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Suspicious IT Searches Under The Blanket Of Surveys?

Source- Hindustan Times

September 13 20Income Tax Generic 0 1200x76822/ Vanshika Pandey

Centre for Policy Research, Oxfam India, and the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation had quite an unpleasant Wednesday this week, as their offices were “surveyed” to get hold of any suspicious activities regarding financial transactions. The former two organizations have their offices in Delhi while the latter has its office in Bengaluru.  

In response to these surveys, the CPR officials released a statement which said that they are quite confident on their functioning and have fully complied by their mission of providing rigorous research to policy making in India. All the agencies fully cooperated in the searches and questioning. The reasons for such an action were not clarified which limits the scope of these surveys. The underlying reasons are said to be allegations of violations in funding, which brings into picture the act which has been into quite a lot of controversy in the previous as well as this year, the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. 

Now the question arises, what is FCRA? Foreign donations are regulated by the FCRA, which ensures that they do not jeopardize national security. The registration is valid for five years at first, after which it can be renewed if all requirements are met. Foreign contributions for social, educational, religious, economic, and cultural reasons are permitted for registered organizations. 

 Earlier Oxfam India came into the limelight when it was denied FCRA license under the new guidelines of the FCRA act. The reason for license refusal was given that it did not fulfil the eligibility criteria as specified in the Act and the related rules. Licenses of around 6000 such organizations were not renewed either because they failed to apply to the Home Ministry before the due date or because the Ministry rejected their application. Earlier it was alleged that the FCRA has become a weapon in the hands of the Modi government to curb dissent. Defending the amendments, the government said that the changes in the law were necessary to prevent malpractices and diversion of funds by NGOs and claimed that some foreign state and non-state actors take up activities that amount to interference in the internal polity of the country with ulterior motives. The government had said that “genuine NGOs need not shy away” from any regulatory compliance mandated under the FCRA 2010. 

It is asserted that the survey is part of a probe to ascertain if there was any violation of the FCRA by the three entities.

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