India Takes Action Against Greenpeace, May Outlaw Foreign Funding

  • Date: 14/06/14
  • Aman Sharma & Bhavna Aurora, Economic Times of India

All set to take action against Greenpeace India, the ministry of home affairs served a show cause notice to the international NGO on Friday asking why its permission to get foreign funding under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA) should not be withdrawn. At least ten more NGO’s could receive similar notices within a week.

Greenpeace, a NGO working on environment issues, has been in the centre of controversy with a Intelligence Bureau (IB) report indicting it for fuelling anti-nuclear agitations and adversely effecting Indian economy. A senior MHA official told ET the evidence against Greenpeace was foolproof and it would be difficult for the organisation to defend itself.

At least 10 more NGO’s will be sent notices under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 by the Union Home Ministry by next week, asking them to explain their funding and spending pattern as a “stricter fund monitoring” regime for NGO’s is set to kick in and a “review is already underway” after the IB has raised an alert, a ministry official said.

The NGO’s facing the heat would include six NGOs involved in opposing genetically modified organisms and certain NGO’s in the North-East in touch with Dutch NGO Cordaid. An earlier IB report had named Cordaid role in agitations that led to the Home Ministry withdrawing Cordaid’s permission to get foreign funding.

A similar action is expected against Greenpeace. A recent Home Ministry report dated December 6, 2013 said the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The stricter regime against NGOs would involve immediate measures to ensure registered NGO’s file their statutory annual returns to the government. The review initiated at the Home Ministry has shown that nearly half the registered NGOs under FCRA – 20,825 out of the 43,527 to be precise – did not file annual returns with the central government which contain details of foreign receipts and utilization.

“This is a matter of grave concern and will be rectified soon under a stricter regime,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

A Home Ministry official said Greenpeace was also sent a questionnaire two months ago, asking the NGO to explain its funding and operations. This was part of an ongoing exercise at IB to study the role of NGO’s post the anti-nuclear protests at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. This inquiry revealed certain alleged irregularities on part of Greenpeace.

Economic Times of India, 14 June 2014