Centre for Policy Research's Foreign Contributions License has Suspended

  • March 21, 2023
  • Dushyant Sharma
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The Indian Home Ministry today has suspended the FCRA registration certificate of the Centre for Policy Research or CPR. Here, the CPR is a prominent public policy think tank. As an online FCRA-licensed entity, the CPR falls under the

jurisdiction of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010. The Home Ministry, in its statement, alleged that the Centre for Policy Research had prime facie violated the provisions of the stipulated FCRA regulations. This suspension hangs in a doldrum because if the suspension period lasts six months, the CPR will become ineligible to receive Foreign Funds. They can obtain some necessary funds if the Central Government specifically authorizes them.


What do we know about the Centre for Policy Research (CPR)?

CPR is a prominent public policy think tank which came into existence 50 years ago. The CPR has listed several agencies as its partners as well as donors. One of the listee is Namati of the Open Society Foundation, founded by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros. But the Philanthropist was recently linked with the Adani controversy.

But such has not been the condition for CPR has many distinguished personalities, such as our former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and CSI Chandrachud, on its governing board. Recently, the Organization has come under Income-Tax Department's scrutiny. They suspected them of FCRA Registration Process laws violations. Last September, the CPR and two others faced an Income-Tax survey, followed by further queries from the Government Agencies.


Why has CPR's FCRA license been suspended?

According to a report submitted by the Income Tax Department last year, the Centre for Policy Research received over Rs 3.2 crore from Namati for an Environmental Justice project. Along similar lines, the CPR received another amount of value of Rs 2.5 crore from the same Organization for the fiscal year 2019-20. Such actions have culminated in the Government stripping the FCRA registration license from the political think tank. Although the Government has not stated the reason for the FCRA license suspension, the IT Inspectors & Officials have alleged the legal provisions violation related to FCRA laws.


How is the CPR coping with its FCRA License suspension?

In its statement, the Centre for Political Research said they received notices from the IT department for survey conduction and responded accordingly. CPR said that it is committed to cooperating fully with the Authorities, such as complying with the laws and routine scrutinization as well as audits by Government Authorities, like CAG.

They also allegedly informed the Officials of their Annual Statutory Audits as well as their Audited Balance Sheets in the public domain. They also assured their dignity in conduct by sharing the list of their prominent donors, such as the following:

  • World Bank
  • UNO's Organizations
  • Foreign Universities
  • ICSSR ( Indian Council for Social Science Research)
  • NITI Aayog
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 
  • William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

But how did such a thing becomes an issue for the CPR? Gaining the necessary FCRA license after the due process of online FCRA registration in India with the requisite fee payment is a taxing task. Only with an accomplished legal professional's aid can you sail through the FCRA Online Registration process in India.


What are the essential must-nots that every FCRA-registered Entity must comply with?

To learn from the case of CPR, and in general, for Businesses, we are laying down the essential must-not for every online licensed FCRA organization in India. Let us look at them one by one.

Cases of Registration for a licensed FCRA NGO:

M/o Home can cancel your FCRA registration on any of the following bases:

  • The registered Entity commits a violation of the FCRA Act
  • The registered Entity has been discovered by an inquiry to submit false statements in its FCRA registration application
  • The registered Entity has violated any of the T&Cs of the FCRA certificate
  • The registered Entity has engaged in a reasonable activity in its chosen field for the society's and people's benefit for a minimum of two consecutive years
  • The registered Entity has been rendered defunct
  • The registered Entity has been wounded up as per the opinion of the Central Government in the interest of the general public 
  • The registered Entity has been closed if audit conduct finds financial irregularities in terms of funds misutilization

But in all, the registered Entity must be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard. If an NGO's FCRA registration certificate is cancelled, it becomes ineligible for re-registration for a minimum of three years.

In Case Of FCRA License Suspension:

The M/o Home can suspend an Organization's FCRA registration for 180 days pending inquiry. They can also freeze its funds. But such orders can be challenged in High Court. 

In the past years, the FCRA license registration changed a lot. In 2011, more than 40,000 NGOs were operating under the umbrella of FCRA in India. But such numbers have been reduced to 16,000 today. Therefore, successfully seeking FCRA registration will not make you immune to legal proceedings. NGOs must comply with the stated FCRA regulation to function effectively in the state without any hindrance. 

To seek any professional help in the case of the online FCRA registration process as well as being compliant with the FCRA-stated regulations, you can connect with the FDI Experts at Registrationwala.




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Dushyant Sharma
Author: Dushyant Sharma

Hey there, I'm Dushyant Sharma. With the extensive knowledge I've gained in past 8 years, I have been creating content on various subjects such as banking, insurance, telecom, and all the important registration and licensing processes for various companies. I'm here to help everyone with my expertise in these areas through my articles.

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