IIT-K, JNU like 8 Indian Premier Institutions’ FCRA Cancelled

The union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has barred Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur from accepting foreign donations, citing the premier institute’s laid-back attitude in submitting documents supporting the usage of foreign funds, an official said.

The institute has been barred under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Registration Act (FCRA), 2010, with immediate effect, informed sources said.

The prime objective of the act is to “regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution and foreign hospitality by persons and associations working in the important areas of national life”.

While IIT-K authorities refused to react to the development “at this point”, MHA has officially put the institute’s name in the list of organisations whose FCRA registration has been cancelled.

In the list for 2011-12, which carries 4,139 such institutions, 72 are from Uttar Pradesh.
MHA officials said the move to scrap the FCRA registration was “necessitated” after these top educational institutions failed to “submit satisfactory supporting documents of the fund usage”.

“The IIT-Kanpur has been very lethargic in supporting the usage of these donations in their annual receipts and hence we were forced to act in such a manner,” an official said.

Besides IIT-K, FCRA registration of eight other premier institutions in the country, including Jamia Milia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has also been scrapped.

While no official communique was received by the institute, officials said they have been “sounded on the matter”.

“We are aware about the matter… We are positive that this decision would not, in any way, hamper our growth,” a faculty member said, adding that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audits the financial transactions of IIT-K.

However, a senior faculty member admitted that the decision “would certainly create a lot of problems”.

“For many researches and other activities, foreign funding by our alumni is very crucial. MHA’s decision will hit us for sure,” he told.

Another IIT-K professor said that last year the institute was exempted from such requirements as pressed by the government on the ground that the CAG was a “competent authority” thus foreign funding could not be stopped.

“Why did they bail everyone earlier and why are they hounding us now,” the professor asked.

IIT-K, one of the foremost institutes in the country for higher education, receives generous grants from its alumni and overseas organisations for research and other activities.

According to MHA officials, IIT-K (FCRA registration No.R-136530050) received foreign funding amounting to about Rs.6 crore in the previous financial year.

In 2010-11, the institute’s planning and resource generation department received a donation of Rs.4.08 crore from 772 donors of which 501 were domestic donors while 271 donors were from foreign countries, official said.

Many in IIT-K see the MHA decision as yet another “deliberate attempt” to push the premier institute into “submission before the central government’s authority”. Earlier, they alleged it was the move to hold common entrance tests.

IANS / Sep 4, 2012