The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act FCRA has been revised by the Union Home Ministry to allow Indians to receive up to Rs.10 Lakh annually from relatives living abroad without telling the authorities. The earlier limit was Rs 1 lakh.
The Home Ministry also stated in a notification that instead of 30 days, the people will now have 90 days to notify the government if the cost surpasses that amount.
The Home Ministry published a gazette notification of the new regulations, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2022, on Friday night.
“In the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules, 2011, in rule 6, — for the words “One Lakh Rupees”, the words “Ten Lakh Rupees” shall be substituted; and for the words “thirty days”, the words “three months” shall be substituted,” the notification said.
The disclosure of receiving foreign funds from relatives is covered by Rule 6.
Before, it was written that “any person receiving foreign contribution from any of his relatives in excess of Rs 1 lakh or equivalent in a financial year shall report the Central Government details of funds within 30 days from the receipt of such contribution.”
Similarly, making changes in rule 9, which deals with application of obtaining ‘registration’ or ‘prior permission’ under the FCRA to receive funds, the amended rules have given individuals and organisations or NGOs 45 days to inform the Home Ministry about bank account that are to be used for utilisation of such funds. This time limit was 30 days earlier.
The Central Government has also ‘omitted’ provision ‘b’ in rule 13, which dealt with declaring foreign funds including details of donors, amount received, and date of receipt, etc., every quarter on its website.
Anyone receiving foreign funding under the FCRA will now need to abide by the existing requirement to post the audited statement of accounts on receipts and utilisation of the foreign contribution, including income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account, and balance sheet for each financial year beginning on the first of April, within nine months of the financial year’s end, on its official website or on the website as specified by the Center.
A requirement that an NGO or an individual receiving foreign donations required to disclose such contributions on its official website every three months has also been eliminated.
The home ministry now gives organisations receiving foreign funding 45 days instead of 15 days to notify it of changes to their bank account, name, address, goals, or key personnel.
The Home Ministry strengthened the FCRA regulations in November 2020, making it clear that NGOs that may not be directly affiliated with a political party but participate in political action such as bandhs, strikes, or road blockades will be regarded as having a political nature if they engage in active politics or party politics.
Government officials prohibited public employees from collecting foreign funds under the FCRA amendment, and they made Aadhaar a requirement for all NGOs’ office holders.
According to the new regulation, organisations that receive foreign funding are not permitted to use more than 20% of those cash for administrative needs. Before 2020, this percentage was capped at 50%. All NGOs that receive funding are required by law to register with the FCRA.