A Statement- 01 March 2023

01 March 2022

The Ministry of Home Affairs has intimated the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) that its registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act has been suspended for a period of 180 days.

In September 2022, the IT department conducted an Income Tax survey at the CPR premises. As part of the survey follow-up process, CPR received several notices from the department. Following due process, detailed and exhaustive responses have been submitted to the department. CPR has and continues to cooperate fully with the authorities.

We are in complete compliance with the law and are routinely scrutinised and audited by government authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. We have annual statutory audits, and all our annual audited balance sheets are in the public domain. There is no question of having undertaken any activity that is beyond our objects of association and compliance mandated by law.

In light of the current MHA order, we will explore all avenues of recourse available to us. Our work and institutional purpose is to advance our constitutional goals and protect constitutional guarantees. We are absolutely confident that the matter will be resolved speedily, in fairness and in the spirit of our constitutional values.

Founded in 1973, the Centre for Policy Research has been one of India’s leading policy research institutions, home to several eminent thinkers and policy practitioners whose contribution to policy in India is well recognised. It is an independent, non-partisan institution that conducts its work with complete academic and financial integrity. CPR works with government departments, autonomous institutions, charitable organisations and universities in India and across the globe. The institution’s work is globally recognised for its academic and policy excellence. Full-time and visiting scholars at CPR include members of NITI Aayog (Government of India’s think tank), former diplomats, civil servants, members of the Indian Army, journalists and leading researchers.

Through its five-decade long history, CPR has worked in partnership with governments and grassroots organisations – these include partnerships with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Government of Odisha, Government of Punjab, Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of Meghalaya, Government of Rajasthan amongst others. Through their research and writing, CPR scholars have made pioneering contributions to public policy in India.

Writing Urban India Fellowship Mentors

The following candidates are our mentors for Writing Urban India Fellowship anchored and funded by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Urban Studies Foundation (USF) respectively:

Amita Bhide

Dr. Amita Bhide is Chair Professor, National Jal Jeevan Mission, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She works closely with issues related to urban poor communities, community organisation and housing rights movements, and advocacy groups. Professor Bhide’s recent work at the School of Habitat Studies concerns urban transformations and their link to inclusive and sustainable development. She has conducted extensive research in the fields of urban local governance and planning, water and sanitation, housing and land issues. She seeks to develop a theoretical and actionable model of urbanisation that is relevant for the global south through an engagement with several transformative groups at the city, provincial and national scales. Her recent publications include – ‘Colonising the Slum’, ‘ The regularising state’, ‘ Comparing Informalities’, ‘Directed Decentralisation- the experience of JNNURM in Maharashtra’. She has also co-edited a book co-edited along with Professor Himanshu Burte on ‘Parallax: Contemporary Urban Policy in India’. Apart from this, articles have been featured in multiple international and national journals of repute.

Anant Maringanti

Dr. Anant Maringanti is the Executive Director of the Hyderabad Urban Lab. He is a geographer with a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Minnesota, a multi-disciplinary research programme run by the Right to the City Foundation. He has taught graduate courses at the National University of Singapore and University of Hyderabad. His research and teaching interests centre on questions of urbanisation and globalization from the South Asian vantage point. He is widely published in national and international academic journals on social movements, politics of development and urbanisation. He has co-authored articles in reputed journals including The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Geography, Economic and Political Weekly, Environment and Planning, Duke University Press, Taylor & Francis, and many more. In the early stages of his career, he has also worked as a Correspondent with the New Indian Express.

Ashima Sood

Dr. Ashima Sood is an Associate Professor and the Co-Director of the Centre for Urbanism and Cultural Economics at the Anant National University. Dr. Sood’s work has combined qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the forms and origins of informality in Indian cities. Her work has received funding and/or fellowships from the Urban Studies Foundation, the India Foundation of the Arts, the Azim Premji University Foundation, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and the Centre de Sciences Humaines. Her research has been published in various publications such as Urban Studies; Cities; Territory, Politics, Governance; Journal of Institutional Economics; Marg, the Economic and Political Weekly; the India International Centre Quarterly, to the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Urban and Regional Research and the World Social Science Report 2013, and others. Dr. Ashima is also a prize-winning fiction writer.

Champaka Rajagopal

Dr. Champaka Rajagopal is practitioner and researcher in urban policy, planning and governance. With over twenty years of experience of having worked with national, state and local governments in India and abroad, her work cuts across multiple scales and sectors of urban and regional development. She is a visiting faculty at the School of Policy & Governance, Azim Premji University, and also Coordinator, the Hub f\or Law and Policy. Her research primarily focuses on cities and regions, urban policy, governance, and planning, planning for integrated spatial, economic, and social development, urban data governance, participatory planning and decision-making, relationships between states & firms, and intersections between urban & infrastructure governance and planning. She has published several articles in The Hindu, The Deccan Herald, ISOCARP Net (A Paper Platform), and a book chapter “Mapping India’s Capitalism: Old & New Regions” in the book Reciprocity as Regulation, Methodologies for Urban Design for the Informal Economy of the Historic Pete, in Basile, Elisabetta, Harriss-White, Barbara, Lutringer, Christine (Ed).

Gautam Bhan

Dr. Gautam Bhan is an urbanist whose work focuses on urban poverty, inequality, social protection, and housing. He is currently Associate Dean, School of Human Development, as well as Senior Lead of Academics and Research at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Bengaluru, India. Gautam’s previous research has focused on evictions, citizenship and inequality in Delhi, and at IIHS, he has continued to work on questions of access to affordable and adequate housing. He anchors IIHS’ role as a National Resource Centre with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, and is part of IIHS’ work in affordable housing policy and practice having worked with housing rights movements across the country as well as state governments in Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan and Odisha. His new work engages with regimes of urban welfare and social security, including work on urban health. At the School of Human Development, he is building research and practice on questions of the design and delivery of social protection entitlements within urban India. He also has a deep and abiding interest in new urban and planning theory from the south. He has authored articles in Orient Blackswan and Yoda Press, and was a co-editor of the Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South (2018).

Gopa Samanta

Dr. Gopa Samanta is a Professor of Geography at the University of Burdwan. Her research interests include Urban development and the changing economic, social and cultural spaces in small cities, Urban Environment and the Water in Cities, Watery Environments – River, Delta and Char, Gender studies – Wo\rk and Emancipation. She has received external grants from Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) France, French ANR, Australia India Institute, World Bank, Ford Foundation, Indian Council for Social Sciences Research, and University Grants Commission, India. She has co-authored three books on suburban rail commuting, freedom & barriers to women councillors in India, and life on the chars in South Asia (published by Springer and Yale University Press). She has also published Bengali books in Gangchil Publication. Apart from this, she has published in peer-reviewed journals including GeoJournal, Environment, Development, and Sustainability, Space and Culture India, The Hill Geographer, South Asian Water Studies, Jindal Journal of Public Policy, Economic & Political Weekly, Oriental Geographer, etc.

