There is a plethora of socio-religious institutions in India, which not only preach and propagate but also use social activities and organized philanthropic activities to extend their influence, legitimize their actions and justify their existence. Many of them have taken the form of NGOs to garner money and donations from abroad. Government of India has framed the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA), whose basic objective is to command and control foreign funding and its use. This gives rise to two fundamental questions: who are the donors and what is their primary objective behind such huge donations? And second, what are the backgrounds of the recipient institutions and their declared objectives and what led them to enjoy a major share in the foreign donations? Do they use the money in accordance with their declared purposes?
There are many well known institutions in India whose actions and agenda severely contradict the perception about them. Institutions of this kind use money to invigorate ‘identity politics’, obstructing ‘developmental activities’ and breeding the sense of alienation among their adherents. There is a pressing need to thoroughly probe such actions and institutions that act as funding agencies and their recipients on the one hand, and also their impact on the social, cultural and political life of the people.
The India Policy Foundation has initiated a series of studies on socio-religious institutions and their structures, activities and funding and their impact on society and culture. It is an attempt to understand the different denominations of the Church, their internal structures, Christian NGOs and their objectives.