Foreign Contributions running the conversion machinery in India

Rohini Verma

FCRA 2010 is a national security legislation to regulate the acceptance and utilization of Foreign Contribution (FC). As defined in Section 2(1)(h) of FCRA, 2010, “foreign contribution” means the donation, delivery or transfer made by any foreign source to any India based organisation.

A donation, delivery or transfer of any article, currency or foreign security by any person who has received it from any foreign source, either directly or through one or more persons, shall be deemed to be foreign contribution. FCRA is meant to ensure that foreign contribution is received from legitimate sources and utilised for legitimate purposes.

Acceptance of foreign contribution without obtaining registration or prior permission from the Central Government constitutes an offence under the Act and is punishable.

Foreign sources include:

  • Government of any foreign country and its agency
  • International agencies excluding UN and its specialized agencies
  • A corporation incorporated in foreign country
  • A foreign company
  • MNC, Trade unions
  • Foreign citizen, Society/ Club/ Association of individual formed/ registered outside India

There are certain categories of people who can not accept foreign funding. They include:

  • Candidate for election
  • Correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of registered newspaper
  • Judge, Government Servant or employee of any Body controlled or owned by the Govt
  • Member of any legislature including Panchayat
  • Political party or its office bearer
  • Association/ company engaged in production/ broadcast of audio/ audio visual news or current affairs programme through any mode of mass communication

The annual return in Form FC 6 should reflect the FC received in the exclusive bank account and include the details in respect of the funds transferred to other bank accounts for utilization. There is penalty for non firnishing of the annual return by NGOs, etc.

Misuse of funds:

In 2014 the good times became over for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in ‘mysterious’ sectors like participatory democracy, advocacy, action research, innovative communication, inclusiveness etc. Foreigners Division under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), tightened the noose around such NGOs. Some NGOs also came under the scanner for their involvement in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Around 43,527 NGOs are registered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to receive foreign grants. The latest intelligence reports mention that “foreign funding is used to influence public opinion, raising hype over labour and human rights issues and promoting alienation in J&K and North-eastern states.”

In 2011-12, Rs 539 crore was received as foreign funding by the NGOs for research work and over Rs 2,000 crore was wired in the country for the fields which are not even mentioned under 55 categories of social and cultural welfare work listed to get the FCRA licence.

An MHA annual report says that the highest amount of foreign contribution (Rs 2,253.61 crore) was received and utilised for “activities other than those mentioned in the category list.” Rs 148.96 crore was received for seminars, workshops and meetings while Rs 122 crore was moved for maintenance of religious preachers. Over 21,000 NGOs registered under the FCRA openly flouted the norms and did not file their annual returns for 2011-12. The NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terror financing.

India is also facing threat from suspicious Chinese NGOs operating in Nepal bordering Indian villages. Under such circumstances presence of Pakistan’s ISI cannot be ruled out.

Role of NGOs in stopping development work:

An Information Bureau report has alleged that protests against development projects fuelled by certain foreign-funded NGOs have caused a loss of 2 to 3 per cent to India’s GDP. It also named a string of NGOs including Greenpeace India, Cordaid, Amnesty and ActionAid as those fuelling such protests through a network of local organizations such as Narmada Bachao Andolan. These NGOs have been sponsoring agitations against nuclear and coal-fired power plants across the country. The IB report also raised questions over nearly $40,000 deposited in two bank accounts of S P Udayakumar, convenor of People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy that has been at the forefront of the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear project. Six NGOs are at the forefront of anti-GM Food activism in India, with Germany being the main source of funds.

Getting money in personal accounts:

Many NGOs are flouting norms by receiving remittances in personal accounts instead of their designated FCRA account. As per the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, all foreign contributions must be remitted to designated FCRA account.

The four US-based NGOs – Avaaz, Bank Information Centre, Sierra Cluba and 350.org – were found to be remitting foreign funds to personal accounts instead of the designated FCRA account. The New York-based Avaaz works on public issues. Bank Information Centre (BIC) is an Washington-based NGO that tracks World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded projects worldwide, with a special focus on coal and energy projects in India. 350.org, also based in New York, works on climate-change while Sierra Club of California has been opposing coal imports from Australia for Indian thermal plants.

Dubious NGOs banned from receiving foreign funds:

This year the government has blacklisted 69 NGOs from receiving foreign funds. Among those NGOs which were prohibited from receiving the foreign funds include 14 from Andhra Pradesh, 12 from Tamil Nadu, five each from Gujarat and Odisha, four each from Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala and three from Delhi. The government put Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation under scanner and made it mandatory for them to take permission from home ministry before pumping any funds in India.

