NGOs Current Affairs

Cabinet approves change of status for marine body IALA

Union Cabinet approved status change of International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) from Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO).

The move will bring IALA at par with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO). Moreover, it will facilitate safe, economic and efficient movement of vessels.

Background

In its 12th session held in La Coruna, Spain in May 2014, IALA General Assembly had adopted resolution stating its firm belief that status of IALA from NGO to IGO will best facilitate lALA’s aims in 21st century

International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)

The IALA is an inter-governmental organization for collecting and providing nautical expertise and advice. It was established in 1957 under French law and has headquarters at St. Germainen Laye (France). It is governed by a General Assembly having 83 National members, with its Council as the executive body.

The IALA council consists of 24 National Members including India which is represented through Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), Ministry of Shipping. DGLL establishes and maintains Aids to Navigation in general waters along coast of India including Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar group of islands, as per Lighthouse Act 1927.

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Home Ministry asks NGOs to open Bank Accounts in Core Banking format

The Home Ministry has instructed 5,845 NGOs to open their accounts in banks having core banking facilities. The NGOs are also required to furnish the account details for real time access of security agencies in case of any discrepancy. The move is aimed at checking “errant” NGOs especially those organizations receiving foreign funding.

The Home Ministry has mandated the NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to have their accounts in either nationalised banks or in a few private banks that has core banking facilities.  Around 3,768 NGOs have been told that their accounts in banks does not have core banking facilities. Another 2,077 NGOs have been instructed to furnish their bank accounts details as such details are not available with the home ministry.

The significance of the move is that the core banking system with all of the branches of the networked banks interconnected would allow the security agencies to access the accounts of the NGOs on real time basis.

Background

The government has taken a slew of measures to regulate the NGOs especially those receiving foreign funding. As a part of the measures, registration of more than 10,000 NGOs were suspended for non filing of annual returns as per the FCRA. And more than 1,300 were denied renewal over the past three years owing to various violations committed by these NGOs. In 2016, government had directed around 11,000 NGOs to file applications for renewal before February 28, 2017. Out of 11,000, only 3,500 NGOs had filed applications for renewal before the expiry date. As a result of all the above measures, there are only 24,000 active NGOs as against 40,000 in 2014-15.

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