CORDAID: Netherlands NGO funded Anna Hazare & Kejriwal and anti-national activities?
CORDAID, a Netherlands NGO is accused of having given funds to some Indian NGOs who are working for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is responsible for many human rights abuses in Kashmir valley and the North Eastern States.
The Reserve Bank of India has circulated an order to all banks in India that they have to inform it if they notice any transfer of funds from CORDAID to local NGOs. According to media reports,CORDAIDis also held responsible for partly funding the India Against Corruption trust headed by social activist Anna Hazare and his erstwhile colleague Arvind Kejriwal.
Read also: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120722/j ... IpQJIZSSK0
Netherlands NGOs have been suspected by the government to have funded anti-India activities. Oxfam-NOVIB for instance was believed to be asked to leave the country. Currently OXFAM-NOVIB is the largest donor of OXFAM India whose CEO unbelievably claimed to Sushini Hader in CNNIBN news programme that they are a local NGO.
HIVOS, another Netherlands based NGO is widely suspected in NGO circles to openly fund Naxalite activities in the country, particularly in Andhra. They are suspected to also fund Kejriwal agitation though what action the government has taken against them is not known. The NGO of Sastry, Dean of IIM-Bangalore, another a supporter of Kejriwal is funded big by HIVOs and Ford Foundation who also incidentally funds Kejriwal's NGO Kabir.
We do not know whether the government is keeping a tight eye on funding by other Netherlands based NGOs like ICCO etc Here are extracts of a John Dayal article in Facebook entitled India Chokes NGOs:
After arbitrarily cancelling as many as 4,300 FCRA permits – on specious arguments that their addresses could not be verified -- the Union government is now issuing orders virtually banning some European and US funding agencies from the country. Indian groups have been told they need to take prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which also controls the intelligence agencies and some central police forces, before they can submit their projects to funding agencies named in the government’s prohibitory list...
Authoritative sources in the government say several other European charities, specially from the Scandinavian countries, are also on the government’s radar, as are many Indian NGOs with whom they have had relationship in the past.
The NGOs affected by the government withdrawing their FCRA permits have protested, but only a few of them have had the precious license restored. In a few other cases including some high profile advocacy groups, permission has been given for them to operate their bank accounts for payment of essential services, but they cannot withdraw any money in cash.
Mr. Sanjay Patra, a highly respected transparency expert heading the Financial Management Services Foundation, there is no reason for the government’s paranoia, as there are several other laws on the books to check any misuse of funds, or diversion of money to terrorism on insurrectionist activities. Mr. Patra is also a leading light of the Voluntary Associations Network of India [VANI], which provides an interface with the government.
VANI is now engaging with the government to get the FCRA licenses restored for the NGOs that have fallen foul of the authorities. VANI is also urging the government to change provisions in the FCRA rules that make it mandatory for all NGOs to seek a renewal of their permissions every five years instead of the earlier permanent ones. Anyway, money received from foreign charities under FCRA rules can be used only in designated activities and cannot be diverted to other areas.
Of the more than two million NGOs registered in the country those registered under FCRA are 38436. Of them, 21508 Associations reported a total receipt of an amount of Rs. 10,337.59 crore [about US Dollars 195 million] as foreign contribution. Many have FCRA permits but actually do not get any funds from abroad.
The government says the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing, and therefore requires some form of policing of their funds and activities. But it has not been able to adduce any real evidence indicting the NGOs or linking them with terrorist or other unlawful groups other than in political rhetoric. According to government data, list of donor countries is headed by the USA (Rs. 3105.73 crore) followed by Germany (Rs. 1046.30 crore) and UK (Rs. 1038.68 crore).
Some organisations which lost their FCRA registration
Catholic Health Association of India
Habitat for Humanity
Terres de Homes
Heifer Project India Trust
Hindustan Latex Foundation
Jamia Milia Islamia
Jawaharlal Nehru University
NGOs are angry and hurt especially with a clause that almost bans dissent and protest saying these are political. And political organizations are not allowed to receive foreign funds.
Says Mathew Cherian who heads Helpage India and was part of a study on NGOs with IRMA recently: Letters sent to NGOs returned and this also led to cancellations. There could be cases of fake NGOs here but many of them were genuine cases of addresses being changed. Besides no NGO received a notice before cancellations as the rules specify
Human rights NGOs faced the brunt of most of this action, and probably they were the real target, he says.
The new rules makes it difficult to dissent and yet receive foreign support. These classify all agitations, rail rokos, and jail bharos as political action and not allowed for NGOs. So about 30 NGOs in Tamil Nadu had their accounts frozen at the peak of the Kudankulam agitation.
NGOs are not keeping quiet either. Insaf an NGO has filed a case in the Supreme Court challenging the FCRA Rules saying that these threaten the fundamental right to association.
Says Anil Chaudhury of Insaf:
''It is the duty of NGOs to express dissent. And many of us cannot function without monetary support. If it is taken away I would just close down. So it is the best way to gag me.’’