Himanshu Burte

Dr. Himanshu Burte is an Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Science and Engineering (C-USE) in the Ashank Centre for Policy Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. His research areas include urban policy and planning, infrastructural space, urban informality, urban public space, housing, and small cities. He currently teaches courses on urban design and urban space. He has practiced architecture in Mumbai and Goa and published extensively across the professional, popular and academic press for almost thirty years. He has written books, book chapters, journal articles, and reports in publications such as Yoda Press, the Special Issue of Marg, Sage, Economic & Political Weekly, Area and Development Policy, National Centre for Advocacy Studies, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), and others.

J. Devika

Dr. J. Devika is a Professor at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) (under the aegis of Government of Kerala & ICSSR, Government of India). She specialises in the History of, and present developments in, Gender, Politics, Development, and Culture in Kerala; the history of Migration and Cosmopolitanism in Kerala; local self- government in Kerala; translations and translation studies; Malayalam literature; and contemporary politics. She was the editor of the CDS Chronicle from 2005 to 2011, and is currently in charge of the Research Unit on Local Self-Government, CDS. She has published books in English and in Malayalam, in Penguin India, Zubaan, Orient Longman, Readme Books, Olive Books, Women’s Imprint, and DC Books. Her journal articles have been published in South Asia Chronicle, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Writing in Academia, Review of Development and Change, South Asian History and Culture, Modern Asian Studies, Economic & Political Weekly, Development & Change, History and Sociology of South Asia, Environment and Planning, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Labour and Development, etc.

Karen Coehlo

Dr. Karen Coehlo is an Associate Professor of the Madras Institute of Development Studies. She works on urban transformations in India, urban reforms, informal labour, urban ecologies and urban civil society. She is currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee for Review of Urban Affairs (RUA), EPW. She is an avid speaker in a number of national and global conferences and seminars. Her publication expertise spans both newspaper / media articles as well as academic publications – including the Scroll, the Op-Ed page in The Hindu, The Caravan, Routledge, International Journal of Housing Policy, INSEE Journal, Review of Development and Change, Cambridge University Press, Economic & Political Weekly, Issue on Urban Poverty, Hong Kong University Press, Elsevier Press, etc. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Arizona.

Lalitha Kamath

Dr. Lalitha Kamath is an Associate Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She is also the Chairperson, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies at TISS. Trained as an urban planner, her first book was a co-edited volume titled Participolis: Consent and Contention in Neoliberal Urban Governance Subsequent work has focused both on the violence and dispossession of property urbanism in the global south on racial, ethnic, class, and gender lines, but also the bottom-up agency of marginalised groups in unsettling dominant urbanisms. As part of this work, she is engaged in ethnographic study of two kinds of urban frontiers – peripheries and coasts – in Mumbai. Her recent research was on reclaiming fishing commons in Mumbai, slow violence and administration of urban injustice, a short film called “Sagarputra”, and changing concepts of habitation among the indigenous fishing community in Mumbai. Her publications have been featured in journals such as Area Development and Policy, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, International Journal of Housing Policy, Urbanisation, Economic & Political Weekly, and others.

Marie-Helene Zerah

Dr. Marie-Helene Zerah is a senior researcher at the Institute of Research for Development, Paris, currently deputed to the Centre for Policy Research as Senior Visiting Fellow, where she is focusing on the role of small towns in India in the urbanisation process and urban energy governance. Having published a book on the question of water access in Delhi and co-edited a book on the ‘Right to the City in India’, she has worked extensively in the area of urban infrastructure, urban governance and urban democracy in Indian cities. She is also part of the editorial board of the journal Geoforum, and the series editor of ‘Exploring Urban Change in South Asia’ with Springer. She was previously headed the urban dynamics research team at the Centre de Sciences Humaines of New Delhi between 2009 and 2013. She has also worked with the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank and the Suez Group in the past, and completed consultancies with various organisations, including the European Union. She received her PhD in Urban Studies from the Paris Institute of Urban Studies.

Mona Mehta

Dr. Mona Mehta is a political scientist by training and an Associate Professor of Social Sciences at the School of Arts and Sciences in Ahmedabad University. Her research focuses on Urban transformations and the remaking of city spaces, Youth aspirations and Skill development discourses, Democracy and its vulnerabilities and the political thought of M. K. Gandhi. She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines youth aspirations and urban transformations in post-liberalisation India. She is the co-editor of Gujarat Beyond Gandhi: Identity, Conflict and Society (Routledge 2010) and has authored scholarly articles and book chapters pertaining to her research interests. Her work has appeared in journals such as South Asian History & Culture, South Asia Journal of South Asian Studies, Contemporary South Asia, Contributions to Indian Sociology, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Contributions to Indian Sociology, etc. She is the coordinator of the new interdisciplinary PhD programme in Humanities and Social Sciences at Ahmedabad University.

Mukta Naik

Mukta Naik, a Fellow at CPR, is an architect and urban planner. Her research interests include housing and urban poverty, urban informality, and internal migration, as well as urban transformations in small cities. At CPR, she focuses on understanding the links between internal migration and urbanisation in the Indian context. Ms Naik has written widely in the print and digital media and has also run a market research and media services company. As trustee for a Gurugram-based NGO and a Board Member for a Netherlands-based Foundation, she is also deeply involved with community-based initiatives. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Development and Governance from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her journal articles have been published in Shelter, Routledge, Social Change, Urbanisation, Sage, Radical Housing Journal, Urban Studies, Economic & Political Weekly, Environment & Urbanisation Asia, Urban India, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Connected2Work, Money Control, The Print, The Indian Express, and others. She has authored / co-authored two book chapters in the JustJobs Network Annual Publication, and Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Neha Sami

Dr. Neha Sami is the Associate Dean, School of Environment and Sustainability and Senior Lead, Academics & Research at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements. She studies urban and regional development and governance in post-liberalisation India. Her research focuses on the governance arrangements of mega-projects, regional planning and on environmental governance questions in Indian cities, particularly around issues of climate change adaptation. She is currently studying industrial corridor development projects between Indian cities like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, focusing particularly on governance issues. She is also interested in regional approaches to land use planning. Neha is also a member of the Editorial Collective of Urbanisation (published by SAGE). Her publications have been featured in Environment and Urbanisation, Geoforum, Area Development & Policy, Economic & Political Weekly, International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, Land Use Policy, etc.

