NGOs and their overseas operations

Diwali greetings to SRRF colleagues!

Writing with a request for some guidance:

As part of one of our research studies, we are looking at Indian CSOs engagement with development cooperation. We have interviewed CSO voices some of who mentioned difficulties in terms of CSOs getting involved overseas to engage with development cooperation (in partnership with other agencies). In this regard, two specific queries were:

  • Does the FCRA limit or prevent Indian CSOs from establishing subsidiary offices overseas? If so, in what way? Are the limitations strictly in terms of income tax liabilities?
  • What does the Income Tax Act/ Direct Taxes Code state with regard to the above issue?

Would be most grateful if someone could throw some light on this?

Best wishes,

Pooja Parvati
Research Manager, Oxfam India

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | 1 Comment

Cash payments of more than Rs 20,000 prohibited by FCRA Department

FCRA Dept has come out with a Circular dated 21st October 2014, as per which that NGOs utilizing funds out of their FC Designated accounts and FCRA Utilisation Accounts must utilize these funds through account payee cheques or through demand drafts. Any payments made in cash could result in scrutiny.

Thus please bring it to notice of all NGOs (share on facebook by clicking send link) that you are associated with to shun cash payments to the extent possible, but certainly no payments above Rs 20,000 should be made in cash.

You can access the circular from the following link:                                         

Socio Research & Reform Foundation (NGO)
512 A, Deepshikha, 8 Rajendra Place, New Delhi – 110008
Telefax: 91-11-25722044, 25821088, 25817157
e-mail:; website:

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | 1 Comment

New Ideas required for improved learning at Schools

While everyone acknowledges the success of enrollment achieved (as high as 96% in some states), however most of us are also aware of the decline in learning standards in India, which ASER survey identified (earlier covered by SRRF visit ). There have been a few experiments undertaken by NGOs in Gujarat, which could provide indicators on how the problem could be tackled. These have been covered in an article published recently in Indian Express.

First the context, ASER survey identified that in rural Ahemdabad 41% in classes I & II are unable to read letters or words, and 35% cannot recognize numbers 1-9. The ASER Report also identifies that children in private school were much better off. For example, it found that while in Govt schools only 13% of Class III could subtract, in private schools it was 34%. Some have argued that comparing govt schools with private is not fair, since private schools being more expensive, normally would attract students from more educated and privileged background.

Hence a comparison for 2009-2010 was made between non-formal free schools run by an NGO called Gyanshala in slums of Ahemdabad and schools run by Ahemdabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). In similar tests for language and mathematics Gyanshala students scored 80 out of 100 while AMC students scored only around 60. However for non-standard questions (for which students were not tutored) difference was huge (70-80% for Gyanshala students and 20-30% for AMC students).

Gyanshala’s instruments for reaching these results include hiring of 12th pass students and train them intensively for 30 days annually. Further they are regularly supervised and supported by a dedicated team and curriculum regularly updated. This keeps teachers motivated and students also eager to learn.

Perhaps there is a lesson in this for education authorities on how to find innovative solutions. Perhaps CSR professionals need to identify how their programmes could help in filling these gaps in government school programmes, rather than running their own schools for a larger impact.

  • Based on an Indian Express article dt. 20 Sep 2014Schooled Against Innovation


Socio Research & Reform Foundation (NGO)
512 A, Deepshikha, 8 Rajendra Place, New Delhi – 110008
e-mail:; website:

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Dear Sir:

I have a two-fold query regarding Sec 25 Companies under the Companies Act of 1956 (now presented as Sec 8 Companies under the Companies Act 2013):

1. Do existing Sec 25 Companies have to re-register under Sec 8, or are they subsumed under the new law, and treated as Sec 8 Companies by extension? I ask, because the existing licenses clearly note that the company is registered under Sec 25 of the Companies Act). Do Sec 25 Companies now automatically stand converted to Sec 8 Companies – and if yes, what is the documentary evidence of this that the Company needs to produce or quote?

