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Lok Sabha passes Bill to amend FCRA amid protest from Opposition

New Delhi: Lok Sabha passed a Bill on Monday to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act that seeks to make it mandatory for the office-bearers of an NGO to provide their Aadhaar numbers during registration.

Amid concerns raised by various Opposition members about the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the legislation was not against any religion or NGO. The Bill was passed after a debate.

Replying to the debate, Rai asserted the Bill will help in curbing misuse of foreign funds and was necessary for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).

Among other provisions, the Bill proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

Participating in the debate, Congress MP Anto Antony said an attempt was being made to "suffocate the NGOs" through this Bill. He claimed that the Bill was brought to target minorities, adding that all Christian charities are not indulging in conversion.

Stating that the amendments to the Bill were "ill-conceived", he made a plea to the government to not be in a hurry with the legislation.

BJP's Satya Pal Singh said many organisations receiving foreign contributions were not spending the money on the work it was meant for. He said that the money received as foreign contribution cannot be spent on terrorist activities.

Sougata Roy of the Trinamool Congress said there was "no need" for the Bill, stressing that when the Supreme Court has said Aadhaar is not compulsory then why is the government making it mandatory for registration of NGOs.

Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) attacked the government on limiting administrative expenses drawn from foreign donations to 20 per cent as against the current 50 per cent.

Mahua Moitra of Trinamool Congress said, "Why this hypocricy? Why go after small fry? You allowed political parties to receive foreign funds from Indian registered foreign companies through electoral bonds by retrospectively repealing a 1976 law."

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