In a recent notification released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, FCRA Wing, the Government has extended the deadline to open the FCRA account with the SBI- New Delhi Main Branch from March 31st, 2021 to June 30th, 2021. This has come in light of various multiple petitions filed by the NGOs in courts stating about the poor implementation of the recently amended Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). During October, 2020, the Government brought various amendments in the FCRA including opening of the FCRA account with SBI – New Delhi Main Branch. Post which all the foreign funds are to be received in the SBI FCRA Account and the existing FCRA account of the companies were to be blocked for receiving any foreign funds in it.
Given the current pandemic situation, the above amendment had tied hands of various NGOs receiving foreign funds since the accounts are blocked by Government from March 31st 2021. The NGOs have been arguing in the courts about the cumbersome process of applying and opening the SBI –FCRA Account. In some cases where account was opened in SBI for FCRA. The NGOs were waiting for government approval on Form FC-6 which government has been taking inordinate time to approve. This has delayed and halted lot of COVID relief work carried out by these NGOs.
Considering above, the Government has finally given some relief by extending the deadline for further period upto 30th June, 2021. The notification dated 18th May, 2021 states that-
The existing FCRA account holders have now to open the “FCRA Account” in the New Delhi Main Branch (NDMB) of the State Bank of India, 11 Sansad Marg, New Delhi-110001 up to 30th June, 2021 or earlier. After that date they shall not be eligible to receive FC in any account other than the “FCRA Account” opened in the NDMB.
All the persons/NGOs/Associations who already have been granted certificate of registration or prior permission by Central Government may take note that they shall not receive any FC in any account other than the designated “FCRA Account” opened at NDMB of the 581, 11, Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110001 from the date of opening of such account OR 1st July, 2021, whichever is earlier.
Now, a number of companies and NGOs will gear up for the opening of the FCRA account and this will also help to some extent the Government to streamline and process the applications in a timely manner.