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Sunday, July 3, 2022

The ship that got grounded: FCRA status of Operation Mobilisation India and related entities

Operation Mobilisation (OM) is a major international organization. According to Wikipedia, this Christian Missionary organization was  founded by George Verwer to mobilise young people to live and share the Gospel of Jesus. Its headquarters is in Atlanta, USA and Indian entities related to it are located in a campus called ‘Logos Bhavan’ in Jeedimetla, Ranga Reddy district, Telangana (near Hyderabad). For those who may not know, OM owns a ship called Logos Hope which goes around the world distributing religious literature etc. Wikipedia also adds that the Indian chapter of OM was started way back in 1963.

For a Bharateeya perspective on OM (and its related entity, ‘Dalit Freedom Network’), look no further than the path-breaking book ‘Breaking India’ by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan.

In this post, we shall take a look at the FCRA-NGOs located in Logos Bhavan, their FC (Foreign Contribution) inflows over the years and some recent updates. As is our practice, we just provide a compilation of data from websites of Government of India and a few news stories from mainstream media. We do not pass any judgment on any entity or individuals mentioned here. This post is meant to increase awareness of FCRA and its implementation.

Note that this post becomes very relevant as no mainstream media has yet reported the non-renewal of FCRA registration of the entities mentioned here. In other words, this is a #BreakingPost!

First, the News: Four FCRA-NGOs in Logos Bhavan lost their FCRA registrations (technically, their registrations are ‘deemed to have ceased’ as their registrations were not renewed).

There are a total of seven FCRA-NGOs located in Logos Bhavan. These are:

(All data are sourced from Government of India’s FCRA Website).

FCRA Registration No.NameChief Functionary mentioned in FC4 return (2018/2019)Total Direct FC Inflow (Rs. Crore) (2006-2018)FCRA Status, as on January 25, 2022
TS/10230255Operation Mobilisation India (OMI)Joseph Gregory d’Souza91.44Deemed to have Ceased
TS/10220133Operation Mercy India Foundation (OMIF)Raja Jayaraj Solomon420.41Valid up to March 31, 2022
TS/10220141Good Shepherd Community Society (GSCS)Joseph Gregory d’Souza42.24Deemed to have Ceased
TS/10230021Dayspring Enterprises of India (DEI)Josh Lawrence d’Souza17.31Deemed to have Ceased
TS/10230304International Bible Society India (IBSI)Kulammakatu John Johny12.94Deemed to have Ceased
TS/10220227All India Christian Council (AICC)Paothang Haokip3.41Valid up to March 31, 2022
TS/10220202OM Books Foundation (OBF)Joseph Gregory d’Souza2.67Valid up to March 31, 2022

While the 2019-20 FC4 of DEI and OBF are available on the FCRA website, those of the other Logos FCRA-NGOs are not. It is not unlikely to surmise that the FCRA troubles faced by OMI & others had started circa 2018/19 itself and thus they did not (could not? See this story in ‘Telangana Today’ of 11-Dec-2020 or this September 2017 Deccan Chronicle report, for example) receive any FC post 2018-19. In fact, DEI and OBF themselves report receiving Rs. 0 during 2019-20. Kind of strange, but not so strange if you think about it.

Before we proceed to learn more about what could have caused these FCRA losses, let us see what Niti Aayog’s Darpan Portal has on these FCRA-NGOs, as on January 25, 2022 (Note: It is not unlikely that the information on Darpan is somewhat outdated, given that the Portal, since its reboot in 2017/2018 has not updated any data on any entity).

NameFunctionaries as mentioned in the Darpan Portal of Niti Aayog, Government of India
Operation Mobilisation India (OMI)Doraiswamy Kumar, Josh Lawrence d’Souza and Alfred Edmund Franks (all Trustees)
Operation Mercy India Foundation (OMIF)Doraiswamy Kumar, Josh Lawrence d’Souza (Treasurer), Joseph Gregory d’Souza (Chief Functionary), M Paothang Haokip, Alfred Edmund Franks and Beryl Ann d’Souza
Good Shepherd Community Society (GSCS)Josh Lawrence d’Souza (Treasurer), Doraiswamy Kumar (Joint Secretary) and Joseph Gregoy d’Souza (President)
Dayspring Enterprises of India (DEI)Josh Lawrence d’Souza (Treasurer), Doraiswamy Kumar (Joint Secretary) and Alfred Edmund Franks (President)
International Bible Society India (IBSI)Doraiswamy Kumar, Joseph Gregory d’Souza and Johny Kulamakkattu John
All India Christian Council (AICC)Doraiswamy Kumar, Joseph Gregory d’Souza and Alfred Edmund Franks
OM Books Foundation (OBF)Alfred Edmund Franks, Joseph Gregory d’Souza and Doraiswamy Kumar

It is interesting to note that a few names appeared/appear as functionaries of all the seven FCRA-NGOs on the Darpan Portal.

