Any advice on how a British Citizen can establish an NGO/Trust/Society in India?

#1 Jul 13th, 2013, 00:46
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#1
Thank you in advance of any advice offered. Here is my predicament...

I have spent the last two years working for an Animal Rescue NGO. The NGO provides a wonderful service in rescuing and treating injured or sick animals. On occasion they have animals that need long term care, animals who are unable to fend for themselves even after treatment. It is often the case that permanently disabled animals can not be provided with the long term care needed.

It is my intention to start a Sanctuary that can provide a solution to the problem. I have suitable land sourced, affordable leases, staff and even a waiting list of animals ready to move in. My problem is that I do not have a scooby doo whether I am even legally allowed to start this - all the information I seem to read leads me to believe a foreigner cannot set up an NGO.

Is it true a foreigner can set up a Society? Any guidance would really be appreciated as I am struggling to know where to turn.

Thanks again. JM
#2 Jul 13th, 2013, 01:30
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Originally Posted by Jade Marie View Post Is it true a foreigner can set up a Society? Any guidance would really be appreciated as I am struggling to know where to turn.
You might be better off establishing a trust. There is no problem at all for a foreigner being a trustee.

There would need to be trustees on board who are Himachal natives, no doubt. Otherwise the trust would own the land etc, no trustee would have any ownership, just guidance for the trust's best interest. Providing that is abided by then everything should be trouble free in the long term. You need a lawyer of course to handle the running around.
#3 Jul 13th, 2013, 10:46
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Thanks Paleface, that perfectly answers the question. Much appreciated.
#4 Jul 13th, 2013, 15:05
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Originally Posted by Jade Marie View Post Thanks Paleface, that perfectly answers the question. Much appreciated.
Well i have done this a couple of times in India, and no doubt others here know the score as well.

I suggest you can keep us posted as to the progress and double-check with us the info you are given locally, including costs and so on. Also this should not take too long to establish, although the registration phase may take a while, though it shouldn't in theory. After that you can apply for tax-free donation status to donors.
#5 Jul 13th, 2013, 20:21
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I will be sure to do that. Can you tell me whether I can act as settlor on the trust or just a board trustee? I am very grateful for your help on this matter
#6 Jul 13th, 2013, 23:39
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Originally Posted by Jade Marie View Post I will be sure to do that. Can you tell me whether I can act as settlor on the trust or just a board trustee? I am very grateful for your help on this matter
As far as i understand, and i don't think the the Indian Trust Act varies across India, i.e it's a national regulation - is that

At least one person must be the Settlor (the One who is forming the trust)
However more than One person can form a trust, therefore you would be a founding Settlor and a founding trustee, along with anybody else you include. I don't know if it's possible, though i don't see why not, that you could be sole settlor and trustee if you want that - i don't advise it if you don't live here?

You'll require at least one person as witness, and some minimum property to register the trust e.g., Rs.1000.00. Subsequently, the purchase of land can be made at any point of time of your choice in the name of the trust. There is no bar in the law of India against this. For you realise the State of Himachal Pradesh ultimately owns the land, and the trustees cannot sell it for personal gain or anything at all like that.

Then if you are long-term serious you can begin to establish a sustainable Corpus, from which interest (if it ever grows large enough), overheads can be funded. Mind you i am not a lawyer and you will need one. Do you know a lawyer? To what level are there trusted local friends parties/supportive to the Sanctuary scheme.

Could you expand on the plan? - this forums potential can often surprise.
#7 Jul 13th, 2013, 23:53
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......
#8 Jul 14th, 2013, 00:51
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Hi Paleface - sorry for the delay - we just had a minor earthquake so I have only just braved it back indoors!

I have four people that alongside me will be on the board of trustees, and, have been recommended a good local lawyer. Aside from me, the other trustees will be local - two vets, one accountant, and, a friend. Knowing that I can act as Settlor is good.

This definitely appears to be my best option. I will be scheduling a meeting with the lawyer on Wednesday or Thursday of this week with an intention to get the trust up and running asap.

I will be sure to keep you updated with my progress! Once it's opened consider yourself an honorary guest! Thanks
#9 Jul 14th, 2013, 02:00
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Originally Posted by Jade Marie View Post I have four people that alongside me will be on the board of trustees, and, have been recommended a good local lawyer. Aside from me, the other trustees will be local - two vets, one accountant, and, a friend. Knowing that I can act as Settlor is good.

This definitely appears to be my best option. I will be scheduling a meeting with the lawyer on Wednesday or Thursday of this week with an intention to get the trust up and running asap.
yeah i know about the earthquake, it was 36Kms NE of Dharmsala at 18kms depth.

Well you sound ready to go on this along with a solid team which is great, and i like the scheme, so i hope it goes trouble free for you all.
#10 Jul 19th, 2013, 18:43
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hii,
i appreciated your work for the humanity.i am living 30 km far from dharamsala and i would like to do some work as a vollunteer if you allow me and help the animals who is roaming in streets nd peoples treat them like a useless things.i feel great if some one (animal) find the home through me.
hope hear soon from you.
#11 Jul 28th, 2013, 19:08
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Hello Jade...

May I suggest get in touch with Jodie Underhill...She was based in Dharamshala and founder of Mountain Cleaners.
You will get a real life experience and the issues she faced...which resulted in her resigning from the trusteeship.

She now heads a NGO 'Waste Warriors' based out of Dehradun & Bhagsu.

I am sure you will find a lot in common.
"Itís not about how to achieve your dreams. Itís about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you. "
ó Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
#12 Jul 30th, 2013, 14:39
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Hello Jade

I was reading this thread. if i understand correctly you want to start a NGO and that NGO should hold a land in India and also NGO will be funded by your from foreign source.

If so then you have to look for couple of laws which don't allow the foreign national to undertake such kind of activities without permission. one among them is FCRA which requires prior approval before you bring any funds in INdia as donation/ contribution. The another is income tax registration and donation exemption benefits.
on this background it many not be a good idea to set up a trust and be a settlor by yourself.

you may like to try formation of section 25 private guarantee company with the help of Indian's and thereafter acquire land in it and apply to FCRA for prior permission and bring in the funds.
its me mak!!!
Last edited by JuliaF; Jul 30th, 2013 at 21:38..
#13 Jul 31st, 2013, 20:06
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#13
To add to mmlele and Paleface's posts, please do not be the settlor and give the founding 'donation' as if you are a foriegner, it would be classed as a 'foreign contribution' which as mmlele says would strictly be illegal. It's a simple mistake to make and would only become problematic once you tried to apply for FCRA. (Which you would need to do if the Trust/Society wanted to receive money from anyone who wasn't an Indian Citizen). It's quite strict, also to have FCRA acceptance, you would usually require 3 years of audited accounts, although you can ask for prioir permission but this is done for each source of income, which makes it only practical if you have a good chunk of money you want to send over.
#14 Aug 9th, 2013, 22:04
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Hi Jade

First and foremost you have to figure out what you want to establish to work for the overall development of India.

There is nothing known as an NGO in technical terms, you have the option of establishing either a trust, a society or a section 25 nonprofit company which are further known as NGOs.

To establish a Trust under BPT Act, 1950 - you need just two people (settlors) the disadvantage is that there are no managing committee governing board and trust can close down after demise of "trustees"

To establish a society under SR Act, 1960 - you need 5-7 people (Founding Trustees) which will be the managing committee governing board, Since it would be an Indian registered NGO, no foreigners are allowed on governing board neither can you transact any foreign transactions without FCRA permissions, the alternative could be you may register an nonprofit org in your home town and then open its branches or liaison offices in India under Indian rules.

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