WASHINGTON: Ahead of the US-based donor NGO Compassion International shutting down its India operations, the US today called for a transparent Indian process for foreign NGOs, which it said has been facing " significant challenges" for the last few years. "NGOs do valuable work overseas.
Certainly these countries and governments have their own reasons for the laws they pass, but we believe it should be transparent and clear why they're shutting down these organisations," the State Department's acting spokesman Mark Toner said at a news conference. Toner expressed concern over the Christian charity closing down its operations in Indian and said that the US will take up the matter with the Indian government.
"When a group like Compassion International, which we believe is doing important works in India and is closed down, it's a matter of concern. Certainly, we'll raise that with the Indian government," . Toner said that all parties should work cooperatively by adhering to the Indian laws. "We believe it's imperative that all parties work transparently and cooperatively in a way that not only respects Indian laws, but also encourages a transparent process," he said in response to a question.
He expressed concern over the challenges faced by the foreign NGOs to continue their operations in India. "Unfortunately we have seen over the past couple of years a number of foreign-funded NGOs in India that have encountered significant challenges in continuing their operations," Toner said. "One of the good things about our strong bilateral relations with India is that we can talk about these kinds of issues," he said, adding that the US has raised the issue with India through diplomatic channels.
In December last year, the Home Ministry said it is unlikely to reconsider its decision banning the US-based donor from funding Indian NGOs notwithstanding consistent appeals by American authorities. The NGO was put under 'prior permission category' in May last. When a donor organisation is put under this category, it is barred from funding any Indian NGO without the nod from the government. Toner said the US is committed to the health and vibrancy of civil society and it "strongly advocates" for a strong civil society and organisations that are working in that sphere around the world.