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World News

Mother Teresa's charity has foreign funding access restored by Indian government

by Donna Birrell

A leading Catholic charity founded by Mother Teresa has had its access to foreign funds restored by the Indian government.

In December, the government rejected the Missionaries of Charity's application to renew a licence that allows it to receive funds from abroad, effectively leaving it without enough money to minister to some of the world's most vulnerable people. It cited “adverse inputs” which the charity refuted.  

In the past, Hindu hardliners have accused the Missionaries of Charity of using its programmes to convert people to Christianity. The charity denies the allegations.

The Indian government has not commented so far but an entry in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act website shows that the FCRA licence has been restored. The news agency ANI said the licence was restored after "necessary documents (were submitted) to concerned department".

Derek O’Brien, a lawmaker from the opposition Trinamool Congress party, also tweeted that the Missionaries of Charity was now back on the list of approved associations. 

The loss of the licence - needed to receive and use charitable contributions from abroad - left the group, which operates orphanages and shelters for the poor, sick, and destitute in India, unable to access foreign funds stored in over 250 accounts.

The Order of the Missionaries of Charity was founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa in Kolkata and is run by more than 5,000 religious sisters. It cares for abandoned babies and operates schools, clinics and hospices. 

Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 1979, and Pope Francis declared her a saint in 2017, twenty years after her death in 1997.
 

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