Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Top FCRA-NGOs in Assam: For Whom The Bell Tolls?


In this short Post, we shall get introduced to the top 25 FCRA-NGOs in Assam. The data is presented in a Table. The data is obtained from the FCRA website of Ministry of Home Affairs. They are acknowledged. A friendly tweeple is also acknowledged.
Firstly, the top-20 recipients for the years 2015-16 and 2014-15 were enumerated. These were later merged to constitute the 25 FCRA-NGOs listed here.

The Table has three columns corresponding to each year.

  • ‘Foreign Direct’  - Amount received directly from abroad in that year.
  • ‘Previous Unspent’  - Foreign funds brought forward (unspent balance) from previous years 
  • ‘Interest earned’  - Amount of money earned by way of interest from Bank Fixed Deposit etc.
Colour Code: Blue stands for Christian entities, Yellow-Green for Muslim entities, saffron for Hindu entities and white for non-religious (note that I do not intently use the word ‘secular’ as it originates from Christian reformation) entities. Rather than rely upon stated purposes and nature of the organization, we prefered to identify the religious nature of organization based on the religious affiliation of both recipient and foreign donor(s).
Interestingly, none of the top 25 FCRA-NGO recipients seemed to be explicitly Hindu in nature, nor were their donors.

Observations:

  • There are about 400 FCRA-NGOs in Assam, out of which around 240 file annual returns.
  • 230 FCRA-NGOs have filed annual return as of today. The sum of ‘Foreign Direct’, ‘Previous Unspent’ and ‘Interest earned’ of these FCRA-NGOs of Assam in 2015-16 is Rs. 218 Crore (as of February 15, 2017). You can consider this amount as a Normalization factor.
  • The same sum for the top-25 FCRA-NGOs in the Table is Rs. 134 Crore. Thus, the present List constitutes 60% (134 divided by 218) of foreign funding to Assam FCRA-NGOs and is thus ‘representative’ of FCRA landscape in Assam.
  • For the ‘Blue Coloured’ FCRA-NGOs in the Table alone, this sum is Rs. 103 Crore. Thus, out of the Rs. 134 Crore reported in this Table, Rs. 103 Crore, i.e., 77% flow into NGOs which are Christian in nature. Given the representative nature of this List, the same percentage can be assumed to hold good if one were to identify the religious nature of all the FCRA-NGOs in Assam.
  • Money received from other FCRA-NGOs within India by these 25 Assam FCRA-NGOs are not provided in this Table.
  • This Table lists only those top FCRA-NGOs which are registered in Assam. However, many FCRA-NGOs who are registered elsewhere "work" in Assam as well. See for instance, this Post on World Vision or this one on Compassion East India.
  • A few Muslim FCRA-NGOs are also seen, earning about Rs 8.6 crores in 2015. Interestingly, they seem to have obtained FCRA status within the last 2-3 years. One of them in particular, Markazul Maarif, does not declare any Bank interest.
  • All the FCRA returns for 2015-16 are in FC4 format and for 2013-14 are in FC6 format. However, in 2014-15, some of the FCRA-NGOs have filed FC6 and some others FC4. Adequate care has been taken to handle these distinctly, as per this Post.
  • In each year, the unspent balance is nearly equal to the total amount received from abroad directly,  i.e., FCRA-NGOs have accumulated an year’s remittance in their Banks. The same observation for all FCRA-NGOs in India was deduced earlier here using indirect methods.
Conclusions: Is it necessary?


