'Good work doesn't give civil society groups immunity from laws'

Good work doesnt give civil society groups immunity from laws

New York: Defending the Indian government's crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs for legal violations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that "doing good work" does not give civil society groups immunity from laws.

Speaking on Monday at the Council on Foreign Relations here, he said that while contributions have been coming in for good purposes, "we have also suffered on account of some forms of funds coming into India for activities which we don't appreciate."

Answering a question about restrictions placed on civil society groups and foundations receiving foreign funds, Jaitley said the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) has legal requirements that an organisation receiving funds for a particular purpose has to use it for that and file annual returns.

It was found that many groups did not follow the procedures and action was being taken against them, he said.

"The fact that you are doing good work as a civil society organisation doesn't give you any immunity to work outside the law," he said. "That procedure under the law will still have to be followed."

India has come under pressure from the US government and lawmakers over restrictions placed on multi-million dollar remittances by a Christian missionary organisation, Compassion International, which says on its website that for strategic reasons it works with local churches to provide Christian teachings to children that it aids.