File account return online or face penal action: MHA to NGOs
All NGOs receiving foreign funds will have to compulsorily file their account details online failing which they will face penal action, the Ministry of Home Affairs said this in a recent directive. The move is aimed at checking misuse of foreign funding by voluntary organisations.
"All persons who are either registered or have been granted prior permission to receive foreign contribution, are once again advised to file their annual return for the
financial year 2014-15 onwards online and it is informed that hard copy, if received, will not be accepted and treated as 'not received'. All such persons will be liable for consequential penal action under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 and rules made thereunder," the Ministry said.
The Ministry has discontinued submission of hard copies of such returns by the NGOs and will only accept details filed online. The Centre had, on Tuesday, faced some tough questions from the Supreme Court for failing to evolve a regulatory mechanism to monitor thousands of crore worth of funds of over 32 lakh NGOs, societies and voluntary organisations.
The court said, “public money cannot go unaccounted” and “those misappropriating it must be prosecuted”.
As per new rules, any person, who receives foreign funds, has to submit digitally-signed report electronically with scanned copies of income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account and balance sheet for every financial year beginning on April 1, within nine months of the closure of financial year.
The Home Ministry said many persons have submitted hard copy of the returns pertaining to financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16 "which have not been accepted and treated as if not received".