Table of Top 25 FCRA-NGOs in Assam and their foreign funds (in Rs. Crore)
FCRA-NGO Reg No. Foreign Direct 2015 Previous Unspent 2015 Interest earned 2015 Foreign Direct 2014 Previous Unspent 2014 Interest earned 2014 Foreign Direct 2013 Previous Unspent 2013 Interest Earned 2013
Archdiocese of Guwahati 20780031 7.2 9.5 0.6 11.3 3.8 0.5 5.1 3.6 0.2
Don Bosco Society 20780105 7.5 8.6 0.09 4.4 14.3 2.2 1.8 18 0.4
Diocese of Diphu 20800001 3.4 4.9 1.4 3.8 4.8 0.6 2.8 3.6 0.04
Diocese of Tezpur 20740003 3.3 4.4 0.6 3.5 4.5 0.3 3.3 4.1 0.3
Purvodaya Seva Samaj 20620013 2.6 4 0.2 3.7 1.8 0.2 2 1.2 0.05
St. Francis de Sales Society 20780003 5.4 0.9 0.05 5.6 0.4 0.04 4.6 0.3 0.04
Xaviers 20620014 2.9 2.4 0.3 2.2 4.4 0.3 4.3 2.9 0.3
Snehalaya 20780103 1.2 0.8 0.07 0.8 0.3 0.03 0.5 0.2 0.01
North East Diocesan Social Service Society 20780045 2.7 0.8 0.03 2.6 1.4 0.04 4.3 0.4 0.05
North Bank Baptist Medical Association 20740009 2.2 1.3 0.13 0.3 1.4 0.1 0.03 0.5 0.04
Diocese of Bongaigaon 20730002 2.2 1.3 0.1 1.4 5.3 0.5 2.6 0.8 0.1
Diocese of Dibrugarh 20750005 3.7 0.6 0.03 3.6 0.6 0.01 2.2 0.9 0.06
Salesian Sisters of North East India 20780067 1.5 1.7 0.03 3.9 1.6 0.07 4 0.7 0.02
Jirsong Asong 20800007 1.4 0.7 0 1.7 1 0.05 2.5 0.7 0.03
Don Bosco Youth Mission & Education Services 20780043 1.3 0.6 0.02 2.5 0.1 0.03 1.5 0.06 0.06
Diocese of Silchar 20720002 2.5 5 0.7 1.4 5.3 0.5 2.7 4.9 0.3
Markazul Maarif 20820031 2.9 1 0 2.5 1.2 0 - - -
Ajmal Foundation 20820057 2.3 1.2 0.04 5.2 1 0.07 - - -
Anfar Foundation 20820055 0.7 0.4 0.04 3 0 0.05 3 0 0.02
Wildlife Areas Devel & Welfare Trust 20780050 1.8 3.3 0.04 - - - 1 2.9 0.06
Aaranyak 20780080 6.8 3 0.5 4.1 2.1 0.2 4.8 0.9 0.1
Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi 20780033 1.5 0.8 0 1.7 0.4 0 2.7 0.4 0
North East Network 20840010 1.1 2.5 0.2 1.3 2.2 0.2 1.3 1.9 0.1
Ajagar Social Circle 20760016 0.9 0.04 0 3.3 0 0 1.1 0.2 0







Saturday, 1 October 2016

Foreign funded nature of NGO Partners of Childline (1098) in States of Southern India



Before everything:
Since there is a good chance that this Post will be misunderstood, here is my position:
  • I have no problems with Childline. It is a vital component of our current day society which is required to aid affected children.
  • I have no problems with NGOs per se.
  • I have no problems with Childline partnering with NGOs.
  • However, I have an issue with Childline operations being run via FCRA-NGOs in general, and with those staffed by religious clergy, in particular.

Now that my position has been cleared (hopefully), let us start.

Introduction:
What is Childline?
As Childline India Foundation’s (CIF) website says, “CIF is the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development acting as the parent organisation for setting up, managing and monitoring the CHILDLINE 1098 service all over the country. CHILDLINE 1098 service is a 24 hour free emergency phone outreach service for children in need of care and protection. Childline is a project supported by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and linking state Governments, NGOs, bilateral /multilateral agencies and corporate sector.

Essentially, Childline is a Foundation in which both the WCD Ministry as well as private (including so-called ‘civil society’) entities have a stake. 1098 is the toll-free emergency telephone service that can be used by anyone in India to help children needing care/protection. The list of NGOs with whom Childline has partnered all over India is available here (accessed in June 2016). Each district has at least one or more NGOs who operate this service and help children in distress. Childline operates in 372 cities and towns of India.

Childline India Foundation is also a FCRA-NGO with registration No. MH/83780693. The FCRA returns database contains entries of remittances from CIF to FCRA-NGOs which operate the 1098 telephone line in some districts. Whether such NGOs also receive monetary compensation from CIF (or from the WCD Ministry) for rendering this service is unknown in public domain (Readers of my blog hopefully, will remember my intense discomfort with RTI, so stay away from that recommendation).

