Amended FCRA rules will now allow relatives to send up to Rs 10 lakhs to Indians without any restrictions    

Indians are now permitted to receive up to Rs. 10 lakh annually from relatives who live overseas without telling the authorities, thanks to changes made by the Union Home Ministry to certain provisions relating to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

The previous cap was Rs. 1 lakh.

The home ministry also stated in a statement that instead of 30 days, if the sum surpasses, the people would now have 90 days to notify the government. The home ministry published a gazette notification of the new regulations, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2022, on Friday night.

The announcement said, “In rule 6 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011, the terms “one lakh rupees” shall be replaced with “ten lakh rupees,” and the phrases “thirty days” shall be replaced with “three months.”

The disclosure of receiving foreign cash from relatives is covered under Rule 6.

Before, it was written that “any individual receiving foreign contribution from any of his relatives in excess of Rs 1 lakh or equivalent in a financial year should report the Central Government (details of money) within 30 days from the receipt of such contribution.”

Similarly, the updated regulations have given people and organisations or NGOs 45 days to tell the home ministry about bank account (s) that are to be utilised for utilisation of such monies. Rule 9 deals with application of getting “registration” or “prior authorisation” under the FCRA to accept donations. This time frame expired thirty days ago.

Provision “b” of Rule 13—which required the central government to publish on its website quarterly declarations of foreign funds—along with donor information, the amount received, the date of receipt, etc.—has also been “omitted” by the government.

Anyone receiving foreign funding under the FCRA will now need to abide by the existing requirement to post the audited statement of accounts on receipts and utilisation of the foreign contribution, including income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account, and balance sheet for each financial year beginning on the first of April, within nine months of the financial year’s end, on its official website or on the website as specified by the Center.

A requirement that an NGO or an individual receiving foreign donations required to disclose such contributions on its official website every three months has also been eliminated.

The home ministry now gives organisations receiving foreign funding 45 days instead of 15 days to notify it of changes to their bank account, name, address, goals, or key personnel.

The home ministry had strengthened the FCRA regulations in November 2020, making it clear that NGOs that may not be directly affiliated with a political party but participate in political action such as bandhs, strikes, or road blockades will be regarded as having a political nature if they engage in active politics or party politics.

Farmers’ organisations, student organisations, labour organisations, and caste-based organisations are among the organisations included in this category.

Government officials prohibited public employees from collecting foreign funds under the FCRA amendment, and they made Aadhaar a requirement for all NGOs’ office holders.

According to the new regulation, organisations that receive foreign funding are not permitted to utilise more than 20% of those cash for administrative needs. Before 2020, this percentage was capped at 50%.

All NGOs that receive funding are required by law to register with the FCRA.