The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), organisations associated with the Gandhi family, for alleged violations of the law.

 

What are the allegations against the RGF?

In June 2020, after the Congress party criticised the government over its handling of border issues with China in Ladakh, the BJP had said that the Congress had no moral right to talk about the security of the country after having accepted money from China.

 

About the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act

  • During the Emergency in 1976, the FCRA was enacted in response to concerns that foreign powers were interfering in Indian affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations.
  • The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and organisations in order for them to function in accordance with the values of a sovereign democratic republic.
  • In 2010, the FCRA was amended to consolidate the law on the use of foreign funds and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules (FCRR), 2011, were notified.
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which can prohibit the use of foreign funds for any activities detrimental to national interest.
  • The law was amended again in 2020, giving the government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and use of foreign funds by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

 

Salient features

  • The FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be —
      • Registered under the Act.
      • To open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi.
      • To utilise those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act.
      • To file annual returns and must not transfer the funds to another NGO.
  • The Act prohibits the receipt of foreign funds by —
      • Candidates for elections,
      • Journalists or newspaper and media broadcast companies,
      • Judges and government servants,
      • Members of legislature and political parties or their office-bearers, and
      • Organisations of a political nature.