Partha Mukhopadhyay

Dr. Partha Mukhopadhyay is a Senior Fellow at CPR. has published extensively, writes frequently for the national media and has also been associated with a number of government committees. Most recently, he was chair of the Working Group on Migration, Government of India and member of the High-Level Railway Restructuring Committee, Ministry of Railways and of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. His research interests are in urbanisation, infrastructure, and the development paths of India and China. He has written journal articles in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, IIC Quarterly Journal, India Seminar, Economic & Political Weekly, Environment & Urbanisation ASIA, and opinion pieces for The Hindu, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, and the Indian Express.

Ratoola Kundu

Dr Ratoola Kundu is an Assistant Professor, Mumbai Campus, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She works on urban informality, urban theory, political economy of urban restructuring, urban contestations and politics over land, housing and participation in planning, sustainable and accessible urban transportation, informal urban livelihoods and claims to the city, new towns and the politics of planning and development of urban peripheries. She has published articles in the Review of Urban Affairs (EPW), the University of Minnesota Press, and has published a book chapter in the book “Mega Urbanisation in the Global South” (Routledge).

Rohit Negi

Dr. Rohit Negi is an Associate Professor, School of Global Affairs, and Director, Centre for Community Knowledge at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University. He mainly works on socio-ecological vulnerability, development and urbanisation (intersection with health, education, infrastructure), urban spaces, political ecology of air, and urban environment & ecology. He is a member of the International Advisory Board, Antipode, and a member, Steering Committee, Association of Asian Studies in Africa (A-Asia). He has written / co-authored several books, chapters in peer-reviewed books, and articles in peer-reviewed journals including: Routledge, Springer, Science, Scientists, and Society, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Urbanisation, Journal of South African Studies, Geoforum, African Studies Quarterly, Review of African Political Economy, African Geographical Review, Oxford University Press, Palgrave-Macmillan, Economic & Political Weekly, The Scroll, & others.

Susmitha Pati

Dr. Sushmitha Pati is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the National Law School of India University. She teaches course on politics and society in India, political science, and politics & the global world order. She is a political scientist who has taught previously at Delhi University and Azim Premji University, Bangalore. Her research interests include Urban politics, Political Economy, State and Democracy, and Gender. Her upcoming book is titled “Properties of Rent: The Political Economy of Urban Villages in Delhi”, which is to be published by the Cambridge University Press, New Delhi. Her articles and working papers have been published in Contributions to Indian Sociology, Sage, Springer, Economic & Political Weekly, Journal of Indian Law & Society, SOAS South Asia Institute Working Papers, Policies & Practices, Contemporary South Asia, Café Dissensus, Syntalk, The Wire, and others.

Venugopal Maddipati

Dr. Venugopal Maddipati is the Dean In-Charge, School of Design, at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University. He specialises in art history and architectural design. He is a referee for the Art Journal and the Open Library for the Humanities. He works on community art projects and architectural projects: in 2004, he directed a short film called “Wounded City: A Global New Zealand” with the contemporary artist Alfredo Jaar, 2004. He has written books, newspaper articles, and journal articles in Routledge, The Tribune, Ecologies, Aesthetics and Histories of Art, Marg, Liquescent Materiality: Water Histories in South Asia 1500 to the Present, Journal of South Asian Studies, Journal of Landscape Architecture, Blog for Transregional Research, Nehru Memorial Library Occasional Paper Series, and Ashgate Press. He has taught a variety of courses including Technology and Society, History of Indian Art & Architecture, Gender, Sexuality, & Design, Theory of Design, World Architectural History, and others.

Writing Urban India Fellowship Mentees

The following candidates were selected as mentees for Writing Urban India Fellowship anchored and funded by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Urban Studies Foundation (USF) respectively:

1. Shweta Rani

Shweta Rani is currently a faculty at the Centre for Writing and Pedagogy (CWP), Krea University. She is an anthropologist whose research lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, science and technology studies, urban studies, and ecological anthropology.
She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics. Her thesis is titled ‘The Urban and the Pathological: Delhi through Epidemics’. She is dedicated to exploring and expanding the possibilities of academic writing in Hindi. Her popular writing has appeared in Hindi dailies such as Jansatta. Her recent academic writings in English have appeared in journals like EPW and Contributions to Indian Sociology.

2. Suruchi Kumari
Suruchi Kumari is a PhD candidate at Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is working on the exceptions and continuity in Industrial Model Townships in India (for her Ph.D. thesis). Her work is principally focussed on the relationship between the state, society, and market in the contemporary urbanisation processes using urban politics and governance as analytical points. She has also received the ICSSR Doctoral fellowship 2019-2021 for her Ph.D. Program.

3. Dhiren Swain
Dhiren is a Ph.D. candidate at IIT Madras. His interest lies in Land tenure, Bureaucracy, Technology led governance, party politics, and local-level governance. He has done his Master’s in Political Science from the University of Hyderabad. His research concerns the JAGA Mission in Odisha. Through his work, he seeks to understand the transformation of land tenures, and the creation of new knowledge through drone-based land titling.

4. Raina Ghosh
Raina is currently a PhD Research Scholar and ICSSR Doctoral Fellow (2021-’22) at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She works on the themes of urban political ecology, spatial politics, and water-society relations. Her thesis studies the everyday city-making processes around ‘Ghats’ of River Hooghly in Kolkata. She has worked extensively in the field of urban (on the CACIM-Nagar-Nadi Fellowship 2021, with Azim Premji University, ESRC-University of Bristol, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-CES Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, etc.). She has contributed to Op-Ed pieces in LiveWire and Beejpatra (People’s Resources Centre).

5. Archana Singh
Archana Singh is an MPhil research scholar at the Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. Her current research focuses on mapping the spatialities of young women’s leisure experiences in Lucknow city. She also works on the political ecology of large infrastructure projects, particularly the riverfront development projects which have witnessed a renewed push as a part of Urban river management in India. She has produced numerous reports and articles analysing issues with infrastructure projects on floodplains, with a special focus on river Ganga in Patna and Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.

6. Balbir Singh Aulakh
Balbir Singh Aulakh is a PhD Scholar at the School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. He has completed his M.Phil. in Social Sciences from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and graduated in public policy from the University of Mumbai. His broad research interests include sports development, land transformations, aesthetic politics and community development.

