The Regulation Suffocating Christian Ministries in India

Designed to monitor foreign funding, more recently FCRA has crippled numerous organizations. Is it intentional?

Christian ministries operating in India are continuing to lose the government’s authorization to legally collect foreign donations, in what is amounting to a devastating financial blow to many organizations.

This March, Vision India, an organization that provides leadership training for Christian young people, was unable to renew its Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) license.

“A week prior, the government conducted an enquiry, and a week later, refused the renewal,” said Vijay Mohod, director of Vision India.

The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi introduced the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) during the Emergency period in 1976, claiming there was foreign interference in domestic politics, and required organizations intending to receive foreign contributions to register with the Ministry of Home Affairs. The subsequent iterations in 2010 and 2011 made it stringent and required organizations to renew their FCRA licenses every 5 years among other new clauses and its most recent iteration, passed in 2020, and amended in 2022, makes it even more restrictive, requiring all FCRA organizations to have their FCRA accounts at one given branch in a specific Bank and prohibiting inter-organizational grants, among other clauses.

Theoretically, these five-year licenses are renewed based on the organization’s annual submission of reports detailing the foreign funds received and demonstrating they were properly utilized for their stated, approved purposes. However, as Christian ministries have failed to see their licenses renewed, some leaders have questioned if the government has an ulterior motive.

“So many organizations depend on foreign funding,” said archbishop Anil …

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