The Union government puts Ford Foundation, a prominent American charity, on its watch list for “national interest and security”. All funds coming from the US based foundation into India will first have to be scrutinized and cleared by the home ministry.
An order has instructed Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to seek the Union home ministry’s approval before funds from the US-based Foundation are allowed in. The order signed by Home Ministry Undersecretary Anand Joshi directed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to instruct all banks to ensure that “any fund flow from Ford Foundation” is referred to the ministry and allowed only after its clearance.
Home ministry spokesperson KS Dhatwalia said, “Among the violations noticed, it was found that the Ford Foundation had been involved in funding non-FCRA registered entities which amounts to serious violation of the FCRA 2010 law.” The Ford Foundation is on the watch-list based on inputs received from security agencies, he added. “This does not prevent Ford Foundation from contributing money to FCRA-registered associations.
According to the Home Ministry sources, the step was taken after it was found that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which have been receiving funds from Ford Foundation had not filed the mandatory documents, like balance sheets and annual reports.
Earlier, the Gujarat government had asked the Home Ministry to take action against Ford Foundation, alleging that the US-based organization was “interfering in the internal affairs” of the country and “abetting communal disharmony” through the NGO Sabrang Trust, run by social activist Teesta Setalvad.
Teesta Setalvad, a social activist, and her husband have been accused of alleged embezzlement of funds meant for a museum in Ahmedabad to honor victims of the sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002.