Guess Who Got The Maximum Foreign Funding in Gujarat?

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Guess Who Got The Maximum Foreign Funding in Gujarat?

| Updated: June 27, 2022 09:03

The Swaminarayan sect of the Bochanvasi Akshar Purshottam Swaminarayan (BAPS) received the highest foreign funding of Rs 26 crore in a single quarter from January to March 2022, among as many as 500 organisations having got more than Rs 100 crore from abroad.

This has been disclosed in the quarterly returns they filed for the January to March quarter. Out of 500, 134 organisations are from Ahmedabad alone.

Charitable organisations registered under The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, are entitled to receive foreign funding. The legislation was enacted to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contributions or foreign hospitality by certain individual associations or companies. All charitable organisations in India receiving foreign contributions come under the purview of this Act. About 30,000 NGOs are registered in India with FCRA as eligible to obtain foreign money.

1. Swaminarayan Sect receives the highest foreign funding 

BAPS organisation of the Swaminarayan sect in Ahmedabad has received the highest foreign contribution in Gujarat of Rs 26 crore in the January-March quarter. The organisation is involved in humanitarian endeavours and is active in various disaster relief efforts. As of 2022, BAPS is facing a lawsuit in United States courts, where plaintiffs allege starvation wages, cruel work conditions, visa fraud, and passport confiscation at several temple construction sites across the country.

2. Education India Public Trust

This organisation received the second highest contribution of Rs 21 crore. Established in 2003, the not-for-profit works in the education sector. Its main office is in Ahmedabad.

3. Ganpat University

Educational institute Ganpat University is the next with Rs 15 crore from abroad. It is a State Private University established in 2005 and is located in the Mehsana district. Indian-American businessman and Padma Shri awardee Ganpat Patel is the founder of the university. He hails from Siddhpur in North Gujarat and has worked in America for decades. 

4. Shree Kutchi Leva Patel Education And Medical Trust, Bhuj

SKLP Trust was founded in 1972 by Leuva Patel members. During the 1980s, they were involved in creating awareness about empowering the community, helping polio immunisation and disbursement of financial grants for education. Currently, they also have educational institutes and medical facilities. They have received over Rs 14 crore in foreign funds.  

5. Yuva Unstoppable

The NGO founded in 2005 by Amitabh Shah got Rs 8.49 crore from abroad during the January-March quarter. Yuva Unstoppable works in the education sector, sanitation and youth affairs. Shah had earlier made headlines in February 2020, in the infamous self-proclaimed godman Nityananda case. He was reported to have facilitated the setting up of Nityananda’s ashram. Instances of Shah’s alleged involvement resurfaced when a Special Criminal Application was submitted to Gujarat High Court by the father of the two ‘missing’ daughters, who are still allegedly in the confinement of Nityananda.

International organised crime? 

However, there is also a flip side, as Ahmedabad-based financial analyst and chartered accountant Aayush Baid says. Baid said, “Since I’m into audits of companies, I have come across innumerable incidents in Gujarat where FCRA is misused. It is used for money laundering or siphoning foreign funds in Gujarat. Irrespective of their scale, small or large, charitable organisations use this medium for organised international white-collar crime.” 

At the same time, all NGOs or educational institutions can’t be put into this category.

For instance, there are institutes like the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (Rs 2,70,19,796), CEPT Research Development Foundation (Rs 2,15,01,217), Indian Institute of Management (Rs 2,13,96,429), Dr Ambedkar Vanvasi Kalyan Trust (Rs 1,16,20,772), Blind People’s Association (Rs 1,77,84,252), which are doing creditable work.  

List of FCRA Registered associations that have filed quarterly returns 

Financial Year : 2021-2022

Quarterly Returns : January,2022 – March,2022

Sr. No OrganisationTotal Amount Received (Rs)City 
1Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) 26,76,47,665Ahmedabad 
2Education India Public Trust 21,94,58,869Ahmedabad 
3Ganpat University 15,90,76,390Mehsana 
4SKLP Education Medical Trust14, 72,03,226Bhuj
5YUVA Unstoppable 8,49,41,917Ahmedabad 
6Munshi Memorial Charitable Trust 6,05,66,420Bharuch 
7Shree Narayan Mandir Trust 5,70,75,230Ahmedabad 
8Sewa Bharat 4,53,46,028Ahmedabad 
9Shri Swaminarayan Gurukul 4,01,32,001Ahmedabad 
10Mahila Sewa Trust 3,93,94,670Ahmedabad 

In India, over Rs 58,000 crore foreign funds were received by NGOs registered under the FCRA between 2016-17 and 2018-19. In February 2021, the Central Government revealed that it had cancelled the FCRA licences of over 20,600 NGOs in the last 10 years. Most of these cancellations were done on account of non-filing of annual returns or due to alleged misuse of foreign funds. 

Also Read: RoC Warns 1,552 Gujarat Firms For Noncompliance Of Law. Here’s why?

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