Govt does away with paperwork in registration of NGOs


NEW DELHI, India, 14 December 2015

In a key digitisation initiative, Government today put the entire registration process of NGOs for receiving foreign funds online.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said all services offered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 are made online, reducing human interface to minimum.

Singh, who launched the revamped website of the foreigners division of his Ministry, hoped the new initiative will offer applicants the seamless services of FCRA with adequate ease and facilitation.

Simultaneously, the amended rules (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2015) are also being notified.

All kinds of application forms can now be filled online, documents can be uploaded online and even payment of fee etc. can be made online.

All types of queries and replies to the applicants will be made through emails. Even digitally signed registration certificates, prior permission sanctions will be issued to the applicants through emails.

The main changes are: applications for registration, prior permission and renewal of registration under FCRA, 2010 will be accepted online, all documents with the application will be uploaded online, all intimations will be required under FCRA, 2010 including annual returns accepted online.

Fee for various services will be paid through payment gateway, the condition of applying for renewal one year before the expiry of existing registration certificate for associations implementing multi-year project is removed.

To make the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution by association transparent, associations are required to place the annual returns and such data quarterly on their website or website as prescribed by the central government.

Information regarding Facebook page, Twitter handle of the office bearers of the associations is optional.

Information regarding Facebook page, Twitter handle and other personal details of the office bearers of the donor organisation is also optional.

All FCRA-designated bank accounts and utilisation accounts will have to be brought on the online platform of Public Finance Management Service (PFMS) of Controller General of Accounts, Ministry of Finance.

Certificate of registration or renewal and grant of prior permission will be sent online and digitally signed, all queries with the applicant will be made through e-mail, messaging services, simplification of various forms and application procedure has been done.

Number of application/ intimation forms reduced from 10 (ten) to 6 (six), number of documents to be attached with applications has been significantly reduced, filing hard copy of annual return has been dispensed with.

The condition of submission of certificate from Chartered Accountant and audited statement of accounts with Annual Return is removed in respect of associations who do not receive or utilise foreign contribution in a financial year.

Requirement of seeking prior permission for change of name, aims and objects, address of the association, change of bank or account, change in Governing Body members, etc. Is now relaxed to only intimation through FCRA online service.

List of purposes for which foreign contribution can be utilised rationalised and reduced as per the FCRA, 2010. The periodicity for uploading the details of foreign contribution received and utilised by the associations on their website or the FCRA website will be kept as three months.

Seeking details of functionaries of the association in annual return has been dropped.

Declaration and undertaking in the application for registration, prior permission and renewal, and also in annual return has been simplified.

It may be recalled that the ‘Tourist Visa on Arrival enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation’ (TVoA-ETA) was another initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs launched on November 27, 2014 to facilitate the travel of foreign nationals to India.

Its name was changed to e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) on April 15, 2015.

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