The total direct foreign ‘donations’ to these seven FCRA-NGOs (of which four have lost their registrations earlier this month) is a whopping Rs. 590.4 Crore. This pales in comparison to the amount that the entities related to the behemoth, Gospel for Asia received in the same period, which was an order of magnitude larger (Rs. 4828 Crore).

Who are the ‘donors’ to these Logos’ entities? Information provided by Government of India’s FCRA website reveals:

OMI’s major ‘donors’ are Operation Mobilisation-USA, Dayspring Enterprises-USA, Operation Mobilisation-Singapore, Operation Mobilisation-Canada and Operation Mobilisation-Switzerland.

OMIF’s major ‘donors’ are Dalit Freedom Network-Canada, Dalit Freedom Network-USA and Operation Mobilisation-UK. Other ‘donors’ include Operation Mobilisation-USA, Relief Education International-UK, Operation Mobilisation-Australia, Riverlife Church-Singapore, Assorted Churches of USA & UK.

GSCS’s major ‘donors’ include: Operation Mobilisation-UK, Operation Mobilisation-Canada, Operation Mobilisation-Switzerland, and Operation Mobilisation-USA.

Nearly all of DEI’s ‘donations’ has come from Dayspring Enterprises-USA.

IBSI’s major donor is Biblica-Colorado-USA. It seems to largely be run using Interest money derived out of FC.

One strange entry in the 2014-15 FC4 of OMIF needs to be mentioned. It reported a FC transfer from a local source (i.e., a secondary transfer from another FCRA-NGO) of Rs. 40.00 Crore (Sec. 2(i)c(ii) of FC4) that year, but the identity of that ‘donor’ was not mentioned in Section 2(ii) (a) of its FC4. We have studied literally thousands of FCRA annual returns, and it is usually the norm that the FCRA-NGO which did the secondary transfer is mentioned as a line item in Section 2(i)c(ii) of the Return. Hence, we are perplexed how the same was not mentioned in the present instance.

Yet another interesting aspect observed in OMIF’s FC4 returns is the number of FC Utilization Bank accounts. As described in this post on World Vision India, Utilization Bank accounts are accounts established by the FCRA-NGO in various parts of Bharat, to which the FC can be transferred from its principal FC-designated Bank account (currently the one in SBI Main Branch, Delhi).

In 2014-15, OMIF reported having 66 Utilization Bank accounts and in 2015-16, a whopping 145!! In 2018-19, this number reduced to just 10.

In its FC4 of 2018-19, OMIF reports spending the FC on a large number of Good Shepherd Vocational Training Centers and Good Shepherd Schools spread across India. OMIF also reports spending FC on the Jogini project and Pratigya Shelter Project. Recall that MSM had reported in 2015 that ‘Pratigya’ had filed a PIL demanding the framing of the Rules for the Andhra Pradesh Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedication) Act. For more details, read Section (F) of this old post by the Fcraanalyses blogger.

Likewise, OMBF, in its 2014-15 FC4 reports receiving Rs. 12.00 Crore as ‘transfer from a local source’. However, the identity of that local source is not provided under Section 2(ii)(a).

Conclusion

While the exact reason(s) for the non-renewal of FCRA status of Operation Mobilisation India and three other co-located entities are not known to us, there is no doubt in the minds of all Bharateeyas that this is a welcome action by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The most vital of these entities is OMIF, whose FCRA status is intact, as of now. One can expect much international (Western) outrage against Bharat if OMIF’s FCRA is touched. We need the blessings of all our Devatas now and surely then.

Acknowledgements

We thank the Ministry of Home Affairs’ FCRA Wing for providing the foreign funding information of all the NGOs on their website for anyone to view. The dissemination of functionaries information by Niti Aayog’s Darpan Portal is also gratefully acknowledged.

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