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Bill to regulate foreign contribution to religious and social ogranisations

New Delhi, Aug 27 (Calcutta Tube) A bill aimed at putting a check on the huge flow of foreign funds to religious and social ogranisations is all set to become a law after the Lok Sabha Friday passed the legislation.

The Rajya Sabha passed the bill a week earlier.

The bill, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Bill, 2006, replaces the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976.

The new legislation, moved by the home ministry, received an overwhelming support from the house, with members expressing concerns over the illegal money flow into the country in the wake of changed internal security situation.

Once the bill gets the president’s assent and becomes a law, churches, temple and mosque trusts, religious outfits, voluntary organisations and even political parties will have to account for the money they receive from overseas donors.

It will help in debarring people prosecuted or convicted for indulging in activities like forcible religious conversions and those prosecuted or convicted for triggering communal tension from receiving foreign contributions, Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken told the Lok Sabha before the bill was passed.

The minister assured the house that the bill does not limit legitimate charitable and social activities to access foreign funds.

The bill gives the government the power to cancel registration of organisations that receive unaccounted foreign funds.

Maken said over 40,000 organisations were receiving foreign contribution in the country, and ‘half of them do not file accounts and report the inflow of funds’.

‘We need a stricter law to regulate (foreign) money,’ he said.

It also prohibits all organisations of a ‘political nature’ from receiving any foreign contribution and gives the central government powers to classify any organisation in this category.

The bill adds that the central government may deny, suspend or cancel certification under certain conditions.

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