NGOs avoiding 'core bank' format to dodge scrutiny
Tightening the rules for NGOs, the Home Ministry has asked as many as 5,845 organisations to open their accounts in banks having core banking facilities and furnish details for real time access to security agencies in case of any discrepancy. This is the latest in a series of steps taken by the NDA Government to check "errant" NGOs, especially those receiving foreign funding.
Under the core banking system, all branches of the networked banks are interconnected. This would allow the security agencies to access the accounts of NGOs on a real time basis, the sources said.
Registrations of more than 10,000 NGOs have been cancelled and more than 1,300 have been denied a renewal over the last three years for various violations. As of now, there are around 24,000 active NGOs in the country as against 40,000 in 2014-15.
In a communication, 3,768 NGOs have been told that their bank accounts are not available as per core banking format while 2,077 NGOs have been asked to furnish bank accounts details as no such data is available with the home ministry.
The move came after it was detected that many NGOs have their bank accounts in cooperative banks or state government- owned apex banks or banks which do not have core banking facilities, official sources said. The home ministry wants that all NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act mandatorily have their accounts in either nationalised banks or in a few private banks which have core banking facilities.
The government has already cancelled the registration of more than 10,000 NGOs in the last three years for alleged non-filing of annual returns as mandated in the FCRA. In addition, renewals of more than 1,300 NGOs have been denied or closed in recent past for allegedly violating various provisions of the FCRA.
In November, 2016, the government had directed more than 11,000 NGOs to file applications for renewal of registration by February 28, 2017.
Of the above, 3,500 NGOs have filed applications for renewal till February 2017. Registration of more than 7,000 NGOs were deemed expired due to non-filing of renewal applications.