Overview of FCRA Registration
Any individual, association or company in India before receiving any foreign contribution or donation from foreign sources is required to obtain registration from the Central Government under section 11 of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA). Where a person does not obtain registration as provided above, he may accept foreign contribution only after obtaining the prior permission from the Central Government. Registration under FCRA is governed by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
Things to Know
For grant of registration under FCRA, the association should:
- be registered under an existing statute like the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 (Now Section 8 of Companies Act, 2013) etc;
- normally be in existence for at least three years and has undertaken reasonable activity in its chosen field for the benefit of the society for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilized. The applicant NGO/association will be free to choose its items of expenditure (excluding the administrative expenditure as defined in Rule 5 of FCRR, 2011) to become eligible for the minimum threshold of Rs. 10 lakhs spent during the last three years. It the association wants inclusion of its capital investment in assets like land, building, other permanent structures, vehicles, equipment’s etc. then the Chief Functionary shall have to give an undertaking that these assets shall be utilized only for the FCRA activities and they will not be diverted for any other purpose till FCRA registration of the NGO holds.
FCRA PRIOR PERMISSION
For grant of prior permission, the association should:
- be in formative stage and should be registered under an existing statute like the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 etc;
- submit a specific commitment letter from the donor indicating the amount of foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to be given; and
- For Indian recipient organizations and foreign donor organizations having common members, FCRA Prior Permission shall be granted to the Indian recipient organizations subject to its satisfying the following:
- The Chief Functionary of the recipient Indian organization should not be a part of the donor organization.
- At least 75% of the office-bearers/ members of the Governing body of the Indian recipient organization should not be members/employees of the foreign donor organization.
- In the case of a foreign donor organization being a single person/individual that person should not be the Chief Functionary or office bearer of the recipient Indian organization.
- In the case of a single foreign donor, at least 75% of office bearers/members of the governing body of the recipient organization should not be the family members and close relatives of the donor.
Foreign Contribution means the donation, delivery or transfer made by any foreign source:
- of any article, not being an article given to a person as a gift for his personal use, if the market value, in India, of such article on the date of such gift, is not more than Rs. 25000
- of any currency, whether Indian or foreign
- of any foreign security as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and includes any foreign security as defined in clause (o) of section 2 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
A donation, delivery or transfer of any article, currency or foreign security by any person who has received it from any foreign source, either directly or through one or more persons, shall also be deemed to be a foreign contribution. The interest accrued on the foreign contribution deposited in any bank or any other income derived from the foreign contribution or interest thereon shall also be deemed to be a foreign contribution within the meaning of this clause. Any amount received, by any person from any foreign source in India, by way of fee (including fees charged by an educational institution in India from foreign student) or towards cost in lieu of goods or services rendered by such person in the ordinary course of his business, trade or commerce whether within India or outside India or any contribution received from an agent of a foreign source towards such fee or cost shall be excluded from the definition of foreign contribution.
Foreign source includes:
- the government of any foreign country or territory and any agency of such Government
- any international agency, not being the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund or such other agency as the Central Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf
- a foreign company
- a corporation, not being a foreign company, incorporated in a foreign country or territory
- a multi-national corporation
- a company within the meaning of the Companies Act, 1956 (or the Companies Act, 2013), and more than one half of the nominal value of its share capital is held, either singly or in the aggregate, by one or more of the following, namely:-
- the Government of a foreign country or territor
- the citizens of a foreign country or territory
- corporations incorporated in a foreign country or territory
- trusts, societies or other associations of individuals (whether incorporated or not), formed or registered in a foreign country or territory
- foreign company
- a trade union in any foreign country or territory, whether or not registered in such foreign country or territory
- a foreign trust or a foreign foundation, by whatever name called, or such trust or foundation mainly financed by a foreign country or territory
- a society, club or other association of individuals formed or registered outside India
- a citizen of a foreign country
Conditions to be met for the grant of registration and prior permission:
The 'person' making an application for registration or grant of prior permission-
- is not fictitious or benami
- has not been prosecuted or convicted for indulging in activities aimed at conversion through inducement or force, either directly or indirectly, from one religious faith to another
- has not been prosecuted or convicted for creating communal tension or disharmony in any specified district or any other part of the country
- has not been found guilty of diversion or mis-utilisation of its funds
- is not engaged or likely to engage in propagation of sedition or advocate violent methods to achieve its ends
- is not likely to use the foreign contribution for personal gains or divert it for undesirable purposes
- has not contravened any of the provisions of this Act
- has not been prohibited from accepting foreign contribution
- in case the person being an individual, such individual has neither been convicted under any law for the time being in force nor any prosecution for any offence is pending against him.
- in case the person being other than an individual, none of its directors or office bearers has been convicted under any law for the time being in force nor any prosecution for any offence is pending against him.
- the acceptance of foreign contribution by the association/ person is not likely to affect prejudicially –
- the sovereignty and integrity of India
- the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State
- the public interest
- freedom or fairness of election to any Legislature
- friendly relation with any foreign State
- harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic, regional groups, castes or communities.
12. the acceptance of foreign contribution-
- shall not lead to incitement of an offence
- shall not endanger the life or physical safety of any person.
13. the person making an application for registration has undertaken reasonable activity in its chosen field for the benefit of the society for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilized.
14. the person making an application for prior permission has prepared a reasonable project for the benefit of the society for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilized.