International Funding of NGOs in India: Bringing the State Back In

Abstract

This article seeks to understand how the Indian state exercises control over transnational ties between foreign and domestic actors by examining the national legislative practices that determine receipt of foreign funds and the data on foreign funding flows to NGOs (a database of more than 18,000 associations). The article shows how legislative practices of democratic states serve to reduce foreign influence. Issue characteristics are also shown to determine state response to externalization, blocking transnational ties in “high politics” areas such as minority claims. Finally, within state imposed restrictions, religious rather than secular organizations remain dominant transnational actors in India. The study contributes evidence to suggest that contrary to the arguments of world polity theory and many transnational social movement scholars, states continue to remain powerful actors limiting transnationalization.

Résumé

Cet article cherche à comprendre comment l'état indien exerce le contrôle d’attaches transnationales d’acteurs étrangers, et intérieurs au pays en examinant les pratiques législatives nationales qui déterminent le reçu des fonds étrangers et les données de la redirection de ces fonds vers les NGO (une base données de plus de 18 000 associations). L’article montre comment des états démocratiques comme l'Inde utilisent des pratiques législatives restrictives pour réduire l'influence étrangère. On montre également des caractéristiques de problèmes pour déterminer la réponse d'état à l'externalisation, bloquant les liens transnationaux de la « la haute politique » comme les revendications de minorité. Finalement, dans le cadre des restrictions imposées par l’état, religieuses plutôt que séculaires, demeurent les acteurs transnationaux dominants en Inde. L'étude apporte la preuve pour suggérer que contrairement aux arguments de la théorie de l’état du monde, et avec eux de nombreux savants de mouvement sociaux transnationaux, les états continuent à rester des acteurs puissants limitant la transnationalisation. Finalement, dans le cadre des restrictions imposées par l’état, religieuses plutôt que séculaires, demeurent les acteurs transnationaux dominants en Inde. Dans l’état actuel des choses, l’étude des preuves suggère que contrairement à la théorie politique et contrairement à de nombreux érudits des mouvements sociaux, l'état continue à imposer des restrictions ayant pour objet de limiter la transnationalisation.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag untersucht die nationalen legislativen Verfahren in Indien, die den Erhalt finanzieller Mittel aus dem Ausland festlegen, sowie die Daten über ausländische Mittel, die an nicht-staatliche Organisationen weitergeleitet werden (eine Datenbank, die über 18.000 Vereinigungen enthält), um zu verstehen, wie der Staat transnationale Verbindungen zwischen in- und ausländischen Akteuren kontrolliert. Der Beitrag stellt dar, wie demokratische Staaten wie Indien einschränkende legislative Verfahren anwenden, um den Einfluss aus dem Ausland gering zu halten. Zudem werden die Merkmale der Erlasse beschrieben, um zu bestimmen, wie der Staat auf eine Externalisierung reagiert und transnationale Verbindungen in „hoch politischen“ Bereichen, wie z.B. Ansprüche von Minderheiten, blockiert. Letztlich bleiben in Indien die religösen vor den nicht-kirchlichen Organisationen innerhalb der staatlich auferlegten Einschränkungen die hauptsächlichen transnationalen Akteure. Die Studie liefert Beweise, dass im Gegensatz zu den Argumenten des World-Polity-Ansatzes und entgegen vieler Gelehrter transnationaler gesellschaftlicher Bewegungen die Staaten weiterhin eine einflussreiche Stellung einnehmen und die Transnationalisierung einschränken.

Resumen

En este trabajo se pretende comprender el control que ejerce el gobierno de la India sobre los vínculos entre los interlocutores extranjeros y nacionales examinando las prácticas legislativas nacionales que rigen la recepción de fondos extranjeros y los datos sobre los flujos de financiación extranjera a las ONG (una base de datos de más de 18.000 asociaciones). El trabajo demuestra que países democráticos como la India han establecido legislaciones restrictivas para reducir la influencia extranjera. También se demuestra que determinadas características influyen en la respuesta del estado a la externalización, bloqueando los lazos transnacionales en cuestiones de “alta política” como las reclamaciones de las minorías. Por último, dentro de las restricciones impuestas por el gobierno, se concluye que los actores transnacionales dominantes en la India siguen siendo las organizaciones religiosas en lugar de las seculares. El estudio aporta pruebas que sugieren que, al contrario de lo que propugna la teoría política mundial y muchas eminencias en movimientos sociales transnacionales, los estados continúan siendo interlocutores poderosos a la hora de limitar la transnacionalización.