Shocking figures and their use:

It is to be noted that in the last decade, more than Rs 85,000 crore has come in for the NGO sector from global patrons. Out of the registered NGOs with the government, at least half do not file proper accounts with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

As per a report published by the Home ministry for the year 2011-12, there were 41,844 registered associations under the FCRA and some 22,702 NGOs reportedly received Rs 11,546 crore as foreign contributions.

As compared to 2004-05, the amount received in 2011-12 was up by 85 percent (from Rs 6,257 crore to Rs 11,546 crore) and their number 38 percent (from 30,321 to 41844).

A total of Rs 1,16,073 crore was received by the NGOs between 1993-94 to 2011-12. Only about 55% NGOs gave audited account.

The top most donor is the United States followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.

Money for Missionaries:

Here, the important point is that the top donors are church-based organisations such as Compassion International USA followed by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, USA and the Kindernothilfe e.V. (KNH) Germany.

In India, over 90 percent of the top 30 recipient organizations are engaged in missionary activity. During the year 2011-12, 22702 Associations reported receipt of foreign contribution amounting to Rs. 11,546.29 crore. The highest amount of foreign contribution was received by:

– Christian organization namely World Vision India, Chennai (Rs 233.38 crore)

– Believers Church India Pathanamthitta, Kerala (Rs 190.05 crore)

– Indian Society Of Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, Delhi (Rs. 130.77 crore)

– Rural Development Trust, Ananthpur, Andhra Pradesh, (Rs 144.39 crore).

The large amounts of funds go to Christian organisations whose purpose is conversion.

Among the States and the Union Territories, the highest receipt of foreign contribution was reported by Delhi (Rs. 2285.75 crore), followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs. 1704.76 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs. 1258.52 crore).

Among the districts, the highest receipt of foreign contribution was reported by Chennai (Rs. 889.99 crore), followed by Mumbai (Rs. 825.40 crore) and Bangalore(Rs. 812.48 crore). For maintenance of priests / preachers / other religious functionaries 227 crores were received in 2011-12. For Religious schools / education of priests and preachers 208 crores were received.

From the analysis of the data for the last four years i.e. from 2008- 09 to 2011-12, it emerges that:

  1. a) The United States of America continues to be the biggest donor country.
  2. b) The National Capital Territory of Delhi has received the highest amount of foreign contribution.
  3. c) Among the recipient Associations, the World Vision of India, Chennai received the highest amount of foreign contribution.

Some important donors:

– Compassion International

– The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints

– Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, UK

– Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, USA

 

Among the top fifteen recipient associations for 2011-12 are:

  • World Vision Of India, Tamil Nadu, – 233.38 crores
  • Believers Church India, Kerala, – 190.05 crores
  • Indian Society Of Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, Delhi, – 130.77 crores
  • Aga Khan Foundation, Delhi, – 130 crores
  • Gospel For Asia, Kerala, – 81 crores
  • Compassion East India, West Bengal, – 71 crores
  • Missionaries of Charity and West Bengal. – 62.77 crores

In Feb. 2015 the Ministry of Home Affairs sent notices to over 700 NGOs, including one run by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia, for not submitting their annual returns.

Tuticorin Diocesan Association: Involved in the anti-Kudankulam agitation. Got Rs 19.18 crore in foreign contributions in the five years from 2008-09 to 2012-13, of which Rs 3.17 crore came from Germany, Rs 3.74 crore from Italy, and Rs 4.10 crore from France. Among the biggest donors was Secure Catholique of France, whose donations added up to Rs 3.92 crore

Greenpeace International: Has got FCRA registration on a Chennai address; received foreign contributions of Rs 32.93 crore between 2008-09 and 2012-13. Rs 30.20 crore came from Greenpeace’s Netherlands, Germany and Belgium chapters; over Rs 29 crore came from the Netherlands alone.

Links with militants and Maoists:

The Home Ministry report shows that more than Rs 10,000 crore was pumped into India during 2009-2010, mostly from the USA and Europe’s Christian organisations to NGOs in India. Many NGOs have links with organisations such as Students Islamic Movement of India and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Medecine Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, was reported thrice by the IB in 2008, 2010 and 2013 for links with Maoists. Many such NGOs are using the satellite phones the use of which is currently not licensed by the government of India.

Amnesty International India Foundation is critical of India’s human rights record since 1992, specifically criticizing police/army action in J&K and North East.

