MHA asks defaulting associations to validate their FCRA designated bank account
“Government puts 1,200 NGOs on notice” screams a headline in ‘The Hindu’.
The report states: “The Home Ministry has sent notices to over 1,200 NGOs, asking them to validate the designated bank accounts in which they receive foreign contribution, failure of which will invite punitive action”.
To read the full article, please go to:
The Times of India has carried a similar report with the headline stating: “Government asks 1,222 NGOs to validate bank accounts”.
To read the full article, please go to:
At CAP we have been receiving a number of queries from anxious NGOs already registered under FCRA 2010, wanting to know if they need to do anything or stay vigilant about.
In our opinion the Circular dated 8th September 2017 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is quite clear and self-explanatory.
To read MHA’s circular please click on the following link:
It is important to understand that all that MHA has asked defaulting NGOs to do is validate their designated FCRA Bank account details.
There are several instances of NGOs who receive funds from foreign source/s directly into their FCRA Utilization Accounts instead of the main designated FCRA Bank Account. In several other cases NGOs have failed to provide MHA with details of their FCRA Utilization Accounts. All this and more should be checked, verified and updated (if required) by every registered organization using online Form FC 6.
Use this simple three step check list
1. Do you have only one designated FCRA Bank account?
If yes, please ensure that the name of the bank, branch and account number is the same as on your FCRA registration certificate.
Also, go to FCRA online and click on Form FC6 to check if the bank and other details therein match and are up to date.
2. If you have a designated FCRA Bank account do you also have Utilization Bank Accounts?
If yes, please ensure that all foreign contributions are first received in your main designated FCRA account and only after that amounts are moved to your "FCRA linked Utilization bank account/s"
Also, once again, go to FCRA online and click on Form FC6 to check if all the utilization bank account/s and other details are up to date.
3. Finally, please check whether your FCRA Bank account is with a Scheduled Bank having core banking facilities?
Most Nationalized Banks and Private Banks qualify under both.
What is FCRA linked Utilization Account?
Generally, FCRA Utilization account or accounts may be opened under two circumstances.
Situation 1. Let us assume the NGO is registered in Mumbai and has its main FCRA Bank account with the State Bank of India, Fort Branch in Mumbai.
Now let us also assume that this NGO runs projects and programs in Nashik and Sholapur and these projects are funded by foreign contributions. There are project staff and regular activities at both these places. Payments also need to be regularly made at both these places.
Under the circumstances, the NGO may open an FCRA linked Project Utilization Bank Account in Nashik and Sholapur. This should preferably be with the same Bank (in this case, State Bank) and with clear instructions to the main Bank as also the banks in Nashik and Sholapur that this is an FCRA linked Utilization Account.
No local money should be deposited in these utilization accounts and when the utilization accounts are closed all the funds from these accounts should be transferred to the main designated FCRA Bank account.
Situation 2. Now, let us assume that a foreign donor / grant maker (let's assume XYZ Foundation USA) insists that the entire donation / grant should be maintained by NGO ABC in a separate Bank account. This is now quite a common request from funders.
Once again funds from XYZ Foundation must be first credited to the designated FCRA Bank account and then moved to a Utilization Account, once again preferably with the same bank marked "NGO ABC - XYZ Foundation - FCRA Utilization Account".