Lok Sabha passes bill that restricts public servants from receiving foreign funds

The Lok Sabha on Monday evening passed a bill amending the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to make it mandatory for office bearers of any NGO to produce Aadhar cards during registration.

The bill proposes key changes in foreign funding rules in order to bring transparency and prevent misuse of the funds, MoS, Home Affairs Nityanand Rai informed Lok Sabha.

The Union Minister clarified that “FCRA is a national & internal security law to ensure that foreign funds shouldn’t affect national interests. Here transparency is the main aim.”

He said that the misuse of foreign funds will be prevented through the amendments.

The bill seeks to make Aadhar a mandatory identification document for all the office bearers, directors and other key functionaries of an NGO or associations, which are seeking funds from foreign sources. According to the bill, not more than 20 per cent of the total foreign funds received could be spent on administrative expenses.

Presently, the limit is 50 percent. The minister claimed that many NGOs use public funds for their personal use. The proposed amendments justify the step to cut administrative expenses from 50% to 20%.

The Bill proposes to enable the centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

The amendments also bar public servants and government-owned corporations from receiving any foreign contributions.

“Amendment of clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 3 to include “public servant” also within its ambit, to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any public servant,” the Bill says.