要約

本論文では、NGOの外国資金の受領と外国投資の流れについてのデータ(1万8000件以上にわたる協会のデータベース)を決定する国家の法的慣行を調査し、どのようにインドの州が国内外の関係者と多国籍企業の関係を統制しているかを研究する。本論文では、インドのような民主国家が海外の影響を抑えるためにどのように法的慣行を規制しているかを実証する。また、少数派が要求する「政治の向上」が多国籍企業の関係を妨げること、具体的な州の対応の決定を問題の争点としている。 最終的に、州による規制によって非宗教団体ではなく宗教的団体がインドの多国籍企業の関係者に残存している。本研究は、世界の政治理論と多国籍の社会運動学者の議論に反して、多国籍化を規制する強力な関係者が残存することを立証する。

ملخص

هذا البحث يسعى إلى فهم كيفيه أن دوله الهند تمارس الرقابه عبر روابط الجنسيات المختلفه بين الفاعلين الأجانب والمحليين عن طريق فحص الممارسات التشريعيه الوطنيه التي تحدد إستلام أموال أجنبيه وبيانات تدفقات التمويل الأجنبي للمنظمات الغير الحكوميه (NGO) (مجموعه بيانات لأكثر من ١٨٫٠٠٠جمعيه) . البحث يبين كيفيه دول ديمقراطيه مثل الهند تستخدم ممارسات تشريعيه تقييديه للحد من النفوذ الأجنبي . مشكله الخصائص تم عرضها لتحديد إستجابه الدوله للعوامل الخارجيه ٬ إعاقه روابط الجنسيات المختلفه في مجالات "السياسه العاليه" مثل إدعاءات الأقليه . أخيراً ٬ في إطار القيود التي تفرضها الدوله ٬ المنظمات الدينيه بدلاً من المنظمات العلمانيه لا تزال مهيمنه على الجنسيات المختلفه في الهند . الدراسه تساهم في الأدله التي تشير إلى إنه على النقيض من نظريه العالم السياسي و كثير من علماء الحركه الإجتماعيه من جنسيات مختلفه ٬ و تواصل الدول أن تبقى فاعله قويه في تحديد التدويل

摘要

本文通过对确定是否接收外资的全国性法律法规和流入非政府组织的外资数据(由18,000多家组织构成的数据库)进行考察, 力图进一步理解印度政府如何对外国机构和国内机构的跨国联系行使控制权。我们在本文中试图说明, 像印度这样的民主国家是如何利用制订限制性法律法规来减少来自国外的影响。另外, 本文还列示了问题特征, 以确定国家对外部化的回应, 阻止诸如少数族裔诉求等“高阶政治”领域的跨国联系。最后本文指出, 在印度, 就国家实施的限制框架内而言, 宗教组织而不是民间组织依然主导了跨国联系。本文的研究提出的证据表明, 国家依然在限制跨国联系方面担任着强大的角色, 这一点与世界政体理论和众多跨国社会运动学者所持的观点正好相反。

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Many empirical studies have challenged these arguments. Some argue for the continuing importance of the state and focus on power inequalities (Beckfield 2003; DiMaggio and Powell 1991; Wiest 2007). Others like Bob (2005) and Liu (2006) give greater import to domestic movements in determining successful externalization.

  2. 2.

    For example, polity characteristics (statist vs. nonstatist/liberal societies and corporate vs. noncorporate societies) affect the degree and type of voluntary associational activity in a country (Schofer and Fourcade-Gourinchas 2001; also see Wiest 2007 for how repressive regimes affect human rights mobilization).

  3. 3.

    While transnational actors are able to penetrate even very repressive states, they have to adapt to the institutional structure of the state within which they operate. Thus, in the former Communist Eastern Europe activists relied on irregular, informal meetings and underground literature (Chilton 1995) and similarly in Latin American countries such as Chile they used information collection and monitoring rather than direct action—both environments where public opposition was illegal (Hawkins 2002; Merry 2006; Sikkink 1993; Tarrow 2005).

