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India restores Mother Teresa charity's license for foreign funding

Reversal of decision within a fortnight of government refusing to renew its registration to accept and utilize foreign funds

India restores Mother Teresa charity's license for foreign funding

Nuns from the Missionaries of Charity distribute food to the needy on the occasion of “Peace Day“ to mark the death anniversary of Mother Teresa at the Mother House in Kolkata, India, on Sept. 5, 2021. (Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar/ AFP)

Published: January 08, 2022 08:30 AM GMT

Updated: January 08, 2022 08:44 AM GMT

The Indian government has restored the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) clearing the decks for the globally renowned charity to receive and utilize foreign funds.

“I am delighted that the Indian government has restored our FCRA license,” said Sunita Kumar, spokesperson of the MC, a congregation founded by Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

The change of decision comes less than a fortnight after the federal ministry for home affairs declined to renew MC's FRCA registration citing “adverse inputs.”

“We never expected that our registration could be canceled but it happened,” Kumar told UCA News on Jan. 8, a day after the government restored the license of the charity organization on its website among legal entities permitted to receive foreign donations in the country.

“We are happy that the restoration of our license happened without much delay,” Kumar said.

The congregation was finding it difficult to carry forward its charitable works ever since news broke on Christmas Day that its application for renewal of the FCRA registration had been "refused."

The ministry issued a statement on Dec. 27 saying the charity did not meet “eligibility conditions" under the FCRA and cited "adverse input" for its decision without further details.

The congregation confirmed this on the same day while announcing that “as a measure to ensure there is no lapse we have asked our centers not to operate any of the FC [foreign contributions] accounts until the matter is resolved.”

The government, however, had allowed the MC to operate its FC accounts until Dec. 31.

Since then, the congregation was facing difficulties in raising resources for its daily activities like feeding and providing medical facilities to inmates of its orphanages, homes for the old and destitute.

“The government decision to revoke our foreign funding has immensely affected our lives,” said Michael S, an inmate and volunteer with MC’s Nirmal Hriday orphanage at Varanasi in the central India state of Uttar Pradesh.

UCA News had reported how the orphanage, which is home to some 100 inmates, was struggling to maintain its regular supply of food, nutritional supplements and medicines.

The government’s action adversely affected the well-being of poor Hindus who form nearly 99 percent of the members in MC homes or orphanages, most of them abandoned by their families.

“Blocking their fund for having a dignified life in such orphanages is cruelty that can’t be explained in words," said Michael

The cancer patient and a leg amputee described how the center where he serves “had to even cancel plastic surgeries and other emergency procedures for several of its inmates.”

A concerned Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed his officials to release some US$ 100,000 to the 13 MC institutions functioning in his eastern India state, promising more if required.

“We are immensely indebted to him for coming to the rescue,” said Kumar while also thanking all those who stood with the charity organization at this time of crisis.

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