Modi Govt just delivered a massive blow to the ‘Conversion Factories’ in India

The larger population of India had been the reason behind many NGOs pop up in the name of social service.

Agendas such as education, poverty, social equality, and culture, with crore of rupees flowing down through donations, many of these NGOs have been involved in various activities which jeopardizes the national interest.

The FCRA(Foreigners Contribution Regulation Act) was put in place with an amendment in 2010.

The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010 is an act of the Parliament of India. It is a consolidating act whose scope is to,

“regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies, and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith”

Tightening this Foreigners Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) norms, the Union home ministry of Modi government on Monday said that,

Each functionary and member of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) seeking registration under FCRA will have to file an affidavit declaring that the individual has not been involved in any act of religious conversion or prosecuted for communal disharmony.

Another modification says, “In case of emergency medical aid during a visit abroad, the acceptance of foreign hospitality has to be intimated to the government within 30 days instead of 60 days as earlier.”

Modi government has been blamed for its crackdown on the illegal NGOs which were operational till 2014.

But the fact is from 2010-2013 there had been cancelation of license of various NGOs including the two which belonged to Teesta Setalvad. But UPA Government did not pay much attention to the flow of funds to NGOs and their activities.

After 2014 based on reports by Intelligence agencies, government initiated serious crackdown on these NGOs.

It was found that while some NGOs were working in the country to promote religious conversion, many were also involved in flaring up communal tension.

Around 18 foreign donors had been identified who have been constantly funding these NGOs. As per the details available, two each donors had been identified from the US, South Korea and Europe.

The NGOs believed to be involved in conversion were active in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

According to a Home Ministry report, a whooping amount of Rs 12,980 crore reached NGOs from the foreign donors in 2013-14, out of which some part was meant for religious conversion.

In 2017 a total of 69 NGOs were blacklisted by the government from receiving foreign funds.

The government had also identified 128 organizations across the country, operating on behalf of the Communist Party of India-Maoist that’s spearheading the Naxal movement in India. After the centre interference, the state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh banned many of these organizations.

What effect did these crackdowns had?

Conversion lobby started closing thie operations after FCRA crackdown, Evangelists  were rendered jobless.

The Union Government’s massive crackdown on foreign funding of illegal non-profit organisations had resulted in the retreat of several evangelical organisations which were engaged in forced religious conversions in South India, especially in Kerala.

With fund flows declining, according to local Malayalam newspapers, hundreds of the pastors who led conversion drive for money, had withdrawn themselves from the ‘service’.

There was a huge decline in the number of prayer meetings which were used to be held on the roadsides. The crisis came after the pastors stopped receiving their monthly income from the foreign countries in the form of aid.

Millions of rupees had been pouring into the accounts of evangelical churches until 2014.

According to a report by a foreign consultancy Bain & Co., the FCRA crackdown has resulted in a massive 40 per cent decline in fund flows from external sources in the four years.

Following the MHA decision, the Believers Church and three of its affiliates — Ayana Charitable Trust (formerly Gospel for Asia India), Love India Ministries and Last Hour Ministry, had lost their FCRA registrations in 2017.

Founded by K P Yohannan, the Believers Church was the biggest evangelical mission in Kerala, whose associated organisations had received Rs 1,348.65 crore as foreign aid in 2016.

Ayana Charitable Trust (formerly Gospel For Asia) was the single largest recipient of foreign aid in the country as it received Rs 826.27 crore. Believers Church had received Rs 342.64 crore, Last Hour Ministry Rs 103.51 crore and Love India Ministries Rs 76.23 crore during 2016.

As many as 4,800 such fraudulent NGOs lost their licenses in 2017 alone.

Some of these NGOs also diverted the foreign funds to arrange massive protests against the ruling government. Managing parties of these NGOs were writing derogatory articles on India in the foreign newspapers.

Now by bringing the much needed amendment to the FCRA, the Modi government has delivered a massive blow to these NGOs involved in religious conversions and anti national activities.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth