What is foreign hospitality?
Answer: As defined in Section 2(1)(i) of FCRA, 2010, “foreign hospitality means any offer, not being a purely casual one, made in cash or kind by a foreign source for providing a person with the costs of travel to any foreign country or territory or with free boarding, lodging, transport or medical treatment”.
To whom the restrictions relating to acceptance of foreign hospitality are applicable?
Answer: In terms of Section 6 of FCRA, 2010, the restrictions are applicable to any‒
- member of a Legislature;
- office bearer of a political party;
- Government servant;
- employee of any corporation owned or controlled by the Government;
- employee of any other body owned or controlled by the Government.
Whether the restrictions on acceptance of foreign hospitality are applicable to any functionary of an Association which is not owned or controlled by the Government?
Answer: Generally, not. However, according to Section 9(b) of FCRA, 2010,
“the Central Government may require any person or class of persons, not specified in Section 6, to obtain prior permission of the Central Government before accepting any foreign hospitality. Further, in terms of Section 9(e) of the Act, the Central Government may require any person or class of persons, not specified in section 6, to furnish intimation, within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed, as to the receipt of any foreign hospitality, the source from which and the manner in which such hospitality was received;
Provided that no such prohibition or requirement shall be made unless the Central Government is satisfied that the acceptance of foreign hospitality by such person or class of persons, as the case may be, is likely to affect prejudicially –
- the sovereignty and integrity of India; or
- public interest; or
- freedom or fairness of election to any Legislature; or
- friendly relations with any foreign State; or
- harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic or regional groups, castes or communities.”
Who cannot accept foreign hospitality without prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs?
Answer: Section 6 of FCRA, 2010 prescribes that
“No member of a Legislature or office bearer of a political party or Judge or Government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body owned or controlled by the Government including a Government Company shall, while visiting any country or territory outside India, accept, except with the prior permission of the Central Government any foreign hospitality.
Provided that it shall not be necessary to obtain any such permission for an emergent medical aid needed on account of sudden illness contracted during a visit outside India, but, where such foreign hospitality has been received, the person receiving such hospitality shall give, within one month from the date of receipt of such hospitality an intimation to the Central Government as to the receipt of such hospitality, and the source from which, and the manner in which, such hospitality was received by him.“
Whether approval of MHA is required in cases where the proposed foreign visit is being undertaken by a person in his/her personal capacity and the entire expenditure thereon is being met by the person concerned or by his/her relative?
Answer: No. Any person belonging to any of the categories specified in Section 6 of FCRA, 2010 would require such approval only if the person concerned is seeking foreign hospitality from a foreign source. Approval of MHA should not be required for accepting foreign hospitality from a ‘relative’, as defined under FCRA, 2010. Please refer to the reply to Q. 53 for the meaning of ‘relative’.
How can one seek permission of the Government for receiving foreign hospitality?
Answer: The application is to be made online in electronic form in Form FC-2 by accessing FCRA Online Services at the website http://fcraonline.nic.in/.
In terms of Rule 7 of FCRR, 2011, the application for grant of permission to accept foreign hospitality must reach MHA (FCRA Wing) ordinarily two weeks before the proposed date of onward journey accompanied by an invitation letter from the host or host country, as the case may be, and administrative clearance of the Ministry/Department concerned in case of visits sponsored by a Ministry/Department of the Government. Further, in case of emergent medical aid needed on account of sudden illness during a visit abroad, the acceptance of foreign hospitality shall be required to be intimated to the Central Government within one month of such receipt giving full details including the source, approximate value in Indian Rupees, and the purpose for which and the manner in which it was utilized. Provided that no such intimation is required if the value of such hospitality in emergent medical aid is up to one lakh rupees or equivalent thereto.
What are the provisions under FCRA, 2010 relating to acceptance of gifts or presentations by a member of any Indian delegation?
Answer: In terms of Section 4(d) and subject to the provisions of Section 10 of FCRA, 2010, a member of an Indian delegation may accept, by way of a gift or presentation made to him as a member of such delegation provided that such gift or presents was accepted in accordance with Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts or Presentations) Rules, 2012.