New Delhi: The Home Ministry has taken off Ford Foundation from its watch list under which any flow of funds from the US-based international donor agency to any Indian NGO or person had to be vetted by it before being disbursed to the recipient.
The Home Ministry has decided to remove Ford Foundation from the prior reference category with immediate effect, a Home Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.
From now onwards, any fund flow from Ford Foundation to any person, NGO or organisation in India need not be referred for clearance to the Home Ministry.
The Home Ministry has asked the Reserve Bank India to inform all banks about the decision.
The decision of the Home Ministry came ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US.
In April 2015, the Home Ministry had put the Ford Foundation on its watch-list for funding activist Teesta Setalvad's NGOs, saying they allegedly didn't use the funds provided by the foundation for the stated purpose "in violation" of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
Setalvad had denied the charge but the Home Ministry asked the CBI to probe further. Ford Foundation also took up the matter with the Home Ministry.
The Ministry asked the Foundation to get itself registered under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) that governs foreign exchange transactions in the country.
As per law, all liaison offices of international donor agencies need to register under FEMA. Since the foundation had not done so, ever since it started working in India since 1952, it was asked to apply for registration.
In an earlier statement, the Foundation had said it had submitted an application for registration under applicable Indian law on the direction of the government.