Precis
Thus, operators of this service are the first responders in any emergent situation and thus have an enormous responsibility. In this Post, we shall examine the hitherto unknown/unrevealed/unrecognized foreign funded nature of a majority of Childline partner NGOs in the Southern States of India. As before, our definition of a FCRA-NGO is: a NGO which has a FCRA registration. We differ from the majority narrative about NGOs in India which is ill-informed and imprecise. We distinguish between NGOs and FCRA-NGOs; we believe that this distinction is vital and one which is ignored by the common public, MSM and ‘civil society’. This Post demonstrates that an overwhelming majority of NGO partners to Childline are FCRA-NGOs. Furthermore, a good number of them possess the characteristics of one specific religion and are likely staffed by its clergy.

Teaser:
Check out the extract from the Annual Report filed by a British Charity called “New Dawn India” (NDI for short) (Charity No.: 1001535) to the Charity Commissioner of United Kingdom, below.



Apart from relieving poverty etc in India, this British Organization’s objective is “to advance the Christian Faith in South India”. The Report also adds that NDI funds an Indian NGO in Madurai called Vidiyal alias Sakthi-Vidiyal. (Note: New Dawn translates to Vidiyal in Tamil). We are also informed that Vidiyal is run by a couple, Jim Jesudoss and Dr. Sharmila.

The British Charity’s Annual Report further lauds Vidiyal-India’s role in furthering “child rights”. Importantly, the Report mentions that Vidiyal hosts/operates the Childline in Madurai. See screen-shot below.



Naturally, this caught our attention. Why should a foreign charity, with no direct presence in India whatsoever, mention about a Childline being run in Southern Tamil Nadu, in its Annual Report to the British Charity Commissioner? Isn’t Childline a Government operation in India? Even if it is not entirely Government owned/run, isn’t the Indian Nation Sovereign enough that its “civil society” can run societal aid work and not report them to foreign entities that they are franchisees of?

Who are the NGO partners to Childline?
Digging further, we find that the entity quoted as Sakthi-Vidiyal by New Dawn India is called “Sakthi” in the FCRA database. Its FCRA Registration number is: TN/75940362. It has been receiving somewhere around Rs. 60-80 lakhs p.a. from New Dawn India, UK, as per its FC6 returns filed with our Home Ministry.

Intrigued by this observation, we set out to examine all the “NGOs” with which CIF has partnered. Since the total number of such NGOs spread all over India was quite large, we limited ourselves to the examination of these partners in the five Southern states of India [Puducherry’s were included in the Tamil Nadu list].

The Tables (one for each State) at the end of this Post contains four columns. The first two columns were sourced from CIF’s website. They provide the district and the NGO partners’ name therein. The third, fourth and fifth columns were added by us, after studying the FCRA returns. They provide the FCRA registration number, the 2013-14 foreign fund inflow and the chief foreign donors of the NGO. Where the 2013-14 foreign fund amounts were not available, one from previous years has been included.

Some of the NGOs are highlighted in light blue. They appear to have a strikingly religious character of a specific persuasion. A few NGOs are highlighted in light green colour. Their foreign donors appear to have a religious character.

In Kerala, out of the 34 NGOs partnering Childline, 28 have #FCRA registration and 23 have a blue background and appear to ‘belong’ to a specific religious category. Whopping percentages, both.
In Karnataka, the numbers are 53, 35 and 14. The story repeats in Tamil Nadu where the corresponding numbers are: 66, 59, and 22. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, while a majority of partner NGOs are FCRA-ed, only a small fraction, surprisingly, has an explicitly religious character (of the specific type seen in other States).

In many of the above instances, the Childline partner NGO is part of a Religious Order. The personnel of the NGO are clergy themselves.

It can be anyone’s contention that a FCRA-NGO run by religious entities/personalities may not mix up their religious mandates with the 1098 operations. We certainly hope that they don’t. However, we do not know if this is really the case or not. At the least, the citizens of India need to be aware of the NGO partners and their nature.

