The Home Ministry has come up with new rules for the NGOs to receive foreign funds, which makes it mandatory for the employees and key functionaries and members of NGOs to declare before the government that they were not prosecuted or convicted for converting anyone from one faith to another.

The notification from the Home Ministry announced the changes in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011, which includes that individuals receiving personal gift valued up to Rs 1 lakh need not inform the government about it anymore. Earlier, gifts of the amount of Rs 25,000 or more had to be declared.

The government notification says that it mandatory for every key member of the NGO “office bearers and key functionaries and members” to certify that they have not been “prosecuted or convicted” for “conversion” from one faith to another and for creating “communal tension and disharmony.”

Earlier, only the applicants such as directors who were seeking permission to receive foreign contribution were required to make such a declaration.

The additional rule says that every member of an NGO must also now, under oath, through an affidavit, certify that they have never been involved in “diverting” foreign funds or propagating “sedition” or “advocating violent means”. This new declaration is applicable to all the members of an NGO as compared to earlier rule where only the applicant of an NGO used to give this declaration.

There have been a few more modifications in the FCRA, 2011, like in case of medical emergency during a visit to foreign country; the acceptance of any hospitality abroad has to be intimated to the government within a month of such receipt. The recipient should give full details like the source, approximate value in Indian rupees and the purpose and manner in which it was used.

Earlier, these details were needed to be submitted within two months as compared to one month time period stipulated now.

The Narendra Modi government, has over the past five years, tightened rules and procedures to receive and utilise foreign contribution by Non Governmental Organisations. Nearly 18,000 NGOs bore the brunt as they were allegedly found violating the rules of FCRA.