7. Shruthi Ramesh
Shruthi Ramesh is an architect, urban designer and researcher from Kerala. She holds a Masters in Architecture with a major in Urban Design from CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Her research, vested in critical explorations of urban studies in intersectional feminist and subaltern geographies, has been showcased in various international conferences and publications. She was one of the top finalists of the CEPT Essay Prize 2021-22 for her essay “Colour as Embellishment: The Transforming Culture of Aesthetics in the Realms of the Urban Poor”. Her latest co-authored article, “Geographies of Incineration: The (In)visible Aides of the Tenebrous Urban Networks” was published in the Harvard Urban Review 2022.

8. Shreyasi Pal
Shreyasi is a faculty at BMS School of Architecture, Bangalore, teaching B.Arch and M.Arch (Urban Design) courses. She is also a Research Scholar at School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, with her thesis tentatively titled “Spatial History of East-Bengali Refugees in Post-Partition Kolkata: Mapping Spatial Relationships in a Jabar-Dakhal Refugee Colony”.

9. Siddardha Darla

Siddardha Darla holds a PhD in Sociology from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). His research interests include understanding resistance and persuasion to neoliberal regime of land dispossession in India and the development agenda that encapsulates it. His PhD thesis investigated the instrumental role played by Land Pooling Scheme in framing politics to land procurement for locating Amaravati city in Andhra Pradesh state of India. He has published in Economic and Political Weekly and presented at national and international conferences.

10. Sila Mishra

Sila Mishra is a research scholar in the Department of Economic Sciences at IIT Kanpur. Her area of interest primarily lies in applied microeconomics and the economics of family and gender. As part of her research work, she has explored the efficiency of the Indian banking sector, network readiness of countries, and technical efficiency of the Indian judiciary. She is currently exploring India’s Time Use Survey.

11. Ankur Jaiswal

Ankur is currently working with India Labourline as a state coordinator in Delhi-NCR. During the course of his current and earlier work and research experiences, he has travelled across India, interacted with migrant workers across states and documented their life histories. These interactions shaped crucial questions of space and belongingness of migrant workers and their significance in contributing to a life of love and dignity for them. He has co-authored an ethnographic account of the same (Currently in Press), emerging from an ethnographic project. He has also contributed to a photo essay and a documentary based on these narratives.

12. EP Sarfas

Sarfras is a final year Post Graduate student pursuing MA in Society and culture from IIT Gandhinagar. He is working1 on the everyday lives and practices of young Muslims of Jamia Nagar (a marginalized neighborhood in New Delhi) for his thesis. He has done an ethnographic observation along with some semi-structured interviews with the young people of Jamia Nagar to know about their perspectives and experiences, based on which he seeks to build a writing output.

13. Ritika Rajput

Ritika is an independent researcher. Her research interests are small towns, rural-urban entanglements, urban water and climate change. She has three years of research experience. She is academically trained in Environment Studies. She holds a Master’s in Ecology and Environment Studies from Nalanda University, Rajgir. She was an Urban Fellow at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (2020-2021) and an Indian Smart Cities Fellow at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (2021-2022). She seeks to write on how ‘urban’ as a category operates in India.

14. Urmila Sahoo

Urmila Sahoo is a PhD scholar from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. She is currently working on the topic of the Elderly in Urban Setups. Her interest lies in studying elderly people and conducting research to inform policies and programmes that concern their welfare. She seeks to publish her work in reputed journals in order to promote more discussion & debating around this topic.

15. Vidya Mary George

Vidya Mary George is a UGC Senior Research Fellow at the School of Sanskrit, Philosophy and Indic Studies (SSPIS), Goa University, India. Her area of research is 20th Century Continental Philosophy. In her research work, she tries to understand the relation between selfhood and space, specifically the constitution of selfhood, its identity, and sense of belonging in space, as theorised by the thinkers Michel Foucault, Paul Ricoeur, and Jürgen Habermas. She has worked as a teacher, dialogue facilitator, counsellor, copyeditor, editorial assistant, and science communicator. She volunteers for Wisdom’s Edge Inc., an outreach organisation that brings philosophy to the edges of society.

16. Shahana Purveen

Shahana Purveen is a doctoral researcher at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her Ph.D thesis focuses on internal migration in Mumbai, specifically concerning the livelihood and identity issues of migrant taxi drivers in Mumbai. She has qualified for the UGC-NET exam conducted by the University Grants Commission. She has been awarded the Erasmus Mundus PhD Exchange Scholarship to visit the University of Oxford. She has presented her research at various national and international conferences. She has also published her work in edited books and journals. Her area of interest is ethnicity, integration, migration, and labour.

17. Meenakshi Dubey

Meenakshi Dubey is an architect and urban historian engaged in exploring what architectural and urban history can contribute to shaping our contemporary building cultures. She is currently an Independent Researcher based in Delhi, with teaching and working experience of more than a decade across Delhi, Bhopal & Kerala . She teaches graduate courses on History Theory Criticism and Urban Conservation along with architectural design studios associated with historical and sociological inquiry of urban settlements.
Meenakshi is pursuing her interests that currently orbits around critical cultural geographies, transnational building cultures, gender and identity in historic neighborhoods, Future of Urban Heritage, Politics and Jurisprudence.

Meenakshi works with a holistic vision to explore history , memory & past narratives of the cultural sites and adheres to responsive praxis whilst engaging with ‘architecture’ in an expanded condition.

18. Manjula Bahuguna

Manjula Bahuguna is an independent consultant with expertise in conducting research studies. She is currently working with Mumbai-based non-governmental organization SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action) on a study about non-communicable diseases and related healthcare services in informal settlements of Mumbai. She is deeply passionate about health systems strengthening and would like to continue participating in research studies that can inform health policies and improve evidence-based decision-making. She seeks to use the health system and policy research (HPSR) lens for future work in the field of public health.

19. Chandanapriya Dhanraj

Chandanapriya is an early-stage Urban Researcher and Practitioner. She is working as Research Associate in collaboration with Dr Devanshi Chanchani from Brunel University, London, and Hasiru Dala on a research project to understand the dynamics of Informal Waste Management in Bangalore City. Stemming from her understanding of Symbolic Anthropology and Grounded theory she has developed an interest in understanding urban cultures and their meanings, symbolisms, and politics through extensive fieldwork, with a focus on – social identity, urban planning, governance, and social practice. Her academic aspirations are driven by grassroots community-based work and social change.

20. Vikas Sehra

Vikas recently completed his Ph.D. titled “Political Ecology of Urban Flooding: Mapping Psycho-social Vulnerabilities”, at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His Master’s thesis was titled “Kaleidoscopic Cities: An Exploration of Mental Health And Quality of Life In Slums”, and his M.Phil. thesis focused on “A Comparative Study of Hyderabad and Jaipur: Contextualizing Quality of Life in Changing Perspective of Governance.” His research interest is in Urban Studies, Disaster Studies, and Social Psychology.

