Thursday, July 30, 2015

CSR norms cover 16,500 companies

As many as 16,500 companies in India fall under the purview of mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) norms, posing a challenge not only for those engaging in such causes for the first time but also others in terms of effective implementation and reporting, experts maintain.

"Companies have good intention to spend on CSR but are not able to manage the entire CSR lifecycle," said Parul Soni, global managing partner with Thinkthrough Consulting Global, which specialises in social development initiatives.

"They are unable to find good implementing partners -- those who are able to understand the vision of the company," Soni told a seminar co-hosted by the National HRD Network (NHRDN) and Thinkthrough Consulting.

"There is an immediate need to develop the capacity of the implementing partners across different domains so that they can sustainably implement the CSR vision of the company."

Stakeholders told the seminar that despite India emerging as one of the fast-growing economies, millions of Indians still live in abject poverty, putting the corporate sector under severe scrutiny due to such uneven development.

With Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 laying down the rules for CSR, the seminar focused on "From Act to Action" towards better implementation of the mandate given to the corporate sector, as also to prepare a blue print for the road ahead.

"CSR needs to focus on issues related to women empowerment, child nutrition. We say our children are the future of this country! Let's collectively make an effort to keep our future well nourished at an early age, as most of their growth happens during the first few years," Lalitha Kumarmangalam, chairperson of National Commission for Women, said.

"Also let's rise & contribute towards the women empowerment by ensuring financial independence, instilling soft skills and by making them technology savvy," she added.

Most NGO's or foundations for social welfare, are run by people with good intentions but the lack of execution and insufficient co-ordination with the corporates is not getting them the respect they deserve, K Ramkumar, national president NHRDN and executive director ICICI Bank said.

"It is this mismatch which is making the funds fall through the cracks."


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Foreign-funded NGOs must now transact online

NEW DELHI: Foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will soon have to conduct all their transactions and dealings online, including filing quarterly reports of the foreign contributions received by them.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2015, finalized by the home ministry and likely to be notified next month, seek to migrate from the current manual procedure of applying for FCRA registration and reporting foreign funding etc to a fully online system. To ensure a smooth transition to an online FCRA regime, the home ministry will make the final rules public after they are vetted by the law ministry. This is expected to happen in the next few days. NGOs will be given a lead time of two to three weeks to align with the new system, before the rules are notified.

"By making all FCRA dealings online, the home ministry hopes to eliminate the need for NGOs to manually file applications and returns as well as subsequent visits by their representatives to our FCRA division for a status update. This is our big step towards Digital India," home secretary L C Goyal told TOI on Sunday.

The draft FCRR uploaded on the home ministry website in June have been refined based on comments received from NGOs and others. For instance, though the original draft proposed a seven-day timeframe for reporting a foreign contribution, objections from both big and small NGOs led the home ministry to okay quarterly reporting of foreign contributions. "We realized that the seven-day window was rather impractical, and have now provided for reporting of foreign contributions every three months," said Goyal.

The draft rules have also relaxed the requirement for each FCRA-registered NGO to maintain a website. "Given that many small NGOs have limited resources or work in remote places, we are giving them an option to operate through the home ministry portal with a login name," said Goyal.

Incidentally, though some small NGOs also raised the issue of limited net connectivity in some areas to demand retention of the manual option, the ministry sees little merit in the argument. "For the 500-600 blocks that may not have net penetration, VSAT connectivity is being given," said the home secretary.

The home ministry has decided to make it optional for NGOs to provide details of their Twitter/Facebook handles. NGOs that receive nil foreign funding may no longer need to attach a chartered accountant's certificate with their returns; mere self-certification will suffice. Besides, dispensing with the mandatory prior permission for a change of directors or bank account, the home ministry has allowed NGOs to notify it subsequently.

As per the new rules, the list of 10 forms prescribed under FCRR 2011 has been cut to six, and the forms made simpler by eliminating the unnecessary fields and paperwork. The NGOs may fill up these forms online with a digital signature. For those with no digital signature, uploading a scanned copy of the manually signed form will suffice.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Apply for FCRA Renewal Now!

FCRA registration of old organisations will expire on 30-April-2016. They should file their renewal application in FC-5. This should be filed one year in advance.

The last date for filing this is 30-April-2015.

Those who are receiving small amounts of foreign contribution can file FC-5 by 31-Oct-Oct-2015.


· AccountAble 27: FCRA Renewal at

· Form FC-5 at

· This applies to all organisations who received their FCRA registration before 1-May-2011.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NGOs spending over Rs 20,000 in cash to attract intensive government scrutiny

NEW DELHI: Tightening the screws on Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and associations, the Home Ministryhas said that any association indulging in cash payments in the excess of Rs 20000 will attract "intensive scrutiny" from government.

This follows a detailed inspection lately of records and accounts of associations which have been granted prior permission by the government to receive foreign contributions. "It has been observed that some associations withdraw huge amounts of Foreign Contribution (FC) from their FC designated bank accounts and Utilisation accounts by cash," the Home Ministry said in a circular issued by a Joint Secretary on October 21, which ET has accessed.

he Home Ministry has asked NGOs to incur all expenditure above Rs 20000 by cheque or drafts. "As per the Income Tax Act, any expenditure incurred by certain category of NGOs in respect of which payment is made for a sum exceeding Rs 20000 otherwise than by an account payee cheque drawn on a bank or by an account payee bank draft, shall not be allowed as a deduction under the Income Tax Act," the Circular says.

It adds that the issue of fixing an upper limit for incurring expenditure by associations registered/granted permission under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 by cash from designated bank accounts has been "under consideration" of the government for some time. "The Government, after considering the issue, advises all FCRA associations that items of expenditure/payments amounting to Rs 20000 should be done by cheque or demand drafts," the Ministry says.

It has been further specified that the records and accounts of associations indulging in cash payments of Rs 20000 or more from the designated bank accounts "are likely to require more intensive scrutiny by government" and the circular has been issued with approval of the competent authority.


Monday, October 6, 2014

FCRA Notice to Indian NGOs 2014

The copy of the FCRA notice and the list of the organizations that have been issued notice are given in the link