2. How does the changed wording regarding remuneration to members impact Sec 25 companies?

Compare Clause 6 of the Sec 25 license which says:”Noting in Clauses (3), (4) and (5) shall prevent the payment by the company in good faith, with the previous approval of the Central Government, of reasonable and proper remuneration to any of its members in return for any services (not being services of a kind which are required to be rendered by a member), actually rendered to the company;” and Clause 5 of the new Sec 8 license, which reads: “that nothing in clauses (3) and (4) shall prevent the payment by the company in good faith of prudent remuneration to any of its members in return for services (not being services of a kind which are required to be rendered by a member), actually rendered to the company.”

I especially note the crucial dropping of “with the previous approval of the Central Government” and the substitution of “reasonable and proper remuneration” by “prudent remuneration”.
Any comments would be deeply appreciated!

(5) that nothing in clauses (3) and (4) shall prevent the payment by the company in good faith of prudent remuneration to any of its members in return for any services (not being services of a kind which are required to be rendered by a member), actually rendered to the company;

Warm regards,

Ideosync Media Combine
H.No.1381, Sector 37
Faridabad – 121 003
Haryana – India

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | Tagged | 3 Comments

Is grant received from UNWOMEN exempted under FCRA?

Dear All,

lease let me know if grant received from UNWOMEN is exempted under the FCRA law.



Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | 5 Comments

Help line for filing of FCRA online return

मान्यवर ,

सानुरोध पूरक कहना है की दलित विकास अभियान समिति , बिहार मे वंचित वर्गो के बीच सेवारत है | Socio Research & Reform Foundation हमे किस तरह की सहयोग प्रदान कर सकती है ,प्लीज हमे मार्गदर्शित किया जाय ,

साथ ही आपकी वेब देखकर मुझे येसा महसूश हुया की अब हमारी परेसानी दूर हो जागी, हमारी मुख्य परेशानी एफ सी आर ऑनलाइन रिटर्न भरना है जो नहीं हो प रहा है , मई चाहूँगा की आप हमे मदद करे |


धर्मेंद्र कुमार


दलित विकास अभियान समिति

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | 3 Comments

FCRA Dept is sending notice to almost 10,000 organisations for failing to file FCRA returns

FCRA Dept is in the process of sending notices to as many as 10,000 organisations all over India who have not filed their annual returns during any financial year during FY 2009-10, 2010-11 & 2011-12. It is asking organisations who have filed returns for these years to write to the Dept with evidences that returns have been filed.

Good thing is that learning from its past experience the Dept has not enmass cancelled all these registrations, but is in the process of sending individual notices.

It is sending notices to organisations individually. But the catch is that it is sending the notice at the address last available with it. It is possible that addresses at Dept. may not have correct addresses or even end up sending it to wrong addresses, however Dept is likely to assume that the organisation does not exist and may go ahead with cancelling the registration.

Hence we suggest that all NGOs please check, in case name of your organisation exists on this list and if so, please immediately write to the Dept. with all evidences that you may have regarding filing of your returns for the three years mentioned above.

Socio Research & Reform Foundation (NGO)
512 A, Deepshikha, 8 Rajendra Place, New Delhi – 110008
e-mail:; website:

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | Tagged | 3 Comments

Can we deposit refunds from travel agent in to FCRA A/c?

Dear Sir,

I had the opportunity to attend one of your seminars recently Ahmedabad. I am writing this mail seeking clarification on one of the matters concerning FCRA.

We recently made a booking through a travel agent for an FCRA project from our FCRA bank account. Due to some reason, we have had to cancel the booking. We are unlikely to transact again with the same travel agent in future and so cannot adjust the refund against future booking. In this context if the agent offers us a cheque of refund amount, should we deposit it in the FC bank a/c or non- FC a/c? What are the implications in either case?

Looking forward to your expert advice. Thanking you in advance.

