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How Foreign funded NGOs (Professional Agitators) hurting India`s Economic Growth

We have 3.3 million NGOs which is nearly one for every 400 Indians. There are, definitely, thousands of NGOs who are into genuine social service and healthy activities.

Hundreds and even thousands of voluntary agencies (VAs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), action groups (AGs) and non-party political formations (NPPFs) have indeed become involved in a wide variety of activities: aid, development, health care, education, feminism, environment, human rights, conscientisation, organization, etc. These NGOs and AGs represent ‚a bewildering mix of ideologies, objectives, working styles, social composition, funding and support sources, size of organization and operation…‛ Their members and inspiration come from one or many of the following back grounds:RSS, Gandhian, sarvodaya, Christian, humanitarian, Marxist, naxalite, new left, etc. Thescene of AGs is moreover very fluid.

Leadership in NGOs has turned out to be a matter of debate and concern. Not only in India, but also in Asia as a whole, most NGOs are started by one person or a few Individuals who retain their charismatic control over these organisations.

The activities in such organizations center round a key person and his/her chosen team, and naturally the organizations collapse when the leaders depart or lose interest in it. The process of decision-making becomes a mockery as the leader himself makes the decisions for the organizations. Participation of the locals in the programmes of the NGOs has diminished. Naturally, in this kind of leadership, the styles of functioning are rather a mixture of the authoritarian and the democratic and are concentrated in the hands of the elders. This has serious implications in the life cycle of an organization which is bound to fail in the absence of the key person.

Availability of funds, in turn, raises a number of questions—transparency, responsibility and accountability.

Sometime back, the Intelligence Bureau submitted a report to the PMO suggesting that many foreign-funded NGOs protesting coal and mining projects in the country were stalling India’s development and had negatively impacted GDP growth by 2 to 3 %. We have seen many such Professional Agitators (funded by Well Known Philanthropy from western countries) tried to stall Large Projects such as Dams, Power Plants, Nuclear plants and Coal Projects etc. These NGOs receive funds in the form of research funding from them. They also indulge in fear-mongering and run a “rent-an-agitation”. Many of the NGOs were accused of “serving as tools for foreign policy interests of western governments” by sponsoring campaigns to protect the environment or support human rights. “Anti-development” activities included campaigns against climate change, workers’ rights, or even the disposal of e-waste by India’s massive IT sector. Cracking the whip, 18,864 NGOs in the country have been barred from receiving foreign funds by the government by cancelling their FCRA registration

One of the longest & well known agitation was against “Narmada” Dam, which is life line for crores of people providing electricity & water for homes & irrigation. The Narmada dam provides water to millions of historically water-starved people in Saurashtra and Kutch besides other parts of Gujarat.

India’s growing suspicion of foreign-funded NGOs is part of an emerging global trend.

India has joined the likes of Russia, Egypt, Israel, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador in trying to silence groups that raise objections to human rights violations and environmental degradation. These governments allege that foreign-funded NGOs threaten national security, often conflating such security—which it is their duty to provide—with the economic interests of private corporations that stand to benefit from silencing democratic opposition.

Civil society everywhere is under threat, including in the UK, where charities receiving government funding are now being prevented from using those funds to campaign against government policies

Victim Industries, Companies in India

'Coal Network' umbrella at prominent coal block and coal-fired power plant locations in India

coal allocated to Essar and Hindalco, mining company Vedanta, POSCO

campaign against disposal of e-waste generated by IT and Par Tapi-Narmada river interlinking in Gujarat and Maharashtra, debunking the Gujarat model of development, special investment region in Gujarat and Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor.

“Anti-development” activities included campaigns against climate change, workers’ rights, or even the disposal of e-waste by India’s massive IT sector.

Who are these NGOs

Ford Foundation under Modi government's scrutiny; Greenpeace-type action likely

Six NGOs are at the forefront of anti-GM Food activism in India, with Germany being the main source of funds.

NGOs, including Greenpeace, Amnesty and Cordaid,

Home Ministry put the $12.5 billion Ford Foundation on watch list

We keep witnessing communal clashes, religious and ethnic conflicts at different levels. In the name of ‘development’, ‘progress’ and ‘growth’, some of the self-styled NGOs have mushroomed as agents of representing the ideological moorings of the extreme right and also as part of global capitalism receiving crores of rupees from foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller, international financial institutions, EU, European, US, Japanese, other capitalist countries’ Agencies and local governments.

Politically the NGOs fit into the new thinking of imperialist strategists. While the IMF, World Bank and TNCs work with domestic elites at the top to pillage the economy, the NGOs engage in a complementary activity at the bottom, neutralizing and fragmenting the burgeoning discontent that results from the savaging of the economy.

16 foreign donor agencies have been placed under prior permission category.

Indian NGOs & People Involved

The concerted effort by select foreign funded NGOs to “take down” Indian developmental projects” names seven protest movements as significant “anti-developmental activities”. The report was commissioned by the previous government and has been submitted to the new government.

