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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Calcutta diocese unaffected by Church of North India’s FCRA licence revocation

Reverend Paritosh Canning said the Calcutta diocese had 'only a few projects that are dependent on foreign contribution'. A home in Behala is one of those projects

Jhinuk Mazumdar Calcutta Published 12.12.23, 05:43 AM
Paritosh Canning.

Paritosh Canning. File Photo.

The Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India has a separate FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) account that remains unaffected amid “talks of the revocation of the FCRA licence of the Church of North India”, Reverend Paritosh Canning, bishop of the Calcutta diocese, told The Telegraph on Monday.

An FCRA licence is mandatory for any NGO or association if it has to receive foreign funds.

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Reverend Canning said the Calcutta diocese had “only a few projects that are dependent on foreign contribution”. A home in Behala is one of those projects.

“We barely receive any foreign funds now,” he said.

The Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India governs 15 English-medium and 15 Bengali-medium schools, some of the oldest institutions in the city.

None of the schools receives foreign contributions, they all are run on CNI-generated funds, the bishop clarified.

“Our schools receive no foreign funding. They run on the tuition fees,” the bishop said.

Other NGOs in Calcutta that receive foreign funds said that over the past few years, the rules for FCRA licences had become stringent.

“We have to be careful with the documentation because our projects are at the mercy of foreign funds. If we do not receive foreign funding, we cannot run our projects,” said a senior official of an NGO that works with children and women.

Another official said that foreign funds had to be utilised for the specific purpose they had been allocated for.

“If we have received the foreign contribution for a nutrition project, it has to be spent just on that. It cannot be utilised for an education project,” said an official of Calcutta Rescue, which receives foreign funds for some of its social work.

“The proposals that we submit to the fundraising team or the support groups for contribution have to be streamlined so that there is no excess of funds. If our expenses exceed the funds provided by a foreign donor, we inform the donor that we have spent their funds and are now utilising local funds for the rest of the project,” said the Calcutta Rescue official.

Every FCRA registration has to be renewed every five years.

“We have to file the returns every year,” said Arjun Dutta, president of the NGO Calcutta Social Project.

“Questions keep coming and we have to be well prepared to answer them. For example, if we have bought a property, we have to be prepared to answer with whose money the NGO has bought it,” said Dutta.

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