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NGOs may open FCRA a/c in single SBI branch by March 31 next year; can receive foreign funds in existing a/c till then | India News

NEW DELHI: The home ministry, in a bid to ease the transition of NGOs and associations to the stricter regime mandated by the recently-amended Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), has granted them time until March 31, 2021, to open a designated ‘FCRA account’ in SBI main branch at New Delhi to exclusively receive foreign contributions. Until such an account is opened or starting April 1, 2021, whichever is earlier, the entities concerned may continue to receive foreign contributions in their existing accounts in any bank.
However, all applicants for fresh registration or prior permission under FCRA, 2010, will have to first open the FCRA account in the New Delhi Main Branch (NDMB) of SBI at 11, Sansad Marg, to receive any foreign funding upon being granted FCRA certificate or prior nod.
Receipt of all foreign contributions in a designated FCRA account in New Delhi branch of SBI is mandated by the recently amended Section 17 of FCRA. The ministry had last week notified the New Delhi main branch (NDMB) of SBI at 11, Sansad Marg for this purpose.
“The Central government has decided to grant sufficient time to the existing ‘FCRA account’ holders for transitioning to the new regime. They can open the ‘FCRA Accounts’ in the NDMB till 31st March, 2021,” the home ministry’s FCRA wing said in a public notice put out on Tuesday.
Home ministry said directions are being issued to all scheduled banks in the country not to receive any foreign contribution in existing accounts of NGOs and associations registered or given prior nod under FCRA.
It further added that the NGOs need not visit the SBI, New Delhi main branch to open the ‘FCRA account’. They may approach the nearest SBI branch or any chosen branch of SBI for the same. The NGOs will also be at liberty to retain their present FCRA account as another ‘FCRA account’ in any scheduled bank, which can be linked to the designated FCRA account opened in SBI NDMB.
The NDMB will not levy any transfer charges or fee for transferring the foreign contribution from FCRA account opened with it, to another ‘FCRA account’ or utilisation account of the NGO in any scheduled bank.

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