Towards Swacchta Role Of Gram Panchayats in Enabling Faecal Sludge Management

This Flipbook is designed as part of the Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) project implemented in two districts of Odisha – Angul and Dhenkanal. The SLWM Project was implemented by the Centre for Policy Research in partnership with UNICEF, Housing and Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, and Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department, Government of Odisha, with support from the District Governments, Urban Local Bodies, and Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The flipbook is designed in English and Odiya to capacitate Gram Panchayat (GP) functionaries, Swacchagrahis, community leaders and mobilisers regarding Faecal Sludge Management (FSM), including urban-rural convergence and greenfield solutions for FSM, by illumining the role of GPs in enabling the uptake and implementation of FSM.

You can read the flipbook here.

Achieving Safe On-Site Sanitation in Rural Areas

The Discussion Cards on “Achieving Safe On-Site Sanitation in Rural Areas” is designed as part of the Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) project implemented in two districts of Odisha – Angul and Dhenkanal. The SLWM Project was implemented by the Centre for Policy Research in partnership with UNICEF, Housing and Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, and Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department, Government of Odisha, with support from the District Governments, Urban Local Bodies, and Panchayati Raj Institutions.

The rural population in the pilot districts relies primarily on on-site sanitation systems like septic tanks and leaching pits for managing wastewater at the household level. The discussion cards are designed in English and Odiya to aid Swacchagrahis, community leaders and mobilisers, and Gram Panchayat (GP) representatives for educating rural households in the districts regarding proper design and maintenance of on-site sanitation systems to ensure safely managed sanitation for all.

The discussion cards can be accessed here.

Comments by CPR-ICEE on the Union Budget 2023-24


“This is a ‘stay-the-course’ budget on green growth, with the possible exception of support for hydrogen, but not, as yet, a green transformation inducing budget,” said Navroz K. Dubash, Professor at CPR.

“In several areas, such as hydrogen, battery storage, gas, transmission, it seeks to stimulate green production. But it focuses less on green development – using renewable energy for an inclusive transition and promoting rural productivity,” he added.

On greening the electricity sector:

“Budget allocations for renewable energy evacuation and energy storage are useful to enable India’s renewable energy transition, but enhanced support for distributed energy resources will be critical to inclusive transition, promoting rural productivity, and thus, achieving the vision for Amrit Kaal – an empowered and inclusive economy,” said Dr. Ashwini Swain, Fellow at CPR.

Central allocations to build transmission systems for evacuation of 13 GW RE from Ladakh and provide viability gap funding for 4 GWh (or 1 GW capacity) battery storage will give an impetus to stagnated RE deployment pace in India. Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) was envisioned as a significant component in India’s 2022 targets and will remain critical to India’s energy transition. Enhanced support for off-grid solar and PM-KUSUM schemes, though from a low baseline, is a good step. DRE based reliable power supply could be a useful complement to the various supports outlined in the budget for economic empowerment of women through self-help groups, PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS), agricultural productivity, and thus, to unleash the potential of rural economy.

On air pollution and transport – progress in some areas, regress in others

“The budget presents mixed messages on air pollution with substantial progress on adjacent areas such as transport, and an almost total regress in abating household air pollution and mitigating crop residue burning,” said Dr. Bhargav Krishna, Fellow at CPR

In the Finance Minister’s first budget speech of Amrit Kaal that featured green growth as one of its seven key pillars, there are mixed messages on air pollution. While there have been substantial increases in commitment to adjacent sectors such as transport, the almost total phase out of subsidies for LPG signal an end to the initially ground-breaking Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The lack of subsidies, coupled with the substantial increase in prices of LPG over the last year will almost certainly mean more households will revert to using polluting cooking fuels in their homes, harming the health especially of women and children.

On increased funding for NCAP and no allocation to crop residue burning:

“The increased funding for NCAP is welcome, but the lack of attention to crop residue management or crop diversification mean there is unlikely to be any substantial improvement in crop residue burning this winter,” said Dr. Bhargav Krishna, Fellow at CPR

The increase in allocation for the National Clean Air Programme from INR 600 Cr (RE) to IN 756 Cr is a positive step. Coupled with the ongoing 15th Finance Commission grants to urban local bodies for air quality, there is greater momentum on addressing this issue at the city level. Greater scrutiny is needed, however, on how these monies are spent and how the incentive structures of the NCAP align with prioritizing investment in untested techno-fixes such as smog towers and anti-smog guns.

Simultaneously, however, the lack of investment in both crop residue management mechanisms or in crop diversification programmes indicate a shift of responsibility for management of stubble burning from the Union to States. In the absence of a Union governmentled mechanism to facilitate this transition, there is unlikely to be any substantial reduction in crop residue burning this winter.

On battery storage:

“While the viability gap funding for battery storage is intended to cover about 4% of the 2030 CEA storage capacity projections, it is an important step for generating interest and gauging further support needed,” said Dr. Easwaran Narassimhan, Associate Professor at CPR

The budget proposes supporting battery storage systems with a capacity of 4,000 MWH with a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) policy. A 4-hour battery storage utilization translates to 1GW of storage capacity. While this is a small share of the 27GW projected for 2030 by the Central Electricity Authority, this VGF supported tender is likely to generate interest amongst project developers and help gauge the level of policy support needed to meet the 2030 projections.

On capital investments for energy:

“The capital investments towards energy transition, net-zero objective, and energy security appears to be directed towards the MoPNG. This may help with energy security, but it is unclear what the allocation for oil marketing companies means and whether it represents a bet on natural gas as a bridge fuel,” – Dr. Aman Srivastava, Fellow at CPR.

The budget provides 35,000 cr for priority capital investments towards energy transition, net-zero objective, and energy security. While this appears to be a significant allocation, almost all of it seems to go to MoPNG to meet India’s energy security objectives through 5000 cr. of new allocation towards strategic petroleum reserves and 30,000 cr. of capital support for oil marketing companies. Although investment in a strategic petroleum reserve enhances energy security, it is unclear what the huge allocation for oil marketing companies means. For example, if a majority of this allocation would go towards gas exploration, then it signals a bet on ‘gas’ as the bridge fuel to India’s energy transition.

On green hydrogen:

“The outlay for the Green Hydrogen Mission is important to support the feasibility of green hydrogen, but it is not yet clear how this compares against support being provided by other countries to make hydrogen exports competitive,” said Dr. Aman Srivastava, Fellow at CPR.

