MHA announces procedure for opening & operating the designated “FCRA Account”; Relief for NGOs till 31st March 2021

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MHA announces procedure for opening & operating the designated “FCRA Account”; Relief for NGOs till 31st March 2021

NGOs may continue to receive ‘foreign contributions’ in their existing FCRA accounts till 31st March 2021 as per the Public Notice issued by the MHA, dated 13th October 2020.

Public Notice by MHA: https://fcraonline.nic.in/home/PDF_Doc/fc_notice_13102020.pdf

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a Public Notice, announcing the ‘Procedure for opening & operating the designated “FCRA Account” as provided under the amended section 17(1) of The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.’ As per the notice:

  • Foreign Contributions (FC) to be received in the “FCRA Account” which has to be opened at the New Delhi Main Branch (NDMB) of the State Bank of India (SBI), 11, Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110001 till 31st March 2021. 
  • Once opened, all FC to be received in the new “FCRA Account” only.
  • Those with FCRA certificate of registration or with prior permission may receive FC in any account other than the new “FCRA Account” till 31st March 2021. Suitable directions are being issued to all scheduled banks in the country.
  • Those with FCRA certificate of registration or with prior permission may also open another “FCRA Account” in any of the scheduled banks for keeping or utilising FC received from the “FCRA Account” in the NDMB of SBI, or retain current “FCRA Account” in any of the scheduled banks and link this to the designated “FCRA Account” in the NDMB.
  • No transfer charges/fees will be levied by NDMB to transfer FC from “FCRA Account” to the “another FCRA Account”.
  • The Central Government has provided time until 31st March 2021 to existing “FCRA Account” holders to open the new “FCRA Account” in NDMB of SBI.
  • Fresh applicants for certificate of registration or prior permission shall have to first open the “FCRA Account” in the NDMB of SBI to receive any FC if certificate of registration or prior permission is granted later on.
  • Visiting the NDMB at Delhi is not necessary to open the “FCRA Account”. Any SBI branch of choice may be approached for opening the new “FCRA Account”.
  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to facilitate opening & operating “FCRA Account” will be uploaded soon on FCRA web portal.

In conclusion:
Persons/NGOs/Associations have until 31st March 2021 to transition to the new ways. Until then, they may continue to receive foreign contributions in their existing accounts (which may also be eligible to be linked to the new account for the purpose of utilising the foreign capital). However, one shouldn’t wait till March 2021 to open the new “FCRA Account” with the NDMB of SBI.
The new account can be opened by approaching any SBI branch; visiting the New Delhi branch is not needed. Keep checking the FCRA web portal (https://fcraonline.nic.in) for further updates/details.

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