Richard Mascarenhas
Sense International India
Working with deafblind people
Administrative Block, Andhjan Mandal Campus
Vastrapur, Ahmedabad – 380 015. Gujarat, India.

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | 3 Comments

Applicability of Service Tax

Dear Sir,

My organization is working in Orissa on disaster management. We availed services from one agency (local based) and their total bill throughout the financial year crossed Rs. 14 lakhs . Agency is not claiming the service tax. Please let me know , if agency does not claim service tax if their total bill amount exceeds Rs. 10 lakhs in a financial year then whether reverse liability will come on us ? Since we are registered NGO of orissa and we do not want to violate any rules. Whether paying service tax liability will come on us at any point of time ?


Rajiv Kohli

Posted in FCRA, TAX, LEGAL | Tagged | 2 Comments

Draft Central Bill on Road safety

Dear Friends,

Please consider sending our group’s comments on the subject bill to the ministry.
My preliminary comments: ( Detailed comments require in depth study)

The bill deals with constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights to life, free and safe mobility, equality before law and inclusiveness.

Vehicle worthy and pedestrian worthy roads are as important, if not more, as road worthy vehicles. The bill lacks in enough focus on pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian infrastructure includes well maintained public sanitary facilities, to keep environment clean and safe for all, not just prevention of vehicular pollution. Municipal garbage boxes / heavy bins / houses which mostly affect the pedestrians, should be removed / demolished from Road sides. Garbage vehicles should move the trash ( appropriately segregated right at the sources) straight from the source to the recycling units / appropriately designed landfills.

Enforcing Air quality standards is part of right to life.

Foot paths and gaps in road dividers should be wheel chair friendly. It should be recognized that he needs of dumb and deaf are different from the needs of people with sight defects – blindness and color blindness. 305-page document should give details of inclusive safety measures.

Villages /Towns along National and State Highways should have local citizens’ committees on Road safety. Respective Transport authorities should convene meetings of such committees on yearly basis without fail and as per seasonal needs. Panchayaths and Municipal wards along village/ city roads should have ward representation in all activities from Road design to O,M&E (with reference to pedestrian facilities and quality of Road construction).

(310) Offences relating to visibility.

(182) City Safety and Traffic Management Improvement Program

CHAPTER II: Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority of India

(5) Composition of the National Authority and selection committee
(24) Composition of the State Safety Authority.
25) Selection committee for appointing the Chairperson and the members of the State Safety

Representation of Civil Society Organisations on National and State Authorities and selection committees will be part of the inclusiveness the bill intends to focus on.

Those who take accident victims to Hospitals should not be required to visit Police Stations and Courts. They may be requested to give their addresses to the Hospital / Police, if present at the hospital.

They may be visited by the representatives of Government and/or Police station for obtaining any additional information. Hospital expenses in all accident cases, not just the Golden hour expenses, should be borne by either Insurance Companies or paid for from The National Road Accident Fund. Victims of accidents or their kith and kin should not be made to pay.

Accident claims (Compensation) need to be settled within six months of the accident. The affected parties can go to the Court within two months from the date of accepting the payment from Insurance / Government. All court cases related to such compensation should be concluded within six months from the date of filing the case.

(312) Railroad Crossing Offences
In a globalized India, having unmanned Rail-Road crossings is an anachronism. Many accidents take place in several states at unmanned Rail-Road crossings. Both the Ministries of Road transport and Railways should modernize all such crossings and related signaling system within two years.

(316) Failure to comply with standards for road design, construction & maintenance
Please see the suggestion under (338)

(321) Power to arrest without warrant.
Citizens have a right to arrest the Traffic rule violators or those whose actions resulted in accidents till police arrive at the spot and take the violator into custody.

(338) Co-operative Citizen Enforcement [Refer to (316) and sections dealing with M&E frameworks]
Yearly mandatory social audit of the status of Pedestrian infrastructure and quality of roads which includes ground truth verification of utilization of O&M allocations both at State and Central levels.


Posted in Pedestrian safety | 5 Comments