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UK raises FCRA registration refusal to Oxfam with India

UK raises FCRA registration refusal to Oxfam with India

New Delhi: The issue of India's refusal to renew the registration of NGO Oxfam India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FRCA) has been raised by the United Kingdom in a bilateral meeting. The issue was discussed during the 4th India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue on February 2.

"The issue was raised by the UK. The representatives were explained about the law and how it works," an official of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said without providing any further details.

At midnight on December 31, 2021, the FCRA registration of Oxfam India along with 5,932 other NGOs lapsed. MHA sources said while 5,789 of these NGOs had not applied for renewal, the applications of the rest had been rejected due to "various irregularities". Oxfam India and Indian Medical Association (IMA) were among such NGOs.

During the UK-India meet, the Indian delegation was led by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, and the UK delegation was led by Permanent Secretary, Home Office, Mathew Rycroft.

"The Dialogue covered a wide range of issues including Homeland Security, Cyber Security, Extradition cases, Migration & Mobility, etc. India impressed upon the UK authorities the need to expedite the pending extradition cases," the MHA had then said in a statement.

"The Indian side communicated concerns on the anti-India activities of certain extremists and radical elements in the UK. The UK side was urged to maintain vigil over the activities of such elements and take appropriate proactive action. It was agreed to maintain enhanced security cooperation between the two countries," the statement added.

A day after the MHA refused to renew the registration of Oxfam India, the organisation said the action would hamper its humanitarian work in 16 states.

"The Government of India's decision to refuse renewal of Oxfam India's Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration will severely affect the organisation's ongoing crucial humanitarian and social work in 16 states across the country. This includes setting up of oxygen plants, providing lifesaving medical and diagnostic equipment such as oxygen cylinders and ventilators and delivery of food to the most vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 pandemic," Oxfam had said in a statement.

"Oxfam India has been working in public interest with the government, communities and frontline workers in the country for decades now. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Oxfam India joined hands with health departments, district administrations and ASHA workers across the nation to provide life-saving equipment and support. We are also working with various state governments to ensure bridging of the learning gap in school education due to Covid-19," Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, had said.

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