The probe was part of an investigation to determine if there was a violation of the FCRA by the group, IT officials said; accounts are clean and transparent, CPR said
The ongoing investigation by the Department of Income Tax into the Center for Policy Research (CPR) has focused on issues such as funding, transparency, the nature of work and the role think tanks in public discourse.
“The investigation is part of an investigation to determine whether there has been a violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) by the group,” senior officials involved in the investigation said at the time. their interaction with the media.
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Recent CPR work
Over the past few months, CPR has produced reports on Odisha’s slum upgrading, urban tree regulation and how laws are not equipped to deal with rapidly changing urban realities, and the democratization of the digital space to ensure citizen participation in the governance process.
The think tank, in a major collaborative attempt, has partnered with Unicef India to understand the impact of social protection schemes and Union government measures on women and children migrants, especially those involved in circular and seasonal migration. Spread across five states – Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat – the findings highlight the invisibility of women and children in a labour-centric migration discourse and the need to focus on service delivery in urban contexts.
The ongoing investigation
Responding to a question about the ongoing raids, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Senior Researcher at CPR, said The Federal he has no idea about the investigation because the investigative body did not clearly explain the reasons for it. He was very adamant in his assessment of the investigation as he was quick to point out that it was an “investigation” and not a “raid” as many media reports.
To a separate question on funding, he replied that the CPR funding mechanism is extremely transparent, with the website clearly mentioning all sources. The site also provides full accounting of annual finances and grants, the researcher repeated.
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The group said in a statement that it did nothing wrong. He added that he held himself to the “highest standards of compliance”. Sharing the statement on Twitter, Yamini Aiyar, President and CEO of CPR, said, “We have extended full cooperation to the department during the investigation and will continue to do so in the future.
A declaration pic.twitter.com/MqMZAEq8Rn
— CPR India (@CPR_India) September 9, 2022
“We hold ourselves to the highest standards of compliance and are confident that we have done nothing wrong. We are committed to working with authorities to answer any questions they may have. We remain committed to our mission to provide rigorous research to policy-making in India,” CPR said.
Have recent writings ruffled the feathers of the Center?
More recently, Aiyar criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision revadi (free) remark on culture, in an article for Indian Express. She called the remarks a “thinly disguised attempt to delegitimize welfare announcements by political opponents.”
Perhaps of all the articles highly critical of government policies, the one from the Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech got the most attention.
“This insistence on duties has been an oft-repeated call from the Prime Minister. I have nothing against a talk of citizens’ duties, indeed all citizens have duties. The challenge lies in how the terms of this discourse have been formulated, defining the government’s obligation to the citizen not in terms of ‘rights’ but in terms of ‘beneficiary’ or ‘labharthi’ and thus bearing duties in return for what the government distributes,” Aiyar said in a blog post.
Budget and politics in times of pandemic
Commenting on the 2022-2023 Union budget, Aiyar argued that the focus on capital spending rather than welfare in the two budgets announced during the pandemic was merely a continuation of a shift in political discourse towards “market-friendly reforms” that started with the Modi government. re-election in 2019.
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She also explained how tough critical programs that deliver basic public services — education, nutrition and even the flagship clean water program — have been delayed or cut spending on fiscal year. Calculations by the CPR’s Accountability Initiative highlighted that through December 2021, only half of the year’s annual budget allocations had been released for these key programs. Revised estimates for the 2021-22 fiscal year are much lower for many of these critical plans than the budget estimates at the start of the year.
Survey vs Research
Government agency officials have clearly defined the difference between an “investigation” and a “research”. A fact-finding operation is limited in scope, as the agency visits business premises, usually during office hours, and can only confiscate transaction documents for review and seek clarification from those involved.
A search, on the other hand, is an exhaustive exercise in which all locations limited to the person being assessed could be covered and cash documents and valuables seized.
The Accountability Initiative pioneered a new approach to tracking public spending for social policy programs and is widely credited with conducting the nation’s largest spending tracking survey on primary education. Aiyar founded the Accountability Initiative at CPR. He has provided important research in the areas of governance, social policy and state capacity.
What is CPR?
According to its website, the CPR is an “independent, non-profit, non-partisan institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high-quality research, better policies, and stronger public debate on the issues that have an impact on life in India”.
The CPR receives grants from the Indian Council for Social Science Research and is a recognized institution by the Department of Science and Technology. It also receives grants from various national and international sources.