[Tracking the money trail is a new series that will track the money trail of feminist NGOs. All NGO that receive Foreign Funds submits FCRA return with Ministry of Home Affairs in a format called FC-6 forms. The data is available online and can be checked from here
All such funding details of feminist NGOs can be seen here]
Lawyer’s Collective Donors
A recent report of former Addl. Solicitor General of India, Ms. Indira Jaisingh’s NGO Lawyers’ Collective (LCI) receiving notice from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for utilizing foreign funds differently than for the purposes for which these were received has sparked a controversy. Here are the details of their funding received from 2006 –
Country Wise Donations To LCI –
Even though Funds raised through Indian groups is second highest in the above list from the first table we come to know that these Indian groups were only Indian wings of different foreign establishments like Ford Foundation and SIDA.
Purpose of Funding To LCI
If we look at the purpose for which these funds were received by LCI, we will find the following –
Ford Foundation (Total amount donated 6.1 crores)–
- Women Empowerment
- Awareness about AIDS/ Treatment and rehabilitation of persons affected by AIDS
- Awareness Camp / Seminar / Workshop / Meeting / Conferences
Swedish organization SIDA’s India wing has given ~4.7 crore Rupees for AIDS awareness.
US organization Levi Strauss Foundation has donated 4.6 crores since 2009 towards Awareness Camps / Seminars / Meetings in general and for AIDS.
Almost the whole funding of 3.9 crores from Swiss firm Foundation Open Society Institute was for seminars and awareness camps.
US organization Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Action Funds has given Rs. 2.3 crore for awareness camps, seminars etc between 2008-2012.
World Health Organization (WHO) funds were for Awareness on AIDS and seminars and conferences.
A point to note that some of these donors were also found funding NGOs in different other sectors and inhibiting projects designed for India’s growth. Ford Foundation was found to have funded environmental group Greenpeace that has worked in the past to stall developmental projects by creating and inciting violence/protests in those areas.
How LCI violated FCRA
As this India Today report suggests, the main issues with LCI funding were in the areas of –
- Paying volunteers for organizing dharnas
- Receiving foreign money as remuneration while Indira Jaisingh was holding a govt. post
- Sending foreign donations outside India
- Spending foreign money to lobby with parliamentarians
According to the news–
“The utilization of Foreign Contribution for advocacy indulging in lobbying with MPs and thereby influencing the political process and parliamentary institutions is in clear violation of the letter and spirit of the FCRA Act. Section 3 of the FCRA clearly prohibits acceptance of foreign contribution by any member of any party so that parliamentary institutions are not influenced in any manner.”
In the latest release on their website, LCI has expressed anger and outrage over the leak of this information and denied the allegations.
Ironically Indira Jaisingh said in 1998 that NGOs that accept foreign funding develops vested interest –
This reveals that Indira Jai Singh does not believe in what she preaches. When the funding is in crores this can happen anytime.
Other news that will concern you –
- Anand Grover (husband of Indira Jaisingh and a trustee of LC) was the defense advocate for Yakub Memon and criticized India hanging Yakub
- LC is representing Gujrat based Social Activist Teesta Seetalvad whose NGO is facing a CBI inquiry on FCRA violations (Newslink)
- Ford Foundation was found funding other social and environmental NGOs that obstruct projects for India’s growth (Link)