The Union Home Ministry has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of public policy institution Centre for Policy Research (CPR), which is based in New Delhi. Last year in February, CPR’s FCRA licence was suspended for 180 days and then the suspension was extended for another 180 days. The suspension of FCRA registration would mean it won’t be able to receive foreign donations.

The Home Ministry website said the registration was cancelled on grounds of “violation”. One of the reasons mentioned on the website is that the institute published reports on “current affairs programmes,” which is a violation of FCRA.

Yamini Aiyar, President, CPR, told The Hindu that the institution will weigh its options to seek justice.

Earlier, in September 2022, the Income Tax department conducted ‘survey’ operations on CPR, Oxfam India, and the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) based in Bengaluru in a bid to look into their foreign funding.

The IT department claimed that CPR had made payments to individuals who had not filed their personal Income Tax returns. They also raised concerns about the commercial nature of the books published by CPR. The think tank has refuted these allegations and has taken the matter to the Delhi High Court.

As per CPR’s description on its website, it is a non-profit organisation and contributions to the Centre are tax exempt. The institution receives financial support from the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and is recognised as an institution by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). CPR obtains grants from various sources, both domestic and international, including foundations, corporate philanthropy, governments, and multilateral agencies.

During the hearing in HC, CPR said that its activities were stopped, and 83 scientists and other employees had left the organisation after its FCRA licence was suspended. The organisation received 60 per cent donations from foreign contributions. In October, HC permitted CPR to use 25 per cent of unutilised funds in fixed deposits for paying salaries to employees.

It is worth noting that Oxfam India’s foreign funding has been blocked since December 2021, as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refused to renew its FCRA license. Additionally, the Central Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation into Oxfam India.

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