Parliament Passes Bill To Regulate Funds Received As Foreign Funds

Centre Notifies Act To Regulate Funds Received As Foreign Contributions

Two days after the Lok Sabha gave its approval, the Rajya Sabha too on Wednesday passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 by virtue of a voice vote after discussion. The Bill was moved by Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, in the Upper House of Parliament. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on September 21.

“The FCRA is a law for national and internal security. Its main motive is to ensure that foreign funds do not dominate the political and social discourse of India,” Rai said as the Rajya Sabha discussed the Bill. He said that the Bill proposed to make the Aadhaar Card for Indian, and passports or OCI paper for international citizens, mandatory in order to verify their identity, adding that the Home Ministry had consulted the UIDAI and MEITY before proposing this move.

“Experience says that many organisations attempted to hide their identity and were successful in doing that. The reason behind this is that they had no fear because their identity was not established completely. So Aadhaar card has been brought in to establish their identity,” Rai said.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, V Muraleedharan, announced that the Centre has decided to recommend the adjournment of the House sine die on Wednesday. “I have to inform members that the government has decided to recommend adjournment of the House sine die today. But some important legislative business passed by Lok Sabha has to be disposed of before adjournment of the House sine die,” Muraleedharan told the Rajya Sabha.

Highlights of the FCRA Bill, 2020:

  1. It regulates the acceptance and utilization of foreign funding by individuals, associations, and companies. 
  2. Foreign funding is the donation or transfer of any currency, security, or article by a foreign source.
  3. The Bill amends the earlier Act and prevents the transfer of foreign funding to any other person.
  4. The Bill reduced the limit of usable foreign contribution from 50% to 20%, which means anyone who receives foreign funding, cannot use more than 1/5th of the amount to meet administrative expenses.
  5. The renewal of license every six months will be subject to a government inquiry to ensure the person putting in the application (a) is not fictitious, (b) not convicted for triggering communal tension, and (c) is not guilty of diversion of funds
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