The 21 page report names seven agitations as pursuing ‘anti-developmental activities’:

1. Nuclear infrastructure

2. Coal fired power plants

3. Genetically modified organisms

4. Posco in Orissa

5. Vedanta in Orissa

6. Narmada Bachao Andolan

7. Agitations against extractive industries in the North East.

Agitation against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project

Here, accusations have mainly been made against S P Udayakumar, the man who led the movement. It describes him as an “US educated” person. Eight of the 11 NGOs involved in the protests were funded by Europe based foreign donors, total money received from these donors by the NGOs for 2006-2011 is 80 crore says the report.

The report says that that Udayakumar received an unsolicited contract from Kirwan Institute for Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University and prepared a report on ‘Group, Race, Class and Democracy issues through NGOs’.

The IB report says that pan-Indian organizations including National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and Greenpeace coordinated for various anti-nuclear agitations across the country. The network was guided by eminent persons including Praful Bidwai, Medha Patkar, Admirial Ramdass, MG Devasahayam and Karuna Raina.

Anti coal-activism

A portion of the section on Anti-Coal Activism states: “the issue has not attained high visibility, but massive efforts are on to take down India’s coal fired power plant and coal mining activities”. It also says that Greenpeace is mainly against Coal India Ltd, Hindalco, Aditya Birla group and Essar. To encourage Indian-ness of its anti-coal approach, Greenpeace also financed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to study health, pollution and other aspects of Mahaan, Madhya Pradesh.

The IB report also talks about a documentary film - Coal Curse by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and an IIT-Delhi study on reduced irrigation potential in Maharashtra due to coal plants.

The Greenpeace office has had a foreign expert installing sophisticated software in its computers, the report says. Further, Greenpeace is also in talks with the Aam Aadmi Party which declared its activist Pankaj Singh as a candidate from Mahan.

Anti Genetically Modified Organisms

The IB has named 5 Indian activists and 6 NGOs as being in the forefront in the agitation against genetically modified organisms. The donors who funded these NGOs included Greenpeace International, EED, Bread for the World and Misereor among others. It says the manner of free funding for these NGOs is observed from the fact that ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Culture) and its IFSH (India for Safe Food) campaign are headquartered with prominent anti-nuclear NGOs at a single address. The report says all the 6 NGOs were active facilitators of news articles, liaison with other activists and social media activism.

Anti-Posco activism

Association for India’s development, a US-based NGO drafted a plan for Posco Prathirodh Sangarsh Samiti. An NGO called Insaaf, is accused of actively helping the movement and also being involved in the Jaitapur movement. There are about two to three paragraphs on Insaaf, followed by the donations done by Insaaf. .

Resistance to Vedanta Aluminum Ltd

As proof that the Opposition to the Vedanta movement was getting funding from foreign donors, the IB reports quotes from an interview given by Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director of JSW Steel to the Economic Times and says that the element of corporate funding for the VAL movement gained credence when Jindal stated in the interview that corporate rivalries are in play in promoting the movement. In this they prominently mention the Amnesty International. They have also mentioned Survival International, Action Aid UK and Open Society Foundations.

Activism against extractive industries in the North-East

Netherlands based Dutch government funded donor CORDAID has recently added “Extractive industries in the NE as a forth focal point for its interventions in India”. The IB report talks about a seminar in Geneva in 2012, with Swami Agnivesh as a prominent speaker. It also says senior policy officer of CORDAID, Eelco De Groot had planned a visit to Manipur in March 2013, but visa was denied. The IB report says that De Groot planned to visit under the cover of an organization called “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative”

When the event did not happen in India, it was instead conducted in Bangkok in 2012 and eight NGOS from the North East took part in the event. The IB report says De Groot emphasized at the seminar that, “Instead of fighting the government, it was best to make it so difficult for the company that it would be unable to meet the required international standards involved in oil extraction”.

There was one more seminar in Shillong, as a follow up in October 2013. Three trainers, two Dutch and an American reminded participants that oil reserves in the area were as large as large as those in the entire gulf and these belong only to the tribals of Manipur.

The report says that the trainers told the participants that the Government of India along with multi-national companies (MNCs) was refusing to remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, to steal the resources in the region.


To undermine the image of ITES firm, Greenpeace has initiated a campaign against E-Waste and it is under the leadership of Benjamin David Hargreaves, a UK national that this campaign is going on, it says. Interestingly, Greenpeace Bangalore only focuses attention on Indian IT firms, the report adds.

Narmada River Interlinking Project in Gujarat and Maharashtra

It says that many NGOs together received 12.72 crores from 2006- 2013, from various countries. These organizations include Parthi Poorna Adivasi Sanghatan, Sarvodaya Parivar Trust, Gujarat Vidya Peet, Deevalaya Fulwadi and Raj Pipla Social Service Society. It also alleges that the Parthi Poorna Adivasi Sangatan also receives support from the Adivasi Ekta Parishad, Jai Maha Adivasi Sangh, PTNRIP.

