In recent years, India has enacted a number of regulatory measures constricting funding for domestic non-profit organizations, the most well-known of which is the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
The FCRA was originally enacted in 1976, and significantly revised in 2010. It creates registration requirements and spending restrictions on Indian nonprofit organizations receiving foreign donations. The most recent 2020 amendments of the FCRA brought in additional restrictions, banning subgranting among FCRA-registered organizations, setting a severe cap on administrative spending, and further centralizing control of FCRA funding with the State Bank of Delhi and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The FCRA represents a securitized approach to foreign funding that is out of step with international standards. It obstructed humanitarian relief efforts in India during COVID-19 and other disasters.
Moreover, these restrictions on cross-border philanthropy have decreased employment in the social sector and obstructed service delivery to communities and beneficiaries. The FCRA’s significant economic and human impact continues to increase as more civil society organizations’ FCRA licenses are cancelled.