OPIC – Killing the licenseIf the past few years of enhanced measures against non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in India had not put enough of a squeeze on them, then the Ministry of Home Affairs’ long drawn out process of scrutinizing their foreign funding licenses by yearend is sure to do so. Close on the heels of the news that the Missionaries of Charity group had been denied a renewal of its license under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (amended in 2020), comes the revelation that more than four fifths of the applications of the 22,000 plus NGOs that have sought renewal have yet to be scrutinized. Unless the Government extends the deadline by midnight, all of them stand to lose their ability to access international funding in the New Year. As experts have explained, the NGOs have to prove not only that the source of funding and their usage of the funds is appropriate but also establish that their work does not qualify as harmful to “public interest” or “national security” — ambiguous terms that are left to MHA officials to define. So, as many as 2,000 NGOs under scrutiny may be denied a renewal of their FCRA license as the Missionaries of Charity and its roughly 200 homes around the country have been in this round. Contrary to the Government’s defense that it is only following accounting and audit procedures, it seems clear that organizations that have particularly faced the Modi government’s ire are those that work in specific “sensitive areas”: pollution and climate change issues, human rights, child labor and human slavery, health and religious NGOs, particularly Christian and Islamic charities. Prominent names among nearly 20,000 NGOs to have lost their foreign funding licenses since 2014 include Amnesty International, Greenpeace India, People’s Watch, European Climate Foundation, Compassion International and the Gates Foundation backed Public Health Foundation of India. If the Government has ample evidence to prove that Indians are better off without the work of these internationally renowned organizations, then it has yet to show it. It is time the Government gives a more transparent account of its actions against NGOs, which at present appear to mirror those in China and Russia which have used their NGO laws to shut down dissent and criticism. The actions in India over “foreign hand” concerns seem more hypocritical given the relative ease with which political parties are able to access foreign funds for their campaigns through electoral bonds, under the same FCRA that seeks to restrict funds to NGOs. At a time when India is facing the crippling effects of the COVID19 pandemic and a long-term economic crisis, the Government’s moves that have resulted in an estimated 30% drop in international non-profit contributions, only hurt the poorest and most vulnerable recipients of philanthropic efforts, particularly those by NGOs working in areas where government aid fails to reach.

The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms

Squeeze (verb) – To force (something) into or through a restricted space

Synonyms – Cram, wedge, squish, trample, strangle

Antonyms – Accommodate, reconcile, coax, adapt, elongate

Ambiguous (adjective) – Open to more than one interpretation

Synonyms – Enigmatic, oracular, arcane, mystic, occult

Antonyms – Articulate, precise, emphatic, pellucid, cogent


Slavery (noun) – A condition of having to work very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation

Synonyms – Travail, moil, drudgery, tedium, toiling

Antonyms – Sinecure, doddle, cinch, torpor, inertia


Prominent (adjective) – Standing out from the surroundings

Synonyms – Grabby, flagrant, glaring, splashy, bodacious

Antonyms – Trivial, auxiliary, plebeian, mundane, proletarian


Transparent (adjective) – Easily understandable or perceived

Synonyms – Lucid, graspable, axiomatic, irrefragable, brazen

Antonyms –Abstruse, cryptic, recondite, inscrutable, covert


Dissent (noun) – The holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held

Synonyms – Demur, schism, bickering, wrangling, hassle

Antonyms – Consonance, stagnation, rapport, congruity, amity


Hypocritical (adjective) – Characterized by a lack of sincerity

Synonyms –Specious, unctuous, snide, deluding, perfidious

Antonyms –Ingenuous, scrupulous, arrogant, meek, candid


Crippling (adjective) – Causing a person to become unable to walk or move properly

Synonyms –Laming, maiming, defacing, hocking, sapping

Antonyms –Innocuous, benign, tame, undisruptive, clement


Philanthropic (noun) – An act or activity that promotes the welfare of others

Synonyms –Altruism, dole, munificence, indulgence, caritas

Antonyms –Miserliness, cupidity, pettiness, malevolence, avarice