Published: 20th April 2021
#ThrowBackToday: When the government choked foreign funding for several NGOs
In today's #TBT, we take you back to the day when the Government of India started coming down hard on foreign funding for several non-for-profits in India and how it affected the latter really bad
On April 20, 2017, the Government of India came down hard on the Public Health Foundation of India, an organisation that works for public health, and blocked the New Delhi-based foundation from accepting any money from foreign donors. This was not an isolated case though. It was reported that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, over and above 11,000 NGOs lost their licenses to accept finances from abroad.
In the year 2015, Intelligence Bureau flagged down over 188 NGOs for misuse of funds and extremist links. Amnesty International India Foundation was accused of having links with Maoists, Peoples Education and Action For Liberation faced the music for campaigning against the Kudankulam nuclear plant and so on. The word was that India has over three million registered not-for-profits and by 2017, 6,600 organisations' licenses to accept foreign fundings were cancelled. As a result, there was a 40% overall decline in fund flows.
Of course, the NGOs spoke up and voiced their opinion that vague terms like 'national interest’ were being used to stifle their voice. For example, foreign funding of four NGOs opposing coal blocks was cancelled. They also accused the government of being intolerant of any form of dissent expressed.