The government of India has changed their mind and now allows Nuns of Saint Mother Teresa, Missionaries of Charity to continue receiving foreign donations. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs on January 7, 2022 permitted the Missionaries of Charity religious order to continue receiving foreign funds under FCRA rules. In December the Order was worried when the Indian government's Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of the Missionaries of Charity (MC), was not renewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. In an official statement on 27 December, the MHA explained that “while considering the MoC's renewal application, some adverse inputs were noticed”. “In consideration of these inputs on record, the renewal application of MoC was not approved,” said the Ministry headed by Amit Shah.
Matters India reports that Christians in India on January 8 expressed relief and joy over the federal government decision to restore the Missionaries of Charity’s license to receive overseas funds. The “most welcome” news, says Sister Dorothy Fernandes, national secretary of the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace, an advocacy group for Catholic religious, responding to the official nod for renewing the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) certificate of the congregation founded by Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The federal Ministry of Home Affairs on January 7 restored the 71-year-old congregation’s registration, which is mandatory to receive donations from overseas.
Vatican News reported that the FCRA, first enacted in 1976, regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect the sovereignty, integrity and internal security of India or impact friendly relations with any foreign state and does not disrupt communal harmony. Applicable to all associations, groups and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations for social, educational, religious, economic and cultural purposes, it was amended in 2010 and 2015 with a slew of measures.
The FCRA registration is valid for 5 years and it can be renewed subsequently if they comply with all norms. Filing of annual returns in line with Income Tax rules, is compulsory. The registration for the MC was renewed as the United Kingdom Parliament was debating to seek to know if the British government had raised the issue of blocking of overseas funds of NGOs in India.
MC sisters delighted A spokesperson of the MC expressed delight at the restoration of the FCRA license. “We never expected that our registration could be cancelled but it happened,” Sunita Kumar told UCA News on Saturday. “We are happy that the restoration of our license happened without much delay,” she added.
An MHA official said on January 1 that the Ministry declined the renewal of the FCRA registration to 179 NGOs, while 5,789 associations did not apply for a renewal before the December 31 deadline. The deadline for those NGOs who had applied before December 31 and whose application was not rejected have been given an extension till 31 March. In West Bengal state, whose capital is Kolkata, where Mother Teresa founded her mission and congregation, there are 1,030 NGOs eligible to receive foreign donations. (Edited from Matters India and Vatican News)