Rajya Sabha passes Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday through a voice vote passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020. The bill amends the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010, which regulates the use and acceptance of foreign contribution by individuals and organizations. The Act prohibits foreign contribution for any activities that pose a danger to national interest.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday and will now be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.

Minister of state (MoS), home affairs, Nityanand Rai moved the bill for passage in the Upper House.

During the discussion on the bill, Rai said that the FCRA is a law for national and internal security, aimed to ensure that foreign funds do not dominate the political and social discourse in India.

The minister also said that it has been proposed to make Aadhaar for Indian citizens and passports or OCI for foreigners mandatory to verify identity. The home ministry consulted UIDAI and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) before proposing the move, he added.

“Experience says that many organisations attempted to hide their identity and were successful in doing that. The reason behind this is that they had no fear because their identity was not established completely. So Aadhaar card has been brought in to establish their identity,” Rai said.

The minister pointed out that the bill provides for reduction in administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding, from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds.

The bill also proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

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