Adhering to a ‘compassionate’ plea by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to waive restrictions imposed on a U.S.-based NGO, Compassion International, the Centre has decided to allow the agency to fund ten NGOs in India.
This move comes months after the Compassion International was put on the home ministry’s watch list after security agencies reported that it was funding Indian NGOs involved in religious conversions, The Hindu reported.
During his visit to India in September, John Kerry had expressed concerns over the over the government decision with external affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The Union Home Ministry had placed Compassion International under the prior referral category on 28 March, cancelling its ability to transfer funds directly to NGOs in the country, said the Hindu in its report
Kerry’s request was at the highest level at which the NGO issue was ever taken up bilaterally.
Following Kerry’s appeal, the External Affairs Ministry had reportedly written to the Home Ministry and asked the latter to reconsider its decision
We are not removing Compassion International from our watch list; we are only allowing some NGOs to receive funds from them. Each application will be scrutinised before the money is disbursed to themHome Ministry official as quoted in the Hindu
Another senior home ministry official said the Compassion International had sought permission to fund around 250 Indian NGOs this financial year.
Curiously all the 250 NGOs Compassion wants to fund are Christian NGOs. We have done our investigations and found that several of them were using these funds to convert people to Christianity. Following this, we decided to place it under scrutinyHome Ministry official
Before Kerry’s interference, three U.S. Congressmen and a Senator from Colorado, where the NGO is headquartered, had written a letter to the Indian Embassy in Washington and copied to the Prime Minister, saying the decision to put funding for the Christian advocacy group on a “prior referral” basis was crippling the NGO’s working.
There are 21 foreign donors under the government’s scanner right now. Of these, eight were put under the prior-permission category during UPA. When the NDA came to power, Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licenses of around 10,000 NGOs were cancelled.