News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Friday, June 20, 2014

New India government places hold on international donations to Greenpeace and other groups they say hurt India's economic progress by campaigning against power projects

"Setbacks are unlikely to be too great a problem, however, as its (Greenpeace) budget is currently around £300 million."
6/19/14, "Greenpeace funds hit Home barrier," The Hindu, Varghese K George

"Following an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report that alleged foreign-funded NGOs were creating obstacles to India’s economic growth, the Home Ministry has clamped down on Greenpeace, an international campaign group present in 40 countries.

In a letter dated 13th June, the Ministry has directed the Reserve Bank of India that all foreign contributions originating from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation — two principal international contributors to Greenpeace India Society — must be kept on hold until individual clearances are obtained from the Ministry for each transaction. 

The RBI has been asked to direct banks to this effect. The central bank has also been asked to report to the government if any government department or institution is receiving such funds.

According to the report, public protests in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli region — which produces 15,000 MW energy — were being engineered by Greenpeace, “actively aided and led by foreign activists.” 

In its directive to the chief general manager, Department of Banking Operations and Development, RBI, the Ministry has invoked Section 46 of the Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act, 2010, that says the “Central government may give such directions as it may deem necessary” for execution of the provisions of the Act. 

The new directive will effectively bar the NGO from accepting foreign money, as it will require seeking case-by-case clearance for each contribution."

"Greenpeace India receives about 60 percent of its funding from donors in India and about 38 percent from Greenpeace International, Divya Raghunadan, programme director at Greenpeace India, said. The ClimateWorks Foundation accounts for less than one percent of funding.

No one at the RBI was immediately available to comment on whether it was bound to comply with the ministry's request, which could create a major bureaucratic hurdle for the group.

"Right now, we have no real way of knowing what this means for us or why it's being done," Raghunadan said, noting that the ministry had not officially told the group about the move.

An Intelligence Bureau report leaked last week said Greenpeace and other lobby groups were hurting economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food. Greenpeace denies this and has called the allegations an attempt to silence dissent.

In a high-profile campaign at the start of this year, Greenpeace activists dressed in tiger suits scaled the Mumbai headquarters of the Essar Group, an Indian resources conglomerate, and unfurled a banner declaring "We kill forests."

The activists were protesting against plans by Mahan Coal Ltd, jointly owned by Essar and Hindalco Industries Ltd , to mine coal in the central state of Madhya Pradesh."

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