Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cancel Permission to Greenpeace to Collect Foreign Funds: Intelligence Bureau // 'A Ridiculous Claim' Greenpeace responds to the leaked IB Report

The Intelligence Bureau has prepared yet another report on NGO Greenpeace, recommending cancellation of permission given to it for collecting funds abroad besides reassessment of its tax compliance. In the fresh report, submitted to the Prime Minister's Office and National Security Adviser, the central security agency has warned that foreign donations to the Greenpeace be put on "prior category" list so that permission is taken before any money flows in for funding their activities.

The report has also listed 12 foreign nationals who have been associated with some NGOs in their campaign against coal mines, power projects and nuclear power plants. A specific portion of the report, which has been sent to Finance Ministry and other key ministries, has focused on Greenpeace NGO, saying it is trying to raise issues of hazardous e-waste generated by Information Technology-based service providers, opposing genetically modified food and coal fired power plants which are known to cause serious damage to environment. The Bureau has also raised concern on the mass protests organised by it against Mahaan coal block especially in February 2014 when a Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai even went on to physically prevent entry of private or public sector workers in the area. 

Greenpeace spokesperson Bharti Sinha, when approached for comments, said, "Greenpeace has been targeted left, right and centre and we don't know why. We have said if the Government should have any question or clarification, we are willing to give that. "But instead of any communication, there is only rubbish going on and we are being targeted as an NGO which follows all the laws of the country. We show all the transparency and place our annual reports on website for everybody to see, who ever is interested," Sinha said. .

'A Ridiculous Claim' Greenpeace responds to the leaked IB Report
We wrote to the MHA requesting to see a copy of the official IB report but so far have not received it. Last night a report claiming to be the IB report was leaked on a web portal and based on that version Greenpeace is happy to give our response below. We are accountable to more than 3 million Indian supporters and they need to know what the truth is. If IB approaches us officially with either the report or questions related to the report we will be happy to engage with them

To maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants.

1. The IB claims that GP and other NGOs have impacted GDP by 3%
This is a ridiculous claim – 3% of India’s GDP is over 3.3 lakh crores – more than the coal and 2G scams put together! Leaving aside the IB’s questionable math and understanding of economics, the burden of proof is on them to substantiate their wild claims with evidence. However, we must also realise that environmental degradation is believed to be reducing India’s GDP by 5.7% p.a. according to the World Bank. Lastly, GDP figures by themselves are a poor indication of pr ogress, and say nothing about the quality of life, education level, health etc, particularly for the hundreds of millions that are not benefitting from India’s current model of growth It is clearly not possible to delink development for all from environmental protection

2. Using “people-centric” issues
Yes, Greenpeace does run “people-centric” campaigns – why is this seen as negative? People have a right to, and to demand for, clean air, water, forests, livelihoods and a liveable climate. Greenpeace works to show that protecting our environment is beneficial for all Indians, particularly the poor and not a luxury past time of the idle rich. As a result, we enjoy the support of hundreds of farmer groups fighting for organic agriculture and against GMOs, t housands of villagers in Singrauli who fear being forced off the forests they depend on, and many others in places like Bihar, who are accessing modern electricity for the first time, in part because of work done by Greenpeace on renewable energy access.

3. GP claims to rely on individuals, but you also get money from foundations, some of them linked to corporations. Explain. Greenpeace India has approximately 3 lakh individual financial supporters in all . These are individuals who have contribute d on a month ly or annual basis in amounts ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand rupees. We do not accept money from corporations or governments. We do accept money from philanthropic foundations whose objectives are aligned with ours. We do not accept money fro m corporate foundations. We exercise complete independence over our activities, i.e. we raise funds to implement plans that help us meet our objectives; we do not draw up objectives in order to raise funds... read more:

Greenpeace Factsheet on Adani Group

Nivedita Menon - When Are Foreign Funds Okay? A Guide for the Perplexed

Maja Daruwala - How India treats its NGOs