NEW DELHI -- Three American grant-giving organisations are on the Indian government's "watch-list", and will have to get clearance from the Indian home ministry before providing any funds to NGOs here, reported The Times of India.
These include the Open Society Foundation (OSF), World Movement for Democracy (WMD), and National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Unnamed sources told TOI that these NGOs have been put under MHA's "prior permission category" after they gave funds to an "unregistered NGO". HuffPost India has reached out to all three organisations for a response.
These three grant providers are the latest in a growing list of foreign funders who are under the Indian government's "prior permission" list. The 15 other foreign aid organisations in this list include Greenpeace International and Ford Foundation, among others.
The OSF's mission statement is "to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people." It has given grants across the world in areas of public health, business development, and education, among others. It was started by philanthropist George Soros "to help countries make the transition from communism".
Meanwhile, WMD comprises a global network of activists, practitioners, scholars, policy makers, and funders who come together "to advance democracy". According to the organisation's website, "Participants actively engage in or support struggles to open closed societies, challenge dictatorships, democratize semi-authoritarian systems, consolidate emerging democracies, and reform and invigorate established democracies both old and new."
The NED operates on similar lines, giving grants to individuals and organisations to help with "the growth and strengthening" of democracies across the world.
Earlier last month, the US ambassador to India Richard Verma said that the government's crackdown on NGOs would have a "chilling effect" on civil society.
"I read with some concern the recent press reports on challenges faced by NGOs operating in India," Verma told journalists. "Because a vibrant civil society is so important to both of our democratic traditions, I do worry about the potentially chilling effects of these regulatory steps focused on NGOs."
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