New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government said on Tuesday that Home Ministry computer systems were not hacked to incorrectly renew foreign funding licenses of 16 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
According to a report in NDTV, sources in the ministry said it was most likely that the wrong renewals were a result of a systemic error.
The report also states that officials were in the process of streamlining the foreign funding procedures of NGOs for increased transparency.
In a major flip flop, the Home Ministry had earlier this month cancelled renewal of FCRA licence of Greenpeace India and two NGOs run by activist Teesta Setalvad, three months after “inadvertently” allowing their registration for five more years.
Renewal of FCRA licence of Greenpeace India, Teesta’s NGOs Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace stands cancelled with immediate effect, a Home Ministry official had said.
The Ministry also ordered review of recent renewal of FCRA registration of 13,000 NGOs to look into the possible goof ups of existing rules.
The Home Ministry also ordered a probe by the Computer Emergency Response Team-India to ascertain whether there was hacking of government software systems as there have been several instances where licences of NGOs under scrutiny were renewed automatically.
Government ordered that applications of all “red-flagged NGOs will have to be vetted by Joint Secretary handling Home Ministry’s Foreigners Division.
Orders, generated online, renewing FCRA licence of Greenpeace India, Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace stand “null and void” and the licence to these NGOs stands cancelled and they cannot receive foreign funds, the official said.
Licences of around 20,000 of 33,000 NGOs were cancelled by the government on Tuesday after they were found to be allegedly violating various provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), thus barring them from receiving foreign funds.
This was conveyed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a review of the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Giving a detailed presentation, Home Ministry officials said after cancellation of FCRA licences of around 20,000 NGOs, only 13,000 NGOs in the country are legally valid now.
The exercise of reviewing the working of the NGOs was started about a year ago and the process is still continuing, official sources said.
Among the 13,000 valid NGOs, around 3,000 have submitted applications for renewal while Ministry of Home Affairs received 2,000 new applications for registration under the FCRA for the first time.