FCRA funding expose Part 2: Evangelists buying land in India
In Part 1 of this series, we saw how Organizations (primarily NGOs, but a few GOs as well) receiving foreign funds via FCRA, use that money to earn more money, and the quantum of such money in circulation within India.
Summary of Part 1
- NGOs earn around Rs. 150 Crore per annum via interest from the amount accruing in the FCRA designated bank account.
- NGOs earn around Rs. 600 Crore per annum as interest from the amount they have deposited in Fixed Deposits and similar instruments. Assuming a 10% interest, this amounts to Rs. 6000 Crores (or USD 1 Billion) deposited by them in such instruments.
- A huge chunk of funds to mini-NGOs comes from Control-NGOs, and the total magnitude of such intra-India fund flows is around Rs. 1200 Crore per annum.
In this part, we shall examine the quantum of these funds that Indian organizations/NGOs receive via FCRA for the specific purpose of “Purchase of Land.” Note that that this head, “purchase of land” is also disclosed in the FC6 returns.
Now, this Head of Account is perhaps one of the most significant as it has long-term, and far-reaching implications.
For starters, a large number of Indian NGOs—that is, owned and run by Indian citizens—receive their funds predominantly from one or two foreign Organizations: that is, owned and run in foreign countries by citizens of the respective country.
In many instances, these Indian-owned NGOs even have the exact name as their foreign donor. Thus, they are effectively branch offices of their foreign-headquartered Organization. Therefore, it is imperative that we study the land holdings of such nominally Indian NGOs.
Methodology of calculation
As with the earlier part of this series, we can examine the FC6 return filed by these Indian NGOs every year with the Ministry of Home Affairs. There are approximately 22000 such returns (one per NGO) filed each year, available at http://fcraonline.nic.in/fc3_amount.aspx.
The authors of this report have examined all of them for all the years between 2006—2012.
We explain our methodology through the example of Jeevan Jyoti Charitable Society (JJCS) located at Jeevan Jyoti Ashram, Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. Its FC6 return for the year 2012-2013 can be found at: http://fcraonline.nic.in/fc3_verify.aspx?RCN=063510004R&by=2012-2013.
On that web page, if we move our cursor down on the FC6 return to Item No. 5, we can view data which shows the following:
There are two parts of donations to this NGO: Institutional Donors [Item 5(A)] and Individual Donors [Item 5(B)]. The red rectangle shows that Rs. 127983 was received by JJCS from St. Roberts Church, Indiana, USA towards “Purchase of Land.”
Just as we have put a red rectangle around “Purchase of Land” in the FC6 return of JJCS, we follow a similar process for the returns of all the NGOs, wherever purchase of land is stated in their respective returns.
When we add up such amounts for all NGOs located across India, we get the following result tabulated state-wise and year-wise. Click the graphic below to view its full size.
Table 1: Foreign funds received (via FCRA) by Organizations (NGOs, GOs) located in each State towards the Purchase of Land
The following graph shows the change in the total amounts remitted into India for this period for buying land.
From the table and the graph, it clear that:
- Year after year, about Rs. 50 Crore has been remitted via FCRA by Evangelical organizations from abroad for the purpose of purchasing land in India.
- In 2011-12 and 2012-13, the amounts are unusually large. When we examined the returns, it showed an increased influx of funds for buying land in the name an Organization whose FCRA registration is in the Delhi sequence, but which is physically located in Bangalore. It is called Indian Society Of Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, located at #493, Anjali Plaza, C.M.H. Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore, Karnataka – 560038. We get an idea of their activities in India from their website http://lds.org.in/districts-in-india-bangalore-mission. Their FC6 returns for the year 2011 and 2012 are here and here respectively.
- According to FCRA laws, an organization located in a given State need not spend the foreign funds it receives in the same State.
- It must not be forgotten that after the Government, the Church is the largest landowner in India, and this ownership is growing at an alarming rate.