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Indian Embassy issues new guidelines for Associations

Over the past six months more than 200 Indian associations previously registered with the Embassy of India in Kuwait have been delisted, The Times Kuwait has learnt.

At its peak early this year, almost 275 Indian associations comprising of cultural, regional, alumni, educational, professional, sport promotion, social and business associations operated in the country with the endorsement of the Indian embassy. The present number stands at 69.

Several of the delisted associations are alleged to have violated the guidelines set by the embassy, but that they continued to function all these years points to embassy having ‘turned a blind-eye’ to their operations in the past.

Though the embassy guidelines for registering associations stipulate that they should not be commercial in nature and require a constitution and byelaws for their operation, as well as hold annual general body meetings to elect office bearers, most of the associations did not comply with these rules.

The mushrooming of associations led to many complaints, including infighting and conflict of interest issues that cropped up frequently and necessitated intervention by the embassy.

een issued, which supersedes the previous requirements for registration of associations. The embassy advisory now requires all Indian associations to respect and comply with the relevant rules and regulations of Kuwait’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.

The embassy also reiterated that the registration of associations by the Embassy of India was only an acknowledgement of their presence and functioning, and was not an assumption of any responsibility by the embassy for their activities. The responsibility lies entirely with the office-bearers of the associations, embassy noted.

The embassy claimed that it had to maintain a reasonable balance between the essence and spirit behind an association, and the number of association registered with it at any given point of time, taking into consideration, the sensitivities of the host government and the trust and confidence it has reposed in the community, solidarity and cohesion of the community, the nature/purpose of each association and avoidance of duplication/overlap.

The embassy also pointed out that the main objective and rationale of the registered associations was to provide a platform for the members and their families to be able to come together as cohesive groups for cultural/professional and sports purposes.

The embassy further noted that it would be reviewing various associations from time to time and that this was an ongoing process. In its latest review, the embassy said, it found that in the case of a majority of associations, either the validity of their registration had expired and they had become defunct, while some had no meaningful activities, few remaining ones had been deviating from the terms of the registration, including by indulging in commercial activities, misrepresentation of membership details etc. The embassy also clarified that associations removed from the list were free to contact the embassy for renewing and reviving their registration.

No matter what these associations did or did not do in the past, obviously the embassy has now decided to enforce the last clause in its set of criteria of registering associations, namely its right to de-register an association at its sole discretion.

Farewell to the many associations that will not be sorely missed.

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