Ford Foundation to operate under FEMA; report to finance ministry

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Ford Foundation and the government have finally gotten somewhere on its long-standing tiff.

The government has decided to now allow the Ford Foundation to operate in the country under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), which means that the foundation will now report to the Finance Ministry, a report by Economic Times said. This is against the regular practice of NGOs reporting to the Home Ministry. However, the Ford Foundation will be required to report to the home ministry in cases where it receives foreign funding.

The Ford Foundation and the government have been in a logjam about the operational activities of the foundation in India, after nearly $540,000 was forwarded to Teesta Setlvad-run NGO Sabrang Trust and Sabrang Communication & Publishing.
This also spiralled into a CBI inquiry against Teesta Setlavad after she received funds from the Foundation which flouted the rules, according to the home ministry.

In April last year, the government put Ford Foundation on its watch-list, endangering diplomatic relations with the US over the NGO headquartered in New York.

Invoking section 46 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, the Foreigners’ division of the union home ministry asked the Reserve Bank of India to “instruct all banks to ensure that any fund flow from Ford Foundation to any person, NGO, organisation may be brought to the notice of the ministry and that the funds are allowed to be credited into the accounts of the recipient only after the ministry’s clearance.”

The circular also said any instance of a government organisation receiving funds directly from this agency should be brought to the notice of the home ministry and would be subject to clearance.

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