For NGOs to receive foreign funds, all their employees and officials have to declare to the government that they were not prosecuted or convicted for religious conversions, according to new rules put out by the home ministry.
A government notification on Monday also announced changes to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules 2011, which include that individuals need not declare personal gifts worth up to Rs. 1 lakh anymore. Earlier, gifts valued at more than Rs. 25,000 had to be declared.
The notification makes it mandatory for “office bearers and key functionaries and members” of an NGO to certify that they have not been “prosecuted or convicted” for “conversion” from one faith to another and for creating “communal tension and disharmony”.
Earlier, only directors or the top official seeking permission to receive foreign funds were required to make such a declaration.
Also, from now, not just the applicant but every member of the NGO must pledge that they have never been involved in “diverting” foreign funds or propagating “sedition” or “advocating violent means”.
The new rules also make it clear that in case of any medical emergency during a visit abroad, the government has to be informed about foreign hospitality to an NGO member within a month. The member has to give details like the source of funds, the approximate value in Indian rupees, the purpose and the manner in which the money was used.
Earlier, these details could be given within two months.
Over the past five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has tightened rules and procedures for NGOs receiving foreign funds.
Permission to receive foreign contribution was taken away from nearly 18,000 NGOs for allegedly violating rules.