Erode-based Trinity Charitable Trust’s chief functionary started the organization in the premises of the church, which has 80 members of which 70 are converted. Its two trustees are converted Christians.

Church of Christ Mission in India based in Bilaspur in Chhatisgarh has registered its nature of work as ‘Religious (Buddhist), Cultural, Educational, Social.’ Similarly NGOS like Community Rural Orient Service Society (CROSS), Chaitanya Voluntary Service Organisation, Mercy Charitable Trust, Catholic Centre, Elisabeth Children’s Home, Integrated People’s Service Society and The Rosarian Sisters Trust have registered themselves as ‘Religious (Hindu)’ organisations.

Buying and selling of children:

Good Samaritan Evangelical and Social Welfare Association (GSEVSWA) is based in Andhra Pradesh. The organization aims to provide homes and education for orphan children and widows, as well as for families living in poverty. Most shocking fact found was involvement of the spiritual GSEVSWA and its founder Pastor Subbaiah in buying babies from a tribal group called the Lambadiand selling them to foreigners. Peter Subbaiah was arrested and placed in prison in 1999. Two women ‘social workers’ representing GSEVSWA were charged with buying Lambadi infants for relatively small sums ($15 to $45), and then receiving significantly larger sums ($220 to $440) from the orphanages for the children. 

Sponsoring Indian Media:

Gospels of Charity in Spain, Southern Baptist Church, World Christian Council, St. Peters Pontifical Church, Melbourne, Joshua Society, Berne, Switzerland are some of the sponsors which funds major Indian Media which ‘speaks for’ secularism and human rights in India. The funding for Christian mission agencies has shown a regular increase. Also, over 80 percent of the voluntary organizations receiving foreign funds are Christian Mission agencies. 

Christian population in India?

Christianity is India’s third largest religion, with approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent (according to the census) of India’s population. However, the Census does not take into consideration those who do not explicitly identify themselves as Christians.  Christians are found all across India and in all walks of life, with major populations in parts of South India, Goa and North East India.

There are different categories of Christians in India like Anglo Indian Christians, Christians from the upper castes, Christians from Dalit background, Christians from Tribal background, Secret followers of Christ, Yesu Bhaktas, Believers found in house churches, etc. If they all are combined then we will come to know that the actual Christian population in India is around 10% as against 3% in census data. The recognized Christian leaders in Bangalore have a consensus now that India is at least 25 percent Christian with some estimating even a higher percentage. Most of this growth has surfaced within the last 10 to 15 years and it covers both North India (which has been strongly resistant to the gospel) and South India. It would mean that India would have a total of approximately 300 million believers, about twice as many as China. India could well be the number one hot spot for the gospel. In India it is becoming more and more common for whole villages or other people groups to all decide to follow Jesus Christ together at one time.

According to Christianity Today, Operation Mobilization, one of India’s largest missionary groups, has grown to include 3,000 congregations in India, up from 300 in less than a decade. A hospital-based ministry in north India has seen 8,000 baptisms over the past five years after a decade of only a handful. There is massive scale of growth among Dalits. Somewhere between 70% and 90% of Christians in India are Dalits. According to such NGOs, “God is at work in India.”

Conversion or Coercion?

Some NGOs involved in conversion activities are actually getting money for distributing fellowships. They are actively promoting caste and religious divide. Most of the donors and most of the recipients are Christians who use the funds for converting people in lieu of money or food or jobs. Many NGOs are involved in religious conversion through inducement or force. Some are involved in creating communal tension or disharmony.

Many times people, who are poor and living in rural areas, face sickness of children or elderly in family. They can not pay the cost of treatment. However, says the kindly health care worker, you can get the treatment free of charge. All you have to do is renounce your centuries-old traditions and convert to a foreign religion. Such offers are made to desperate people in the villages and tribal areas of India. Even Hindus feel grateful for the good work done by some missionaries like in field of education, medicine or giving jobs, etc. but now there is anger in people about a new breed of zealots, heavily financed by American fundamentalists. Their main targets are the impoverished and uneducated.

There are missionaries giving people temporary jobs in return for converting, and then threatening them with job loss if they reconvert to Hinduism. Many times people are told that their misfortune derives from their worship of Hindu deities, because the idols are real forms of the Devil.

Now, it is up to the government to ban funding of such organizations. Recently there were bans imposed on foreign funding of many Muslim organizations in Europe. India should take this example and ban such foreign funding which is drastically changing Indian demographics.

http://shankhnaad.net/india/national-security/item/239-foreign-contributions-running-the-conversion-machinery-in-india

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