In any case, should Childline partner with entities which receive foreign contributions via FCRA? Furthermore, does Childline ensure that such entities do not indulge in double dipping? (i.e., receive grants from CIF to operate the 1098 and submit utilisation certificates to CIF as well as file annual reports to their foreign donors on the NGOs operations in a district, including that on Childline). Do such things happen? I do not know. I hope not. But then again, we do not know.

To summarize:
  1. Should Childline be operated by FCRA-NGOs?
  2. Should Childline be operated by FCRA-NGOs which are part of a Religious Order?

The Childline NGO list and FCRA details can be obtained by clicking on each State below.



Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Claws of Compassion [Part-2]



Part-I of this series is available here. To summarize it briefly, we learnt of the “charity” that is headquartered in Colorado, USA called “Compassion International”. We learnt how it professed its Evangelical agenda in its US tax returns. We learnt how it has been sending ~Rs. 220 Crore each year to FCRA-NGOs in India. We learnt of two of its primary affiliates in India -- Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV), Chennai and Compassion East India (CEI), Kolkata. We also learnt of the names of Trustees of these two FCRA-NGOs. We learnt that our Ministry of Home Affairs has put this Colorado entity on the Prior Permission List which means that its donations to any FCRA-NGO in India will not be automatic but will have to be approved by MHA on a case by case basis.

The current Post will be short. Here, we shall come to learn of who the secondary recipients of CBV and CEI are. As discussed earlier, FCRA-NGOs *have* to spend their foreign “donations” either by themselves or they have to, in turn, give it to other FCRA-NGOs to spend. They cannot give it to entities which are not FCRA registered. Get it? So, CBV and CEI (like countless other FCRA-NGO behemoths which plague our Nation) distribute the funds they received from Colorado to other FCRA-NGOs. Sort of, like, sub-contract of work.

In Part-1, we saw a long Table containing Names, Registration Number, Address of every FCRA-NGO which has ever received money directly from Compassion, Colorado. In the current Post, we shall not have a Table. Instead, we will see two maps. Map-1 provides the locations of all secondary recipients (FCRA-NGOs themselves) from Caruna Bal Vikas, Chennai. Map-2 provides the locations of of all secondary recipients (FCRA-NGOs themselves) from Compassion East India, Kolkata. These are dynamic maps (see later).

Acknowledgements:
  1. FCRA Wing, Ministry of Home Affairs is thanked for providing annual returns of all FCRA-NGOs since 2006, online, without one having to go through the idiotic RTI route.
  2. Google and the mapping tool (theXS) are immensely thanked for making this work a pleasurable activity.

Observations:
  1. 136 FCRA-NGOs are listed in Map-1 (secondary recipients of CBV) and 132 are listed in Map-2 (secondary recipients of CEI). The list was constructed out of FC6/FC4 returns filed by FCRA-NGOs in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  2. Map-1 includes six FCRA-NGOs which have not been secondary recipients of CBV, but have received funds directly from Compassion-Colorado. These six were part of the list presented in Part-1 of this article.
  3. The links to theXS maps (with pins on locations of each FCRA-NGO) is very useful. We suggest readers to click on the map links and play with them.
  4. Caruna Bal Vikas, Chennai appears to “take care” of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi. Compassion East India, Kolkata appears to “take care” of West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Thus, there seems to be a nice “division of labour” among the two.
  5. A clear Eastern Coast focus is seen among the FCRA recipients from Compassion. This character is true for several evangelical organizations funded via FCRA. Apart from changes in religious demography, such an Eastern Sea Board focus does not augur well from a National Security perspective as well. Discerning readers are encouraged to explore this thought process further.
  6. Both CBV and CEI have operations in Madhya Pradesh. Also, both seem to be funding an isolated activity in Udhampur.
  7. Every information that is presented here is verifiable and is based on data that has been publicly provided at the FCRA website of Government of India.
  8. Comments welcome. If you find any error in the geographical location of any FCRA-NGO, please write a comment about it. Be specific. We will be glad to rectify it.

Over to the Maps. Savour them.
Here is the Link for Map-1 i.e., Secondary Recipients of Caruna Bal Vikas, Chennai.
These two maps are also appended below as static images, in case you have difficulties seeing the above with your browser.