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Centre for Policy Research, run by daughter of Mani Shankar Aiyar, cries foul after govt withdraws its tax exemption status

CPR claims to be a non-partisan public policy think tank, which is supposedly focused on supporting 'scholarly excellence'.

On June 30 this year, the Income Tax Department reportedly informed the ‘Centre for Policy Research (CPR),’ run by the daughter of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, about the withdrawal of its tax exemption status.

While crying foul over the development on Wednesday (July 6), the controversial think tank said, “CPR maintains that it is fully compliant with the law and all its collaborations and partnerships are limited to research alone.”

It added, “Since the IT survey began in September 2022, CPR has provided detailed responses to various authorities and fully cooperated with all the proceedings. In response to the current order withdrawing our tax exemption status, CPR will be seeking &avenues of recourse that are available.”

The Centre for Policy Research labelled the imitation by the Income Tax Department as a ‘severe blow that strikes at the core of its ability to function.’ It also claimed to continue with its research, which supposedly contributes to better policies, robust public discourse and high-quality scholarship.

It must be mentioned that non-profits are entitled to tax exemptions under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act of 1961. However, if an organisation fails to register under 12A or follow the guidelines, its financial recipes and transactions can be deemed taxable.

According to its website, CPR has been in existence since 1973. It claims to be a non-partisan public policy think tank, which is supposedly focused on supporting ‘scholarly excellence’.

Govt action against Centre for Policy Research

In September 2022, income tax raids were conducted at the Delhi-based think tank. In March this year, the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of the ‘Centre for Policy Research (CPR)’ was suspended by the Central government.

As per a report by The Economic Times, its licence was revoked due to non-compliance with FCRA rules. CPR had filed for the renewal of the licence. 

It stated that during the period of October 2022-December 2022, funds amounting to Rs 10.1 crore were received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, the World Resources Institute and Duke University.

The think tank is headed by Yamini Aiyar, the daughter of controversial Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.

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