New Delhi, Sep 24 (PTI) Civil rights bodies urged President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday to not sign the FCRA bill, urging him to send it back for a parliamentary committee consultation.

Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to make furnishing of Aadhaar numbers by office-bearers of NGOs mandatory for registration, with the government asserting that the proposed legislation is aimed at transparency and not against any NGO.

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The bill will now be sent to the president for his assent.

In a statement, the grassroots organisations that are attached to the Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), an apex body of Indian NGOs, have urged the president to not sign the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, and send it back for a parliamentary committee consultation.

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VANI is a national association of over 500 organisations including grassroot, state and national level NGOs like Save the children, Helpage India, Oxfam and Action Aid among others.

The NGOs feel the amendment is a "deathblow" to the civil society, especially the smaller organisations that work in the most remote areas and serve hard-to-reach communities.

Harsh Jaitli, CEO, VANI, said the development sector is a victim of general negativism and this will unfortunately impact the work of grass-root organizations passionately working in the remote areas.

"The sector has worked diligently to serve all our citizens but it is coming under scrutiny and all those organizations that have been doing outstanding work and adhering to all the rules are now being punished for no reason,” he said.

The NGOs said this bill will render all such cooperation, collaboration and camaraderie impossible.

"The pandemic is not over, and it is our view that more of mutual support and the fraternal spirit is the need of the hour, not an eye of suspicion towards those who collaborate and cooperate. The scientific research NGO community (not least in the flourishing health sector) will be sharply hit at a critical time, as new rules prohibit collaboration with other Indian organisations," they said in the statement.

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