FCRA Registation for NGOs
- 6,000 NGOs that did not have their FCRA registration renewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently
- NGOs included are Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the Ramakrishna Mission, and Shirdi’s Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST).
- The registration of thousands of NGOs was up for renewal in 2020-21.
- The Ministry had declined to renew the FCRA registration of 179 NGOs, while 5,789 associations did not apply for a renewal before the December 31 deadline.
- After the exercise, the number of active FCRA-registered NGOs is down from 22,762 to 16,907.
What is FCRA?
- The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act registration is mandatory for any NGO or association to receive foreign funds or donations.
How FCRA regulate NGO funding?
- FCRA regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect the internal security of the country.
- The Act, first enacted in 1976 was amended in the year 2010 and then 2020.
- Section 5 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 gives the Union government powers
- To declare an organization as being one of political nature
- Deny access to funds from sources abroad.
- FCRA is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Where is FCRA Applicable?
- The provisions of the Act apply
- To the territory of India,
- To citizens of India who may be outside India
- To companies or their branches outside India that are registered or incorporated in India.
The entities covered by the Act include an individual, a Hindu undivided family, an association, or a registered company.
Prior Reference Category
- It is mentioned under the act.
- It implies that to donate to such an NGO, a foreign donor has to take prior clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Latest 2020 amendments
- The amendments mandated that registered NGOs open a designated account in the main branch of the State Bank of India in the Capital in which the foreign contributions to their various causes would exclusively land.
- People criticized that this measure would be cumbersome for NGOs operating in rural India and far away from the Capital.
Definition of Foreign Contribution Under FCRA
- “Foreign contribution” under FCRA covers any “donation, delivery or transfer made by any foreign source of any article”
- As long as it is not given as a gift for personal use, or if its market value in India at the time it was made is “not more than such sum as may be specified from time to time by the Central government”.
- Any currency or security can fall under the ambit of the Act though it excludes any money received “by way of fee or towards cost in lieu of goods or services rendered by such person in the ordinary course of his business, trade or commerce whether within India or outside India”.
- Donations made by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are considered to be “foreign contributions” although a donation from a person of Indian origin who has assumed foreign nationality is treated as a “foreign contribution”.
Who Cannot Receive Foreign Contribution?
- A host of entities are barred from receiving foreign funds,
- Election candidates,
- Those connected with a registered newspaper,
- Government servants, or employees of any entity controlled or owned by the government
- Members of any legislature.
- Political parties and their office-bearer
Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO)
- The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) has dispatched troops.
- To help quell mounting unrest in Kazakhstan
- Many people were killed trying to storm government buildings.
Background of Kazakhstan issue
- Kazakhstan is facing its biggest crisis in decades after days of protests over rising fuel prices escalated into widespread unrest.
About Collective Security Treaty Organization
- It is an intergovernmental military alliance of six countries.
- It came into effect in 2002.
- Its’ origin can be traced to the Collective Security Treaty, 1992 (Tashkent Treaty).
- The headquarter is located in the Russian capital of Moscow.
- The objectives of the CSTO is
- to strengthen peace, international and regional security including cybersecurity and stability, the protection on a collective basis of the independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of the member states.
- Russian Federation
What does it mean to be a CSTO member?
- CSTO membership means that member states are barred from joining other military alliances, limiting, for example, their relationship with NATO.
- Membership presumes certain key security assurances – the most significant of which is deterring military aggression by third countries.
- In the CSTO, aggression against one signatory is perceived as aggression against all.
Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)
- Reserve Bank of India has released its list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) in 2021.
- It has identified the state-owned lender State Bank Of India and the private lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as systemically important banks, which are perceived as banks, ‘too big to fail’.
What are D-SIBs?
- The system of D-SIBs was adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis where the collapse of many systematically important banks across various regions further fueled the financial downturn.
- D-SIBs are important for the country’s economy.
- In events of distress, the government supports such banks and if such a bank fails, it would lead to disruption of the country’s overall economy.
- RBI finalizes such banks
- It considers factors like size, complexity, lack of substitutability, and interconnectedness of the banks, state reports.
How are D-SIBs determined?
- Since 2015, the RBI has been releasing the list of all D-SIBs.
- They are classified into five buckets, according to their importance to the national economy.
- In order to be listed as a D-SIB, a bank needs to have assets that exceed 2 percent of the national GDP.
- The banks are then further classified on the level of their importance across the five buckets.
What regulations do these banks need to follow?
- Due to their economic and national importance, the banks need to maintain a higher share of risk-weighted assets as tier-I equity.
- SBI, since it is placed in bucket three of D-SIBs, has to maintain Additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) at 0.60 percent of its Risk-Weighted Assets (RWAs).
Special Protection Group (SPG) Act
- The Centre is considering action under the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act against Punjab Police officers
- Due to an alleged breach in the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Punjab recently.
What happens to the officers?
- This could entail summoning the officers responsible to Delhi or instituting a central-level inquiry against them.
SPG Act on PM’s security
- Protocols are set by the SPG for the PM’s movement.
- Section 14 of the SPG Act makes the state government responsible for providing all assistance to the SPG during the PM’s movement.
Origin of SPG
- In March 1985, following the recommendations of a committee set up by the Home Ministry.
- A special unit was created for the purpose of PM security under the Cabinet Secretariat.
- This unit, initially called the Special Protection Unit, was renamed as Special Protection Group in April 1985.
- Subsequently, the Parliament passed The Special Protection Group (SPG) Act, which was notified in June 1988 “to provide for the constitution and regulation of an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and for matters connected therewith”.