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Developmental Issues

The Union Home Ministry has amended certain rules related to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), allowing Indians to receive up to Rs. 10 lakh in a year from relatives staying abroad without informing the authorities. The earlier limit was Rs. 1 lakh.

In a notification, the home ministry also said that if the amount exceeds, the individuals will now have 90 days to inform the government, instead of 30 days earlier.

In a separate notification, the ministry made five more offences under the FCRA “compoundable” instead of directly prosecuting the organisations or individuals. Earlier, only seven offences under the FCRA were compoundable.

The new rules, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2022, were notified by the home ministry through a gazette notification on Friday night. “In the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011, in rule 6, for the words ‘one lakh rupees’, the words ‘ten lakh rupees’ shall be substituted; and for the words ‘thirty days’, the words ‘three months’ shall be substituted,” the notification said.

Rule 6 deals with intimation of receiving foreign funds from relatives. It stated earlier that “any person receiving foreign contribution in excess of one lakh rupees or equivalent thereto in a financial year from any of his relatives shall inform the Central Government within 30 days from the receipt”.

Similarly, making changes in rule 9, which deals with application of obtaining 'registration' or 'prior permission' under the FCRA to receive funds, the amended rules have given individuals and organisations or NGOs 45 days to inform the home ministry about the bank account(s) that are to be used for utilisation of such funds.

This time limit was 30 days earlier.

The government has also 'omitted' provision 'b' in rule 13, which dealt with declaring foreign funds .

Now, anyone receiving foreign funds will have to follow the existing provision of placing the audited statement of accounts on receipts and utilisation of the foreign contribution, including income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account, and balance sheet, within nine months of the closure of the financial year on its official website or on the website as specified by the Centre.

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