The Indian branch of Save the Children loses permit to receive foreign funds
The permit allowed NGOs to raise funds from foreign sources to help the most disadvantaged groups in the country. In recent years, scores of NGOs have lost this permit. Last year, Save the Children was criticised by a government ministry for its fundraising campaign on malnutrition. Now Sister Dorothy Fernandes asks, who “will take care of the children”.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – After Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Save the Children has lost its permit to receive foreign funding under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), following a decision by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Indian branch of the humanitarian organisation founded in the United Kingdom in 1919 is known as Bal Raksha Bharat. Since 2008 it has been present in at least 16 Indian states, providing health and educational services to children in disadvantaged areas.
Its fundraising campaign on malnutrition came under fire last year. India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development objected to it, claiming that it was already “vigorously” involved in this area.
The FCRA permit is essential to obtain funds from abroad. In recent years, scores of NGOs have failed to have their permit renewed.
As of this morning, Save the Children is no longer on the list of organisations with a valid FCRA permit; the latter is regularly updated on the Ministry of Home Affairs website.
“We are pained and upset that so many NGOs lost their FCRA (permit); this is a matter of great concern," said Sister Dorothy Fernandes, speaking to AsiaNews.
For the woman religious, who is a social activist working with marginalised communities in Patna, a city in the northeastern state of Bihar, “This is really a bad move.”
Now “the question that comes up is who will take care of the children who need help and support. Why does the government, which realises that different groups are needed to help the marginalised living on the margins, take away from them the support that safeguards their dignity?"
For the Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Indian rules should help correct violations, but such aggressive policies benefit no one. We should facilitate, not obstruct.”