India further tightens noose on critical NGOs

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s long been wary of NGOs and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which came to power promising fast development in 2014, is not the first to use the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to rein them in. Photo by: Norbert Schiller / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA

Nongovernmental organizations in India are bracing for the worst, concerned that proposed regulatory changes could restrict their access to foreign funding further — a move that could force some to close.

And recent events only worsened their fears.

After a long-running battle that saw Greenpeace India accused of “prejudicially affecting” the state’s economic interests, the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs revoked Sept. 2 the environmental group’s registration to receive foreign funding.

Greenpeace India’s interim Executive Director Vinuta Gopal said the organization’s experience suggested the government was trying to push regulatory changes to gain more power to act against NGOs, which it had been denied by the courts.

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About the author

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    Alys Francis

    Alys Francis is a freelance journalist covering development and other news in South Asia for international media outlets. Based in India, she travels widely around the region and has covered major events, including national elections in India and Nepal. She is interested in how technology is aiding development and rapidly altering societies.