The government has cancelled the foreign funding licence of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a top public health NGO that works on issues ranging from HIV and tobacco control and counts among its investors the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Indian Express reported.
The move comes in the wake of an allegation by the RSS-backed Swadeshi Jagran Manch that claims the NGO is part of a nexus between the Gates Foundation and big pharma and its influence on policy making in public health.
The Union Home Ministry cancelled the NGO's license under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act that governs which organisations can receive foreign funding. PHFI is headed by public health veteran K Srinath Reddy, and focuses on assisting centre and state governments to strengthen training, research and policy development in public health. It was launched in 2006 by former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Since coming into power, the Modi government has led a relentless campaign against NGOs and as of December, it had cancelled the license of 20,000 out of 33,000 NGO for violating FCRA laws, banning them from receiving foreign funds.