India’s government has barred the Missionaries of Charity, the Catholic religious order and philanthropic organization started by Mother Teresa, from accessing foreign donations for not meeting eligibility conditions under local laws, the Home Ministry said.

The charity, set up by the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1950, has its headquarters in Kolkata and works with some of the country’s most poor and destitute people.

Missionaries of Charity superior-general Sister M Prema issued an announcement on Monday night confirming that its FCRA renewal utility had been refused. But there “is no freeze order by the ministry on any of our bank accounts”, she clarified. “We have asked our centers not to operate any of the foreign contribution accounts till the matter is resolved as a measure to ensure there is no lapse,” she mentioned.

This is not the first time that a charitable organization or rights groups has lost its license to get money for its activities from overseas donors. Since it came to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has cracked down on hundreds of NGOs. Last year Amnesty International shut down its India operations after accusing the government of “constant harassment,” including freezing its bank accounts,

The Center mentioned it didn’t approve Missionaries of Charity’s (MOC) Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) renewal utility “for not meeting eligibility conditions” and over sure “adverse inputs” acquired when it was contemplating the appliance.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was one of many first to protest after the information reached Kolkata. “Shocked to hear that on Christmas,the Union Ministry FROZE ALL BANK ACCOUNTS of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in India! Their 22,000 patients & employees have been left without food & medicines. While the law is paramount, humanitarian efforts must not be compromised,” she tweeted. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also quote-tweeted Banerjee, “This is indeed shocking. When Mother Teresa wins a Nobel Prize, India rejoices. When her organisation serves the poor & destitute, the govt cuts off their funding. Disgraceful.”

In the absence of renewal of its FCRA license, Missionaries of Charity won’t be able to obtain any international funding. However, its home funding won’t be impacted. The international receipts of Missionaries of Charity totalled around Rs 75 crore in 2020-21, Rs 104 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 68 crore in 2018-19. The protests began instantly after the information reached Kolkata. The Catholic Association of Bengal’s response got here instantly after Banerjee’s response.

“The doors of the Mother House are open to all,” said a nun nonchalantly as she went about doing her work. Money, apparently, doesn’t matter in a place where service is not a dogma but a way of life. At Mother House, the abode of Saint Teresa, it was work as usual on Tuesday as the nuns went about attending to the destitute, the wayward alcoholic, and the leper, with crumbling maggot-filled limbs.

The legislation should take its course. Nonetheless, it is very important to recognize that hundreds of needy and disadvantaged are depending on this organization for meals, drugs and survival. We hope that they won’t be left within the lurch.

Written BY: Pragati Upadhyay(Internship Trainee)

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