The outlay of INR 19700 crore for the Green Hydrogen Mission (with an initial allocation of INR 297 Cr) aims to support annual production of 5 MMT by 2030. This public expenditure – which could cover investments, subsidies, and other avenues – is equivalent to about INR 40/kg. In contrast, the US Inflation Reduction Act provides subsidies of up to INR 250/kg to produce green hydrogen. Although the two are not strictly comparable because one is for multiple purposes and the other just for subsidies, it is important to clarify how these outlays will be used to improve the competitiveness of domestic hydrogen.

On electric vehicles and transport:

“While the focus on EV manufacturing and adoption is commendable, a larger green industrial policy strategy is missing as R&D investments to develop indigenous capabilities to climb the EV value chain are non-existent. On transport sector decarbonization, EV deployment and ethanol blending incentives are a plus but support for public transportation is missing,” – Dr. Easwaran Narassimhan, Associate Professor at CPR.

The budget announced a greater outlay for the FAME-II subsidy scheme (up from 2898 Cr to 5172 Cr) and customs duty exemption on capital goods and machinery required to manufacture lithiumion battery cells locally for electric vehicles. Coupled with the vehicle scrappage policy, this would significantly boost domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies. However, the lack of investments in R&D is a clear miss.

While it is unclear what the INR 30,000 Cr capital infusion to oil marketing companies will be allocated towards, some emphasis on enhancing charging infrastructure through these funds will aid the EV transition. Additionally, while targets on ethanol blending for the transport sector are welcome from an energy security perspective, questions remain on whether these targets will align with our broader goals around air quality, and how quickly a transition to wide use of E20 fuels can be effected.

On the need greater focus on LiFE-consonant urbanization:

“With LiFE a substantial policy focus both internally and externally, there must be greater focus on urban infrastructure development that is consonant with these goals. This means investing in greater adoption of public and non-motorized transport, and building infrastructure that facilitates sustainable urban living,” said Dr. Bhargav Krishna, Fellow at CPR

While the INR 23,175 Cr allocated to building metro systems is laudable, focus on supporting and building last mile connectivity will enhance the adoption of public transportation thereby reducing the contribution of vehicular emissions. Additionally, utilizing funds allocated to AMRUT and urban infrastructure to facilitate the development of non-motorized transport infrastructure and sustainable urban spaces consonant with the Prime Minister’s call for LiFE is the need of the hour.

Missed opportunity on skilling:

“Several reports have highlighted the requirements from a manpower perspective to facilitate improvements in air quality and to meet India’s targets for installed RE capacity. There was a missed opportunity here in dovetailing the story on green growth with that of skill development and employment by mainstreaming training for these roles through the Skill India Mission. This is perhaps an area that could see significant employment potential coupled with environmental co-benefits if the policies across these sectors are joined up” said Dr. Bhargav Krishna, Fellow at CPR.

This article was first published by Environmentality.

Highlights of 2022 from CPR

2022 saw significant challenges and disruptions across the globe. From the Russia-Ukraine war to the deepening climate crisis, from the continued socio-economic aftershocks of the pandemic to debates on India’s polity and federal dynamics, scholars at CPR remained at the forefront, enriching the public discourse and interpreting the impact of these developments.

Through the year, CPR scholars published more than 800 commentaries in the mainstream media, 75 policy briefs and reports, 19 working papers, 15 book chapters and 31 journal articles.

Here are some key highlights of CPR’s research, discussions and other engagements.

Select Research Outputs

Accountability, State Capacity and Governance

The 14th volume of Accountability Initiative’s annual Budget Brief series was released. Using government reported data, these briefs analysed the trends in allocations, release, expenditure and implementation of nine flagship social sector programmes of the Government of India.

CPR’s State Capacity Initiative released a series of working papers that analyses the principles and debates of the rich discourse on administrative reform in civil services. The working papers draw largely on the reports of committees constituted by the Union government at various points of time and are therefore more focused on reform conversations about the higher civil services, and particularly the IAS.

Climate, Energy and the Environment

In a series of working papers, scholars of CPR’s Initiative on Climate, Energy and Environment (ICEE) explored some of the key institutional issues faced by State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and their counterparts in union territories, the Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

In another report, Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli highlighted the scope and functions of a dozen tree laws implemented in different states in India.


Partha Mukhopadhyay authored a policy brief to explore asset monetization. The brief highlighted how India can unlock the value of investments in public sector assets by tapping into private sector capital and efficiencies.

Foreign Policy and Strategic Affairs

Shyam Saran authored a path-breaking new book titled, How China Sees India and the World. Published by Juggernaut, the book is the most authoritative account of the India–China relationship and how China perceives our country.

The Russia-Ukraine war resulted in an unprecedented refugee crisis. A brief by Nimmi Kurian looked at how institutionalised biases within EU’s decisionmaking process are changing the notion of the border in fundamental ways with enormous consequences for the rights of the vulnerable.


CPR’s Politics Initiative devised a study protocol that maps out the Lok Sabha election manifestos of the Congress, the BJP and the CPI(M) since 1952. These three parties represent the ideological spectrum of Indian politics, and the study maps the evolution of issues that matter to Indian democracy.

Natural Resources

In a working paper, Namita Wahi of CPR’s Land Rights Initiative reviewed the constitutional and legal framework underlying the right to water in India, and presented a comprehensive analysis of judicial decisions that have enforced this right, based on insights from two original datasets.

Social Policy

A series of reports by CPR’s Initiative on Cities, Economy and Society focused on initiatives and measures to improve portability and access to social protection and welfare for women and children affected by migration. The reports covered the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.


CPR’s Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) Initiative released a report that discusses a framework to conceptualize and measure urban distress in the Indian context. This framework can help the cities to ‘build back better’ as we recover from the ongoing pandemic and steer inclusive development in the face of emerging challenges including climate change.

Select Public Engagements

In 2022, CPR organised over 60 events, workshops and discussions on a range of issues.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

CPR celebrated Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav by launching a special lecture series, ‘India and the World’, bringing together distinguished speakers who have a long and deep engagement with India. In this series, we were delighted to host, Peter Varghese (Vice Chancellor, University of Queensland, Former Australian High Commissioner to India), Nabil Fahmy (Founding Dean, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy & Distinguished University Professor of Practice in International Diplomacy, The American University in Cairo and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt), Ibrahim Gambari (Chief of Staff to the President, Nigeria), Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei (Egyptian law scholar and diplomat), Tshering Tobgay (Former Prime Minister, Bhutan) and Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan (Minister of Public Enterprises, Republic of South Africa).

