NEW DELHI — The government has cancelled licenses of 4,470 non-governmental organizations (NGO) today. The list of such NGOs include several reputed universities, Supreme Court Bar Association and the Escorts Heart Institute.
The move will prevent them from receiving funds from foreign countries. The Union Home Ministry decided on this course of action after concluding that they had not filed their annual returns regularly, among other anomalies.
All associations were given notices by the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry with adequate time to reply before their FCRA licences were cancelled, official sources said.
Prominent organisations whose FCRA licences were cancelled include Panjab University, Chandigarh, Gujarat National Law University, Gargi College, Delhi, Lady Irwin College Delhi, Vikram Sarabhai Foundation and Kabir, floated by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
In the last round of the crackdown, licences of nearly 9,000 NGOs were cancelled in April last for alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
Action against NGOs came into focus in January, when Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a London-bound flight by immigration officers in New Delhi airport. She was on her way to address British parliamentarians over environmental issues in India.
The Delhi High Court later overturned the action by the Home Ministry and Pillai's "offload" passport stamp was expunged in May.
The government then blocked Greenpeace India's bank accounts in April, following which the environmental group had to seek interim relief from the Delhi High Court. The same month, the government said that funds coming from the US-based Ford Foundation should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without mandatory permission from the Home Ministry.
On Saturday, a crisis response campaigner with Greenpeace International, Aaron Gray-Block, was denied entry into India as his name figured in a Home Ministry "black list".
(With agency inputs)