Ex-servicemen bodies can’t collect donations

, by KS Ramaswamy

Tribune News
Service Chandigarh,
April 16

After 22 years, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revised the parameters for according recognition to ex-servicemen associations. It has incorporated several new conditions that pertain to generation of funds, contact with foreign entities and conduct on the social media.
The ministry has introduced a clause explicitly stating that the acts, charter and conduct of the ex-servicemen associations should not be for anti-government activities or for acts prejudicial to national interest and security.
While the earlier letter on the subject was silent on generation of funds, the fresh letter issued last month stipulates that no other source of fund is allowed to be collected by an association, except subscriptions.
This, according to some ex-servicemen, implies that donations by individuals or organisations as well as grants from institutions have been barred.
The MoD has also prohibited associations to be associated with any foreign government or company/conglomerate and under no circumstances should they accept any donations or pecuniary benefits from any foreign concern or entity.
Prior to this, associations were simply debarred from addressing any communication to or entering into any correspondence with any foreign authority except through the government, which had the right to withhold it, if necessary, a condition that continues under the new orders.
Besides the aforementioned conditions, several old clauses such as associations having a pan-India presence with a minimum membership of 1 lakh and all three services being fairly represented, faith in democratic principles, non-political charter with resorting to religious, caste social and linguistic lines and having the sole interest to project issues concerning ex-servicemen have been reiterated in the new letter. Such conditions were last revised by the MoD in January 1996. There are about 25 lakh ex-servicemen and 60,000 widows of ex-servicemen in the country and many of them are members of various associations.
In recent times, some of these associations have been involved in public protests over issues pertaining to benefits, status and welfare.

MoD’s new rules

Ex-servicemen associations cannot collect funds from other sources except subscriptions Barred from associating with any foreign government or company/conglomerate Should not indulge in any commercial activity and only one bank account per association will be allowed Must inform govt about all social media accounts 


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