Connect with us

Politics

69 associations from Manipur received Rs 38 crore foreign contribution

Kingson Chingakham

Published

on

Manipur has nearly 1100 registered NGOs.For the block year 2016-17,a total of 251 associations were registered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 from the state. The FCRA is a ‘consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto’.Out of 251 associations,69 of them received donations from abroad amounting to about Rs 38 crore.

Purpose

More than 50 per cent of these associations which received contributions are either Christian Missionaries or organizations receiving from Christian Missionaries from abroad.Most of the contributions are seen to be made under the purpose ‘social’,though it can be eclipsed under the intention of ‘religion’.Many of these Christian organizations and individuals who have donated from abroad,also contributed for the purpose of ‘education’.But it is not clear only theology has been taught to students or the other subjects have been also taught.Only few donors listed the purpose of the contribution as ‘religion’,as the purpose of ‘religion’ is problematic.There are hardly any fund for ‘economic development’ from abroad.

Discrepancies

The Government allows to propagate religion but does not allow coercion for religious conversion.Under FCRA,the government has cracked down funding for many organizations considering the threat to the social and economic harmony of the country as many of the utilization of the contributions diverted from the original purpose.There are some interesting stories from these organizations from Manipur.

Evangelical Churches Association based in Churachandpur district of Manipur received nearly Rs 20 lakhs from the controversial United States based organization ‘Compassion International’,under the purpose of ‘religion’.Last Year,Compassion International was charged by the Ministry of Home Affairs for malpractices such as religious conversion and two of it’s affiliated organizations- Caruna Bal Vikas and Compassion East India, were allegedly funding religious activity without permission.Both these organizations had registered under FCRA as “social, cultural, economic and educational” organizations but funded religious activities undertaken by Compassion International’s channel partners.

Similarly,Evangelical Congregational Church of India based in Churachandpur district of Manipur received contribution from the above controversial affiliated organization Compassion East India.The contribution was made under the category ‘social’.Evangelical Convention Church(also based in Churachandpur) received a contribution of Rs 12 lakhs from Compassion East India.On the positive side,Evangelical Convention Church is the only organization in the state which received contribution from any United Nation organ through the channel of the UN office on Drugs and Crime.Though the bank account associated with the receipt of the foreign fund is located in Manipur,the bank account for the utilization of the foreign contribution was located in Aizawl,Mizoram.Therefore,it seems to raise a question on why there is no utilization bank account in Manipur.

Independent Church of India based in Churachandpur is also contributed by the Compassion East India amounting to Rs 10 lakhs.Presbyterian Church in India based in Churachandpur also received contributions from Compassion East India under ‘religious’ category.Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India also received contribution from Compassion International.

With approximately Rs 5.12 crore, the Diocese of Imphal received the largest contribution along with the maximum numbers of donors.The Diocese of Imphal listed 31 institutions/individuals who funded more than Rs 20,000. Out of these 31 donors,25 donors clearly mentioned the purpose of donation as ‘religious’.The details of individual donors have not been provided by the ‘Diocese of Imphal’ at the time of filing the report.There could be more hidden donors as the donors who contribute less than Rs 20,000 are not asked under FCRA while filing the annual return.Identifying the individual donors have become a cause of national interests.Anonymous donors have been a cause of worry for many countries as the real purpose of the donation can not be known.

There are also individuals donors who have contributed without institutional set up.For example, Chris and Judy Maynard from the United Kingdom(UK),contributed around Rs 23 lakhs to Charitable and Religious Society,Imphal.Under the donor details,the website of Rope Charitable Trust(RCT) based in the UK has been mentioned which raises to suspicious because Chris and Judy Maynard seem nowhere associated with RCT and Chris works at his own company- Transforming Information which is an information management consultancy.While analyzing the financial statement of RCT that ended on March 31, 2017,it was found that Charitable and Religious Society have no direct linkage with the the RCT as there where no fund transfers.RCT is associated with only one organization in India by the name of Asha Kiran based in Odisa.So it is confusing why the name of RCT has been mentioned under the ‘details of the donors’.

One interesting observation is that the funding received by one organization has been further shared to other organizations. For example,Centre for Social Development(CSD) received funding from Bread of the World,Germany and CASA New Delhi.Through the received funds from the donors,CSD again acted as a donor for other organization within the state viz. Chamdil Khubil Social Welfare Arts and Culture Association,though CSD only contributed 0.51 per cent (Rs 1,50,000) from the total amount (around Rs 2.89 crore) they received from their original donors to Chamdil Khubil. CSD also funds various other developmental projects across the state.

CSD has three bank accounts for the utilization of the foreign contribution.Two of these accounts are linked to Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura and the main account for the receipt of foreign contribution is located in Manipur.Thereby,we can deduce that a specific amount received by a particular organization in a state is not fully utilized within the state.It can be shared with organizations based in other states for different purposes.The foreign donor might contribute under the purpose of ‘education’,but the organization might share the fund for different other purposes to other states.This creates a questionable conflict between the two purposes.

In some cases,even though there have been mention of the donors, along with the amount and the purpose,there are no contact details.For example,Catholic Education Society received funding from ‘St Mathias Parish’ from Germany.But it did not give the details of the website,address and any other contact details at the time of filing annual return.Since the donor has been listed as an ‘institution’ and not as ‘individuals’,at least there should be some details to validate the funding.But this becomes suspicious,because it seems like even the Ministry of Home Affairs is not interested to cross check the missing details.Frontier Mission Society located in Churachandpur, Manipur received contribution directly from foreign source tuning to an amount of Rs 57 lakhs.But the details of the donors have not been disclosed while filing the annual return.Similarly, Lodestar Public School Trust received contribution directly from foreign source of amount Rs 10 lakhs but no details of the donors have been provided. There are around 10-15 organizations who have failed to provide such contact information while filing the annual return.

Covenant Children’s Home(CCH) is associated with it’s donor Presbyterian Mission International(PMI),the USA. CCH received almost Rs 1.5 crore from the donor.One important vision of PMI is ‘to labor in evangelism and church-planting, leadership training, holistic ministries and connecting churches internationally’.Khen and Rith Tombing from Manipur have been entitled with the ministry area of the northeast region.They have the responsibility of Church planting, evangelism, Reformed Bible Institute, Rayburn College and CCH.The purpose for the contribution made by PMI was ‘social’.But looking at the PMI’s mission and responsibilities,it looks more religious.

Conclusion

The filing of the report should not be the end in itself.The Ministry of Home Affairs should actively cross check all the details and further find the missing details.They should also check whether the funds received the original purpose is not misused by sharing the foreign contribution to other organizations.

Disclaimer: The report does not intent to harm the sentiments of any community.This is an objective report based on the data available from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Personal Blog. For details please mail me at observersindia@gmail.com

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending