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FCRA Renewal: What It Means

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FCRA Act 1976 was repealed and Foreign Contribution ( Regulation) Act 2010 has replaced it with effect from 1st May 2011. One of the major changes incorporated in FCRA 2010 is the Renewal of Registration every five years.
Section 11 of the New FCRA states that those registered with the earlier Act 1976, shall deemed to have been registered under the New Act and the validity is for a five year period from the date on which the New Act has come in the force. The New Act has come into force as on 1st May 2011 and the five year period ends on 30th April 2016. In short, the validity of registration for those registering with the old Act, is up to 30th April 2016. 
Section 16 (1) of the New FCRA Act stipulates that every person who has been granted a Registration Certificate  shall have such certificate renewed within six months before the expiry of the period of the Certificate. According to Rule 12(2) of new FCRA Rules 2011, every person shall apply to the Central Government six months before the expiry of the Certificate of the Registration. Hence, those registered in the old FCRA 1976, shall apply for registration on or before 31st October 2015 as their registration getting expired on 30th April 2016.
However, as per Rule 12(2) of new FCRA Rules 2011, “a person implementing an ongoing multi-year project shall apply for renewal 12 months before the expiry of the Certificate of Registration.”
This needs a clarification as ‘ongoing multi-year project’ is neither defined in the Act/ Rules nor clarified in the Frequently Asked Questioned (FAQ) of the FRCA websites. 
The understanding of the professionals and organisations active in the field are that, any project, programme or activity which is not limited to a financial year is considered a multi-year project. It means regular activities carried out any organisation is a multi-year  project. 
Hence, any organisation registered under the FCRA 1976 and conducting regular activities shall apply for Renewal of Application on or before 30th April 2015.
The Application for Registration shall be made in Form FC-5 and an amount of Rs 500 to be paid as renewal fees. 
If no Application is made or no requite fee is accompanied, validity of the certificate ceases at the end of five year period. In such a case, a fresh application for registration has to be made as if it is a new organisation applying for registration in Form FC-3. If there are sufficient grounds to explain the reasons if any, for not submitting the renewal within the stipulated time, application may be accepted within four months after the expiry of the certificate of registration.     
For the smooth verification and processing of the Renewal Application, only information provided in the Registration Certificate or those changes communicated should be given. 
Changes if any should have been communicated, and if the same is not informed, it should be communicated at the earliest before the renewal application is made, with a request to condone the delay. Preferably, a covering letter is to be attached the Form FC-5 informing those changes made since registration.  
The author, Abraham Zachariah, is a Practicing Chartered Accountant

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