Gujarat Vikas Manch Lokadhikar Andolan

Under the section it says that NGOs like MARAG, PUCL, Movement for Secular Democracy are making efforts to debunk the Gujarat model of development. GVMLA apparently organized a two day seminar in which these NGOs participated. The leaders in the seminar also criticized the state government with regard to Statue of Unity, Special Investment Regions, Mithi Virthi nuclear Power Project, Industrial Development, employment and health issues

Special Investment Region (Gujarat)

Under this section the report says that the participants of the GVMPLA seminar alleged that the plain and fertile land of the farmers go to the industries which will affect that farmers basic livelihood. Laljhibhai Desai, director of an NGO, Maldhari Rural Action Group (MARAG) and the President of Azad Vikas Sangatan has been named for instigating and managing agitations against the SIR of Dholera and Mandal Becharji.

It says that a “sammelan” was organized under the name of “Bhal Khesut Sangathan” in which Laljhi Desai also participated.

MARAG received foreign funds amounting to 5.53 crore rupees between 2006-2011. It came mainly from Save the Children, Biodiversity, Tibet, and International Fund for Agricultural Development, Child Relief and You, Oxfam and Canadian India Village Aid.

Delhi to Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC)

National Alliance of Peoples' Movement (NAPM) organized a Mumbai Delhi Sangharsh Yatra in March 2013 from Mumbai under the leadership of Medha Patkar protesting against the propsed DMIC. The yatra traversed through Maharashtra, Gujarat. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and ended at Delhi. NAPM alleged that DMIC would impact approx 180 m people (14% of lndian population) adversely both from an environmental and agricultural angle. Also NAPM predicted that this would turn out to be the biggest disaster for people in the coming 10 years.

These foreign-funded NGOs are allegedly the influence behind "Praful Bidwais and Medha Patkars".

Medha Patkar has been agitating against the Narmada dam for ages. Tagging along with her was Genocide Suzy (who hates everything about India).

Harsh Mander, Teesta Setalvad, and Shabnam Hashmi who have scavenged on riot victims of Gujarat.

SP Udaykumar is quite a character. On Times now he disclosed he had received lakhs of rupees from abroad, including some research funding from Ohio University. All that research money had nothing to with nuclear projects and nobody knows what research he did. Some “hippy” that Udaykumar referred to as a contact turns out to be an “agent” who carried hand-sketched maps of 16 nuclear plants in India. Oh yes, normal people do carry maps of nuclear plants in India, don’t they? This scumbag led a serious and long protest against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu with no legitimate reason except fear-mongering. Obviously, Udaykumar was being influenced and funded by foreign crooks that have their vested interests in blocking some project or the other in India. And sure enough, the current “rent-an-agitation” warehouse manager, Arvind Kejriwal landed up in Kudankulam too.

Cordaid and HIVOS are Dutch organisations that are strangely exercising great interest in India. On June 11 in a discussion on Times now it turned out that Cordaid first operated in Kashmir for Human Rights and later suddenly turned to the North East sector.

General Bakshi (retd) on Times now pointed out that there are 90,000 tons of Uranium deposits in the NE but till date not 1 gram of Uranium has been extracted due to these NGO agitations and the influence they bring from the foreign govts controlling them. $32.00/lb (1ton=2,000 lbs) =$5.76 billions

Secretary of State Clinton favoured operating through organisations based in the Netherlands, Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, especially Norway" as these were outside the radar of big power politics. These NGOs were active in the agitation against the Russian nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, with "funding coming mainly from a religious organisation based in Europe that has close links with France.”

Medha Patkar and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (as well as several such resistance movements to displacement) had managed to build a popular movement involving several thousand ordinary people at a time when even the Left parties (with their strong and well-knit trade union organization) have been forced to restrict their agenda to mere symbolic actions against the establishment.

Her NGO campaigned against the ongoing construction of the Narmada dam height from 121.92 meters to 138.64 meters, which is the full reservoir level (FRL),


NGOs or non-profit organisations, that receive more than one crore rupees in government funds or more than 10 lakhs as donation from abroad and their office-bearers will now be considered public servants and will have to declare details of their assets and liabilities and those of their spouses and dependent children by July 31 this year, the Centre

In 2015, the registrations of more than 10,000 NGOs were cancelled. Currently, 18 foreign funding agencies and donors are on the watch list.

activist Teesta Setalvad's NGO, the SabrangTrust, which works with Gujarat riot victims, cannot accept foreign funding anymore.

A total of 69 NGOs have been prohibited from receiving foreign contribution

Registration of 10,117 associations has been cancelled for not filing the annual returns continuously for three years and even not responding to show cause notices issued," Ford Foundation funding to non-FCRA NGOs, Teesta Setalvad's Sabrang Trust

Sabrang Trust and Citizen for Justice & Peace (CJP) revealed transfer of huge fund from the accounts of these NGOs to Teesta and her relatives’ personal accounts.


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