Foreign-Funded NGOs: Why IB Report Makes Complete Sense

IB report claims that a significant number of Indian NGOs (funded by some donors based in the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries) have been noticed …

Non-governmental organizations or NGOs as they are called are considered to be the “help” which a country may need to achieve better results when it comes to development, health, education and human rights.

But in India, it seems the opposite is happening.

A leaked Intelligence Bureau report on the NGOs working in the country suggests that foreign-funded NGOs are “negatively impacting economic development” of the country.

The 21 page IB report, date June 3 and signed by IB joint director SA Rizvi, was submitted to Prime Minister’s Office claiming the “negative impact of the NGOs’ role on GDP” growth to be “2-3 per cent per annum”.

“A significant number of Indian NGOs (funded by some donors based in the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries) have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment which lends itself to stalling development projects,” the report says.

In fact, IB went ahead and called Greenpeace – perhaps the biggest NGO working in India with foreign funding – “a threat to national economic security”.

According to a report in the Indian Express, IB report has cited activities of Greenpeace “ranging from protests against nuclear and coal plants and funding of “sympathetic” research, to allegedly helping out an Aam Aadmi Party candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections.”

Although many other foreign funded NGOs have been named in the IB’s report, that lists seven sectors/projects that got stalled because of NGO-created agitations against nuclear power plants, uranium mines, coal-fired power plants, farm biotechnology, mega industrial projects, hydroelectric plants and extractive industries, but the Greenpeace has received the major criticism.

“It (Greenpeace) is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence,” it notes. The efforts are focused on “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy”.

The report further accuses Greenpeace of “contravening laws to change the dynamics of India’s energy mix”. As IE puts it, “the bureau says Greenpeace’s ‘superior network’ of numerous pan-India organisations has helped conduct anti-nuclear agitations and mounted “massive efforts to take down India’s coal fired power plants and coal mining activity”. As its next target, IB claims, Greenpeace will take on India’s IT sector over e-waste among other “next targets”.

The report also accuses Greenpeace, “actively aided and led by foreign activists visiting India”, of violating the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 (FCRA). The FCRA prohibits foreign-funded organizations from political activity, yet Greenpeace helped its former consultant Pankaj Singh who stood as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Sidhi Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh in the recent general elections. Mahan coal mines – which Greenpeace has been protesting aginst – falls under this constituency.

The IB report says that Singh’s organisation Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, which is leading the agitation in Singrauli district against both public and private sector coal mines, received regular funding from Greenpeace. Singh is the Samiti’s co-founder.

However, the IE reports, that Singh has denied any truck with Greenpeace. Also, Bharati Sinha, communication director at Greenpeace, told the newspaper that Singh resigned from the organization to take part in the political activities. But she is quoted to have said that Greenpeace “does not support any political party, but engages with all”.

The IB report has also alleged Greenpeace of financing “sympathetic studies” at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and at IIT-Delhi. The IB report claims Greenpeace’s “funding of research bodies” is a “massive effort” that has not attained high visibility so far. “To encourage Indian-ness of its anti-coal approach, Greenpeace has financed Tata Institute of Social Sciences to study health, pollution and other aspects at Mahan and plans to use this case to ban all coal blocks,” it says.

This is not the first time that the foreign-funded NGOs are being accused of anti-national activities. It should be noted that the hounourable Delhi High Court had noted that 99% NGOs are “fraud” and “merely money making devices”. According to reports in The Time Of India, in 2010, India has possibly the largest number of active non-government, not-for-profit organizations in the world. According to a study commissioned by the government, there was one NGO for less than 400 people in the country. Many organizations have been repeatedly accused of being involved in dubious activities and anti-development activities to stall the growth of India.

In 2012, four NGOs were put under the scanner after being accused of having fuelled protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu.

It should be noted that all these NGOs receive their foreign funding from the American or European countries which are supposedly the base for American politicians for controlling the outcome in foreign nations due to various tactics. A report in The Sunday Guardian had quoted a retired US official alleging that former secretary of state and possibly a Presidential runner Hillary Clinton “likes to operate through NGOs, which are given funding through indirect channels, and which target individuals and countries seen as less than respectful to her views on foreign and domestic policy in the target countries,” a retired US official now based in Atlanta said.

The report further strengthens the claims made by IB when it says: He claimed that “rather than US NGOs, (the former) Secretary of State Clinton favoured operating through organisations based in the Netherlands, Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, especially Norway” as these were outside the radar of big power politics. These NGOs were active in the agitation against the Russian nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, with “funding coming mainly from a religious organisation based in Europe that has close links with France”.

Interestingly, all these major foreign-funded NGOs, including Greenpeace, were brought to India by the UPA government which governed the country for 10 years. The Sunday Guardian report says: Incidentally, French companies are in direct competition with Russian rivals in seeking to expand the market for nuclear reactors in India. The senior official, now on a visit to India, claimed that “your (i.e. the Manmohan Singh) government has full details of the religious organisation involved in funding the Kudankulam protests, but is keeping this secret as the organisation has high-level backers” in the UPA.

Another report in IBTL makes a direct hit on the AAP leader and activist Medha Patkar saying that she is “a scheming person, who has no qualms about breaking the law and whose sources of funding are mysterious”. The author of the report claims that Patkar influenced a Supreme Court order to help foreign elements and that her Narmada Bachao Andolan is a farce serving the same.

The Government now needs to take strong steps towards making FCRA more stringent. Till the latest news, the PMO has written to all the ministries twice, asking them to furnish details of NGOs working with them on various projects in the wake of the IB report. It is a welcome step given the revelation that the NGOs are trying to subvert our economy.

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