CHENNAI: With massive rehabilitation measures required once relief operations get done in Chennai, Cuddalore and other affected areas in Tamil Nadu, relief agencies reckon that the Centre needs to relax FCRA regulations to ease the flow of funds from overseas as the state government will find it difficult to mobilise the resources despite donations from corporates and celebrities. At the same time, they feel foreign funding should not be misused and checks can be put in place.

In a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, entrepreneur Anugrah Matthias Tete who has initiated an online petition on the issue, urged him to waive the FCRA prior approval for receipt of foreign funds received for relief and rehabilitation work by various NGOs and agencies for a limited period as done after the 2004 Tsunami that struck Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

Additional Secretary (Foreigners) in the MHA, B K Prasad told TOI that applications from prospective recipients can be registered quickly and put on fast track subject to expeditious vetting by official agencies, if they seek approval specifically for funding rehabilitation projects and make closure as soon as the rehabilitation is completed. Such NGOs should file their return within a year. Alternately, concerned NGOs can come together and route their applications through a single agency.

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Source: TOI-Che