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PFHI Issue Has Nothing to do With us: Gates Foundation

The Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the license of Public Health Foundation of India earlier this week under the Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, which means that the NGO will not be able to get any foreign funding.

News18.com

Updated:April 22, 2017, 6:59 PM IST
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PFHI Issue Has Nothing to do With us: Gates Foundation
File Photo of Bill and Melinda Gates (Photo Credits - Reuters)

New Delhi: Nachiket Mor, Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) India, has denied that the Public Health Foundation of India’s (PHFI) FCRA license cancellation has anything to do with its links to the BMGF.

In an interview to The Hindu newspaper, Nachiket Mor said there was no basis to say that PHFI was targeted for its proximity to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or that the BMGF itself is under scrutiny.

“That’s not obvious to me, and I am not hearing anything different from the Health Ministry. In fact, I have pending requests [for various proposals] right now that have not been withdrawn. The government sets the priorities. We are external partners,” he told the Hindu. “There is no link to anything we are doing."

The Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the license of Public Health Foundation of India earlier this week under the Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, which means that the NGO will not be able to get any foreign funding. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is one of its biggest donors.

Home Ministry sources told CNN-News18 that the FCRA licence was cancelled on the grounds of misuse of funds received from foreign donors. Sources said that the funds received for health research were being diverted.

Commenting on the development, PHFI said, “Certain observations have been made by the Ministry on utilisation of funds related to PHFI’s projects on tobacco, HIV/AIDS and its financial reports. PHFI has submitted the requisite information and documents to the MHA on the observations raised in the notification and provided the needed clarifications.”

Mor also rubbished allegations that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had a role in influencing India’s health policy. “I see no evidence. Our goal is to spend charitable resources on the ground,” Mor said in the interview.

On a question about whether the BMGF had influenced India’s immunization programme, Mor said, “At BMGF, we believe that vaccines are a cost effective way to meet public health challenges. We support anyone who asks for evidence and data. The question to ask whoever is making these allegations is, why is there so much insecurity about your own competence? Ultimately, Indians are taking decisions in India’s best interests.”

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