CHENNAI: Donations from abroad for NGOs in Tamil Nadu have dropped by 90%, pushing the state to fourth in the country in attracting funding under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). This has adversely impacted activities of many groups largely dependent on such contributions, say activists.
TN has the most number of NGOs and associations registered under the FCRA in the country and 3,262 of the 6,485 NGOs eligible to receive funds are currently active.
Data furnished by the Union home ministry in the Rajya Sabha, a fortnight ago shows NGOs and associations in TN received more than Rs 2,000 crore for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, second only to Delhi. This fell to Rs 219 crore in 2019-20. Data for 2019-20 was based on Annual Returns (ARs) filed on 16-03-2021, but an extension has been given till June this year.
Human rights activist Henri Tiphagne, executive director of People’s Watch, said funds received by TN NGOs are also used for various social activities across the nation. Asked if foreign funds to NGOs in TN for 2019-20 would match the previous years, he said, “I will not be surprised if this drops further in the coming years.” Tiphagne said his organisation used most of the foreign contributions for promoting human rights education in schools with government authorisation. The organisation’s FCRA bank account was suspended in 2016. “Local funds are not available for such activities as most of the CSR funds go to government oriented projects.”