...MHA hammer also falls on group tracking Parliament
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Citing intelligence reports, the home ministry has barred an organisation closely linked to a think tank tracking the functioning of Parliament from receiving contributions from US-based NGOs Ford Foundation and Omidyar Network.
According to the ministry, the receipt of funds from these NGOs compromises "national security", because the "intent of the promoters of such organisations is shrouded in mystery".
The Institute of Policy Research Studies, Mumbai, had applied for "prior permission" from the home ministry to receive US $ 5,55,000 (nearly Rs 3.1 crore) as donation from Ford Foundation, and $ 10,00,000 (about Rs 5.6 crore) from Omidyar Network.
The ministry refused permission after concluding that research analysts belonging to the institute were in "direct engagement with legislators and members of parliament (MP)".
IPRS's parent organisation is the New Delhi-based PRS Legislative Research, which, according to its web site, provides "a comprehensive and credible resource base to access Parliament-specific data, background information and analysis of key issues".
According to the home ministry, PRS Legislative Research provides research support to over 300 MPs from various parties. Research analysts from PRS/IPRS have served as legislative assistants to 46 MPs from 19 political parties.
The ministry says that "by virtue of being MPs, their offices are privy to many secret and top secret documents", by accessing which these research fellows might compromise the country's integrity and sovereignty.
When contacted, M R Madhavan, a member of the core team of PRS Legislative Research, declined to comment on the matter.
An official source said that the receipt by MPs of services provided by an organisation funded from overseas was in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010.
"IPRS provides these services free of cost to MPs. Section 3 (D) of FCRA prohibits a member of any legislative body from accepting any foreign contribution," the source said.
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