Ministry had declined to renew the FCRA registration of 179 NGOs, while 5,789 associations did not apply for a renewal before the December 31 deadline. The extended deadline will only apply to NGOs that had applied before December 31 and their application had not been declined so far.

After the exercise, the number of active FCRA-registered NGOs is down from 22,762 to 16,907.

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