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Explained: Relief in New FCRA rules

Explained: Relief in New FCRA rules

The Union Home Ministry has amended certain rules related to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), allowing Indians to receive up to Rs 10 lakh a year from relatives living abroad without informing the authorities.

In a notification, the home ministry also said that if the amount exceeds, individuals will now have 90 days to inform the government instead of 30 days earlier.

Relief for some

The change in FCRA rules will come as a relief to those barred from receiving foreign contributions under Section 3 of the Act. The change gives organizations more time to inform the government about opening bank accounts to utilize the funds received.

“In the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011, in rule 6, — for the words “one lakh rupees”, the words “ten lakh rupees” shall be substituted; and for the words “thirty days”, the words “three months” shall be substituted,” the notification said.

On the compoundable offences, the gazette notification said, “Offence punishable under sections 3, 11 and 35 of the Act read with rule 6 for failure to intimate about the receipt of foreign contribution within the prescribed time limit” shall be compoundable with a penalty of “Five per cent of such foreign contribution received in a financial year”.

Section 3 of the FCRA states: “No foreign contribution shall be accepted … candidates for election; correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper; controlled or owned by the Government.” Judges, Government servants or employees of any corporation or any other body; Member of any Legislature; Political party or office bearers thereof; Organization of a political nature as may be specified by the Central Government under sub-section (1) of section 5. an association engaged in the production or transmission of audio news or audio visual news or current affairs programs by means of any electronic mode, or any other electronic form as defined in clause (r) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information or the Companies Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) or any other medium of mass communication; correspondent or columnist, cartoonist, editor, association or proprietor of a company…”

Rule 6 deals with information on receipt of foreign money from relatives.

It had earlier said that “any person who receives a foreign contribution of one lakh rupees or its equivalent in a financial year from any of his relatives shall, within 30 days of the receipt of such contribution, inform the Central Government (statement of funds)”. will do”.

Similarly, by amending Rule 9, which pertains to an application for obtaining ‘registration’ or ‘prior permission’ under FCRA for receiving funds, the amended rules have allowed individuals and organizations or NGOs to know about bank accounts. I have given 45 days time to inform the Ministry of Home Affairs. s) which are to be used for the use of such funds. This deadline was 30 days ago.

The Central Government has also removed provision ‘B’ in Rule 13, which declares foreign funds including details of donors, the amount received and date of receipt, etc., every quarter on its website.

If the amount exceeds Rs 10 lakh, the receiver will get three months instead of one to inform the government.

“The ministry is continuously working to reduce the compliance burden on the NGOs. For this purpose, these steps have been taken. This will give them more room for compliance and will even add to some offences which were punishable earlier,” said an MHA official.

In Rule 9, which deals with “application for obtaining ‘registration’ or ‘prior permission’ for receiving foreign contribution”, the government brought amendments that now allow NGOs to take 45 days instead of 15 days under the earlier rule. Time will be given so that the union can be informed. In respect of one or more bank accounts opened by the Home Secretary for the use of foreign funds received.

A similar extension of time for reporting of bank accounts has been offered to NGOs seeking prior permission for receipt of foreign funds.

In rule 13, which deals with “declaration of receipt of foreign contribution”, the Government has omitted clause (b). The clause says: “A person receiving foreign contribution in a quarter of a financial year shall furnish the details of foreign contribution received within 15 days after the last day of the quarter on his official website or on the website specified by the Central Government. It is received clearly indicating the details of donors, amount received and date of receipt.

In Rule 17A, which requires the NGO to notify the Ministry within 15 days, whenever there is a change in the bank account, name, address, purpose, purpose or key members of the NGO, the time limit has now been extended to 45 days. has been done.

An amendment to Rule 20 has been brought to ensure that applications for modification of an order passed by a “competent authority” can also be made in the electronic form to the Home Secretary. Earlier it had to be made on plain paper. However, the Ministry will reserve the right to decide the form in which the application is to be made.

Five more offences “compoundable”

In a separate notification, the home ministry made five more offences “compoundable” under the FCRA, making 12 such offences compoundable instead of prosecuting organizations or individuals directly.

FCRA violations which have now become compoundable include failure to inform about the receipt of foreign funds, the opening of bank accounts, failure to provide information on the website, etc.

Earlier, offences relating to accepting hospitality from a foreign entity without any notice, payment of foreign money for administrative use in excess of permissible limits, receiving money in an account other than specified for foreign funds and four others were compoundable.

The amount of penalty ranges from ₹ 10,000 to ₹ 1 lakh or five per cent of foreign funds, whichever is higher.

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