The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has suspended the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a Delhi-based think tank, for 180 days.
A senior government official said the FCRA registration of the public policy research institution was suspended on February 27. “The registration was suspended as prime facie violation of FCRA provisions were found,” the official said.
The CPR’s office was surveyed by the Income Tax department on September 7, 2022.
FCRA registration is mandatory to receive foreign funds. The suspension means that the association will not be able to receive any fresh foreign donations or utilise the existing foreign donations without the Ministry’s clearance.
Founded in 1973, the CPR, according to its website, is a “non-profit, non-partisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India”.
The CPR said in a statement that the MHA has intimated that its registration under the FCRA has been suspended for a period of 180 days.
“In September 2022, the IT [Income Tax] department conducted an Income Tax survey at the CPR premises. As part of the survey follow-up process, CPR received several notices from the department. Following due process, detailed and exhaustive responses have been submitted to the department. CPR has and continues to cooperate fully with the authorities,” it said.
It added that the association is in complete compliance with the law and are routinely scrutinised and audited by government authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. “We have annual statutory audits, and all our annual audited balance sheets are in the public domain. There is no question of having undertaken any activity that is beyond our objects of association and compliance mandated by law. In light of the current MHA order, we will explore all avenues of recourse available to us. Our work and institutional purpose is to advance our constitutional goals and protect constitutional guarantees. We are absolutely confident that the matter will be resolved speedily, in fairness and in the spirit of our constitutional values,” CPR said.
CPR works with government departments, autonomous institutions, charitable organisations and universities in India and across the globe. The institution’s work is globally recognised for its academic and policy excellence, it said, adding that full-time and visiting scholars at CPR include members of NITI Aayog (the Government of India’s think tank), former diplomats, civil servants, members of the Indian Army, journalists, and leading researchers.
Through its five-decade long history, CPR has worked in partnership with governments and grassroots organisations. These include partnerships with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Ministry of Rural Development; Ministry of Jal Shakti; the Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, and Rajasthan, amongst others. Through their research and writing, CPR scholars have made pioneering contributions to public policy in India.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and late Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud are the former members of the CPR governing board.