Date: September 29, 2023
India (MNN) — Many ministries in India sit on pins and needles every time the FCRA expiration approaches. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs just extended all FCRA registration certificates pending review until March 31, 2024. Previously, they were set to expire on September 30, 2023.
The FCRA stands for the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. India requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding to register for a license. This license can be suspended and cut an organization off from foreign funds.
John Pudaite with Bibles For The World (BFTW) explains, “You have thousands of organizations whose applications for renewal are in process, not knowing whether it’s going to be extended again. As they have donors from outside India,…every time they’d say, ‘Well, we’re extended till this point. Please send funds what you can by that point because after that point, we don’t know whether we’ll be able to receive funds anymore.’”
With the FCRA registration extension, India also announced NGOs will have to declare details of moveable and immovable assets created by them using foreign funds every year. This will create even more time-consuming paperwork for ministries under the FCRA.
“Two of the main organizations that Bibles For The World works with were under this process. One of them has been renewed, the other has not.”
The FCRA has been used before to suspend licenses for Christian ministries accused of using funds or material bribery to force conversions to Christianity.
“They cannot understand that this is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that people are finding,” says Pudaite. “So they look at it the only way they can in material terms and say, ‘Oh, they must be converting because they’re being given money, they’re being given roofing sheets, or rice, or what have you.’ That’s not the case.”
Pray wisdom for Indian believers as they proclaim the Gospel and link arms with believers around the world for ministry.
“They are an extreme minority in these situations, and so we just need to pray that they may be strong at this time and that they may seek their refuge and their strength from from the Lord.”
Header photo courtesy of Bibles For The World.