CPR also launched a podcast series on the Indian Civil Services (ICS) as part of India Speak: The CPR Podcast. Hosted by Yamini Aiyar, the series featured Dr KP Krishnan. In the first episode, they discussed the structure of ICS and its evolution since its inception. In the second episode, they highlighted the shifts in the design of the ICS, whether explicitly through policy changes or implicitly, in adapting to the complex social and political challenges of the country. The third episode focussed on the ailing framework of India’s steel frame and the implications of economic transitions on the direction of ICS reforms. In the final episode, they talked about the relationship between India’s democracy and the civil services.

CPR Dialogues 2022

After a two year pandemic induced hiatus, we returned with our flagship conference, CPR Dialogues. Addressing the theme of ‘New Perspectives for a Changing World’, the speakers for this year included leading names like Adam Tooze (Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History and Director, European Institute, Columbia University), Parameswaran Iyer (Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, Government of India), Suman Bery (Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Government of India), Saurabh Garg (Chief Executive Officer, Unique Identification Authority of India, Government of India), Buggana Rajendranath Reddy (Minister of Finance & Planning, Commercial Taxes, Legislative Affairs, Skill Development & Training, Andhra Pradesh), Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (Minister for Finance and Human Resources Management, Government of Tamil Nadu), Shrayana Bhattacharya (Senior Social Protection Economist, World Bank in India), Amitabh Kant (India’s G-20 Sherpa and Former Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, Government of India), Kelly Sims Gallagher (Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy, Fletcher School, Tufts University), and Gerry Shih (India Bureau Chief, Washington Post). Watch all videos from CPR Dialogues here.

Other events

CPR launched a new series titled, Know Your Regulator in partnership with the Forum of Indian Regulators (FOIR) and the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA). The series brought together people entrusted with the task of regulating Indian markets and various parts and aspects of the economy- the chairpersons and members of India’s regulatory agencies.
CPR also held discussions on books by leading policy researchers and practitioners. These included Pranab Bardhan’s A World of Insecurity: Democratic Disenchantment in Rich and Poor Countries, Vijay Gokhale’s After Tiananmen: The Rise of China, Sharat Sabharwal’s India’s Pakistan Conundrum: Managing a Complex Relationship, Mukulika Banerjee’s Cultivating Democracy: Politics & Citizenship in Agrarian India and MR Sharan’s Last Among Equals: Power, Caste & Politics in Bihar’s Villages.

Select Policy Engagements

In September 2022, a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between CPR’s Accountability Initiative and the Government of Meghalaya to understand the on-ground status of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state. The project involves interviews with key stakeholders across various indicators, discussions with government departments, and household-level field surveys across the 11 districts of Meghalaya.

The Accountability Initiative partnered with the Chief Minister of Rajasthan’s Economic Transformation Advisory Council (CMRETAC) to understand data use for better policy formulation. This project includes mapping data generation, use, and processes across education, health and family welfare, and rural development departments. The study will focus on identifying limitations, duplication, and redundancies. It will recommend methods to manage data flows and use it for effective decision-making, while considering global and domestic best practices.

Awards and Recognition

The Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) Initiative at CPR won the award for the ‘best non-profit engagement model in sanitation: rural and urban’ at the 6th edition of the ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards Ceremony and India Sanitation Conclave. CPR’s SCI-FI Initiative was presented the award in recognition and appreciation for the unique urban-rural convergence model for faecal sludge management in Dhenkanal in Odisha. The initiative has been working in the state since 2014, offering technical expertise to the state and local-level administration to achieve safely-managed sanitation for all.

Urban Rural Convergence for Faecal Sludge Management in Odisha

The launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in 2014 brought in significant policy attention on universalising basic sanitation in India. The programme set out to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status by October 2019, however also helped make all tiers and agencies of the state focus on all aspects of sanitation. Around the same time, Odisha which had been lagging on sanitation services also witnessed an increase in policy attention towards achieving safely managed sanitation for all driven from a number of internal factors. Based on early research on alternative sanitation service delivery models since 2013, in 2015, Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Practical Action with the support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Arghyam initiated Project Nirmal in partnership with Odisha’s Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD), District Administration, and Municipal governments initiated a pilot demonstration for instituting Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) systems and strengthening decentralised sanitation service delivery in two medium towns of Odisha – Dhenkanal and Angul. Project Nirmal was conceptualised in response to an increased thrust towards, and need for, FSM in the state. It was envisaged that the learnings from Project Nirmal’s implementation would inform state- and national-level legal, financial, institutional, and community participation frameworks for scaling up the project approach. In 2018, under Project Nirmal, Dhenkanal emerged as one of the first municipalities in Odisha to construct a Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) with support from AMRUT. Consequently, Odisha rapidly embarked on a journey to achieve SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation for all) in its urban areas by covering all urban local bodies under FSM. By 2022, all but two of the 115 cities and towns in the state had already built and started operating safe citywide FSM systems.

As rural India also embarked on a journey towards eliminating Open Defecation under SBM-G, rural areas in Odisha witnessed rapid construction of toilet facilities marked by a predominance of on-site sanitation systems. Our research and surveys showed that a bulk of these toilets had been constructed with single pits or septic tanks and not twin pits as recommended by the programme. Consequently, the emerging need for FSM in rural areas was identified. To address this issue and building on Odisha’s success with instituting FSM systems in its urban areas, CPR and UNICEF with support from the District Government of Dhenkanal, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) piloted a novel “urban-rural convergence” in Dhenkanal district by taking a district-wide planning approach. This novel “urban-rural convergence” approach aims to leverage the existing FSM treatment infrastructure and desludging services in urban areas to provide FSM service in neighbouring rural areas. The urban-rural convergence approach, therefore, bridges the urban-rural divide, bypasses the need for creating additional infrastructure, and provides opportunities for institutional convergence. Moreover, by virtue of providing FSM services in rural areas, this approach has consequential positive impact on local environmental pollution abatement and minimising health risks associated with unsafe management of faecal waste. Therefore, to apply theory to practice, the Dhenkanal pilot demonstration was conceptualised and executed to demonstrate the workings of this approach by extending existing FSM services in Dhenkanal Municipality to neighbouring Gram Panchayats (GPs).
Under the Dhenkanal urban-rural convergence pilot demonstration, a “Plug-in Model” for tagging rural GPs with Dhenkanal Municipality was built by using a step-by-step planning approach wherein:

  1. spatial analysis was conducted to identify ‘plug-in zones’ (within a 10-20 km radius from urban areas);
  2. sample survey was conducted to estimate the rural faecal sludge loading;
  3. capacity utilization trend for Dhenkanal FSTP was analysed to estimate spare capacity; and
  4. stakeholder consultations were organised to build consensus amongst and urban and rural local bodies.