  4. 4.

    Ministry of Home Affairs, Receipt of Foreign Contributions by Voluntary Associations, Annual Report 2001–2002, India.

  5. 5.

    Non-reporting associations face legal action for non-compliance, including cancellation of their registration status.

  6. 6.

    Account Aid, http://education.vsnl.com/accountaid

  7. 7.

    Environmental Services Group, 1989, World Wildlife Fund, India.

  8. 8.

    Foreign Contributions Regulation Division (FCRA), Government of India. Of the 30,321 associations that registered with the government and 369 that were granted prior permission in 2004–2005, only 18,540 associations had reported receipt of foreign contribution (including those that received nil amounts).

  9. 9.

    The recipient data reveal tremendous disparity in the foreign funds Indian NGOs receive. In 2001–2002, of the 15,618 NGOs receiving funds from abroad, 59 NGOs received above Rupees 10 corers, while nearly 95% received less than Rupees 1 crore (Rs. 10 million). Delhi and the southern states receive a large share of foreign funds.

  10. 10.

    Receipt of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976, Statutory Provisions.

  11. 11.

    In 2002–2003, some 10,000 NGOs received Rupees 3 billion from the state (Kudva 2005, p. 257).

  12. 12.

    http://education.vsnl.com/accountaid/

  13. 13.

    For a more detailed review of the changes in the new Bill that are onerous for voluntary organizations, visit http://www.accountaid.net

  14. 14.

    Based on the returns furnished by each voluntary organization, the monitoring unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs ensures compliance with the law as well as records inflow of foreign funding to all the voluntary associations in the country, analyzing and tabulating information on where the money is coming from, where it is going, and for what purpose. Only some of this information is made public.

  15. 15.

    Leftist political parties in India have long been suspicious of the proliferation of NGOs. Prakash Karat (1988), a respected CPI(M) adherent, asked the government to tighten controls on NGOs and stop foreign funds from coming into the country.

  16. 16.

    Dalits are also known as Scheduled Castes and considered as Untouchable by the upper castes.

  17. 17.

    My research on both the Dalit and women’s movement in India reveal that there are more Dalit organizations in most cities than women’s organizations (Jalali 1993; Jalali 2005a).

  18. 18.

    These numbers do not include aid received by women’s or Dalit groups from UN organizations or the World Bank. The information on women was collected by going through the entire list of 28,351 associations registered under the FCRA act in 2003–2004 and selecting those which included “women” or “mahila” or “stree” (both in Hindi mean woman) in the name of the association. Local language words for woman did not reveal any additional names. The information on Dalit groups was compiled by going through the entire list and selecting those which included the word “Dalit,” Scheduled Caste, “Harijan” (the last name means children of God and was given by Mahatama Gandhi), or Ambedkar in the name of the organization. Dr. Ambedkar was the founding father of the Dalit movement and remains a revered national figure for Dalits all over the country.

  19. 19.

    BAPS, Gujarat (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sansha, based in the state of Gujarat); Gospel for Asia, Kerala; World Vision of India, Tamil Nadu; Caritas India, Delhi.

  20. 20.

    Here I have not examined the role of religious donor organizations in the domestic social movements, although their influence in India is much less compared to countries in Latin America. A preliminary examination indicates that while a few such organizations are primarily motivated by propagation of their ideology (such as Gospel for Asia) they (such as World Vision International) also work on relief and development (especially on children) and also on a range of advocacy issues (from peace and conflict to children’s rights).

  21. 21.

    Namely, the United Arab Emirates; Kuwait; Saudi Arabia; Bahrain; Qatar; Oman; and Iran.

  22. 22.

    The Indian military has been fighting Islamic separatist groups in the northern state of Kashmir for several decades now.

  23. 23.

    Sewa International, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and International Development and Relief Fund are three foreign based organizations that are accused by their critics to favor Hindu right wing causes; see http://awaazsaw.org//presses/presscont5.html

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Jalali, R. International Funding of NGOs in India: Bringing the State Back In. Voluntas 19, 161–188 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-008-9059-7

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Keywords

  • Transnational social movements
  • NGO–State relations
  • Foreign aid
  • Civil society
  • Nonprofit sector
  • India
  • Globalization
  • State sovereignty