Indian Government Suspends Foreign Funding To Think Tank Center For Policy Research

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has suspended the funding to think tank Center for Policy Research’s government license to receive foreign funds for 180 days or until further notice.

International researchers fear long-standing collaborations with Indian researchers might be imperilled following a decision by the Indian government to suspend foreign funding to Indian think tank the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), based in New Delhi. Research projects at CPR — which conducts some of India’s most influential independent policy studies — have been paused temporarily after the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the think tank’s government licence to receive overseas funds for 180 days or until further notice.

The move has sparked an outcry among Indian and foreign researchers who fear the funding pause could cripple the CPR and muzzle independent scrutiny of policy in India, which some say is threatened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“CPR cannot survive in its present shape,” says political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot at the French national research centre CNRS in Paris. Jaffrelot fears that the suspension will remain in place indefinitely and could spell the end of the think tank.

“This government action will scare away even potential domestic funders,” says Vinay Sitapati, a political scientist at Ashoka University in Rajiv Gandhi Education City near Delhi.

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The CPR conducts research into public policy in India, including climate change, social and economic policy, governance and infrastructure. Last year it received about three-quarters of its grant funding from influential global organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank. Its domestic researchers have contributed to high-profile international studies such as the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“A permanent suspension — or rather cancellation — would result in a significant loss in available resources to undertake our research work and fulfil our institutional mandate,” a CPR official said in response to Nature’s queries.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, the minister Dr. Jitendra Singh announced that India has approved the installation of 10 new nuclear reactors in five states.

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