New Delhi, January 02 (KMS): Oxfam, a British founded confederation of 21 independent charitable organizations, has said its work in the country will be imperilled by the Modi government’s refusal to renew a licence that permits it to receive funds from abroad.
Oxfam is on a list of thousands of NGOs, according to local media reports, whose licence has not been renewed. Without the licence, these organisations can only use donations and contributions from within India.
“Oxfam India will reach out to the Ministry of Home Affairs and urge them to lift the funding restrictions to ensure vulnerable communities keep receiving the support they need at this critical time of the pandemic,” said the Oxfam India chief executive, Amitabh Behar, in a statement.
A few days ago, it emerged that Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, which works among people with leprosy, the dying, abandoned sick children, people with Aids and the destitute, has also been barred from receiving foreign funds. The home ministry said it had detected some “adverse inputs” in the audit of its accounts.
The drying up of funds is expected to have a major impact on the work of both organisations, along with many others whose licences have also not been renewed. Some donations will continue to come in from Indian philanthropists and charitable organisations but it will not cover the gigantic shortfall.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has been waging a campaign against NGOs and social activists, particularly those working among the rural poor, forest dwellers, the low castes, and the marginalised and on issues of inequality.
BJP leaders including the prime minister, Narendra Modi, have derided social activists as “anti-nationals” and “urban Naxalites” (a reference to revolutionaries fighting in the jungles of India to overthrow the state). They have also accused some NGOs of having links with extremist groups.
Analysts say the government sees NGOs, which by the very nature of their work speak out on its policies and human rights record, as a source of undesirable criticism.