Afterwards, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Dhenkanal Municipality and tagged rural GPs to codify the terms of agreements such as tariff structure for desludging services, mechanisms for payment, and financing and monitoring. Additionally, Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns were launched in the tagged rural GPs to spread awareness and generate demand for FSM services.

Figure 1: Memorandum of Agreement signing between urban and rural functionaries

The urban-rural convergence pilot in Dhenkanal successfully extended FSM services to 110 plugged-in rural GPs, benefitting over 2 lakh rural households. As of October 2022, Dhenkanal Municipality’s FSTP has received and treated over 1000 KL of rural sludge received from the plugged-in rural GPs.

 Figure 2: Desludging vehicles emptying faecal sludge and septage at treatment plant

 Figure 3: Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant in Dhenkanal Municipality

After the successful pilot demonstration in Dhenkanal, a similar pilot was also implemented in the Angul district of Odisha where 77 rural GPs were tagged to Angul Municipality, benefitting over 90,000 rural households. Moreover, based on the learnings from the pilot demonstration for urban-rural convergence using the district-wide planning approach, we have developed a “Template for District-level Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Planning” that aims to aid state and district governments, practitioners, and developmental partners in creating a District-level FSM Plan for any district in the country. The Template is founded on two approaches to enabling FSM services for rural households, viz. plug-in and greenfield (stand-alone FSM infrastructure and services in rural GPs), aligned with the guidance from the SBM-G Phase II.
The urban-rural convergence model has received significant traction in the state and national policy circles owing to the uniqueness and replicability of this approach. The Government of India releasing a notification on 14th September, 2021 urging the state governments across India to facilitate the adoption of an integrated approach by urban and rural authorities for convergent action on FSM and Plastic Waste Management (PWM). Moreover, due to the success of the pilot demonstrations in Dhenkanal and Angul districts and recognition by the State and National Ministries, the Government of Odisha decided to scale up the urban-rural convergence model for FSM and PWM to all the districts in the state, supported by Centre for Policy Research. Consequently, a Letter of Understanding (LoU) was signed on 21 September 2021 between the Housing and Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department, Government of Odisha, and CPR and UNICEF for scaling up the model in a phase-wise manner.

 Figure 4: Signing of Letter of Understanding Event

Recognising the uniqueness and potential for replication of the urban-rural convergence model, Dhenkanal Municipality was felicitated with the ISC-FICCI Sanitation Award for the “Best Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Model” in 2021. In 2022, Centre for Policy Research won the ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards 2022 for Best Non-Profit Engagement Model in Sanitation: Urban for spearheading the pilot implementation of the urban-rural convergence model in Dhenkanal.


 Figure 5: ISC-FICCI Sanitation Award 2022 ceremony

CPR Faculty Speak: Sabina Dewan

Sabina Dewan is a Senior Visiting Fellow at CPR and Founder and Executive Director of the JustJobs Network. Her research focusses on delineating strategies for job creation and workforce development. She works closely with governments, businesses, multilateral and grassroots organisations providing critical labour market information to improve interventions aimed at generating more and better employment, and cultivating employability, especially for women, youth and marginalised groups. In this edition of CPR Faculty Speak, she talks about her work and interests at CPR, why they matter, what impact she hopes to achieve and more.

Tell us about your research work and interests at CPR.

“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” With this quote, American philosopher and educational reformer, John Dewey captures the centrality of purposeful work to our lives. My life’s work is understanding labour markets. This includes examining the impact of major forces like technology, climate change, and the pandemic, on employment in India. At CPR, I focus on unfolding trends; for instance, how the proliferation of digital labour platforms affects women’s work; or how the pandemic affected small businesses and their workers. The goal is to ultimately suggest ways to manage the impact of these forces and to create better work, more resilient workforces, and an inclusive labour market.

Why do these issues interest you?

I believe that a healthy labour market is the foundation for everything from the well-being and development of society, to political and economic performance. Given the scale and heterogeneity of India’s labour market, the challenges we face are enormous. India has the largest youth population in the world. Over 90 percent of our employment is informal; and close to 70 percent of our businesses are unregistered. Our female labour force participation is among the bottom third relative to other countries. We must prioritize the provision of enough good quality employment for our large and growing youth population; improve women’s economic participation; and enable wider access to entitlements. My work is focussed on cultivating a deep understanding of these issues from the ground up, and to help find solutions to a range of employment challenges. We must lift these issues up as priorities in public discourse and policymaking.

How has this issue evolved in the country and globally over the years?

Over the last decade, the world has moved from a discourse centred on the impact of economic integration and globalization on labour, to a focus on how major forces such as climate change, technological acceleration, demographic transitions, and more recently the pandemic, are restructuring labour markets and upending traditional employment models. These changes are happening at a pace and scale that is faster than the ability of governance institutions — labour regulation, social protection, education and skills training systems, to keep up. India is also grappling with these challenges.

What impact do you aim to achieve through your research?

My work tries to understand the impact of these forces on the world of work and suggest ways to (re)design relevant governance architecture such as the labour codes and associated rules; social security provision; education and skills training systems; incentive and support for small businesses, to help build more resilient labour markets. My goal is to help move beyond reactionary policy and action to prompt a more strategic approaches to good job creation and workforce development.

What are you currently working on and why is it important?

The last two decades have seen a proliferation of digital platforms and the emergence of an ecosystem of digital work. One of my current projects looks at how work mediated through digital platforms is gendered; how it affects outcomes for women; and how it does, or does not, shift power relations for women in the economy, society, and in their own households. The many benefits of women’s economic participation are well known, and yet their participation rate in India remains low relative to other countries and relative to Indian men. We need to understand why this continues to be the case, and the opportunities and challenges emerging trends in the labour market pose for women’s work.

I am simultaneously working on a study that assesses the impact of COVID-19 on Indian small businesses and their workers. 63.4 million non-agricultural micro, small and medium enterprises employ just under 111 million workers and contribute to approximately 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Given these facts, understanding what factors helped some businesses survive the crisis while others failed, and the experiences of the workers in these businesses, is critical to securing businesses and workers against future shocks.

To know more about Sabina Dewan’s work, click here.

Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) Initiative at Centre for Policy Research (CPR) awarded Best Non-Profit Engagement Model in Sanitation: Rural and Urban by India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) and FICCI

New Delhi 7 December: The Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) won the award for the ‘best non-profit engagement model in sanitation: rural and urban’ at the 6th edition of the ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards Ceremony and India Sanitation Conclave. CPR’s SCI-FI Initiative was presented the award in recognition and appreciation for the unique urban-rural convergence model for faecal sludge management in Dhenkanal in Odisha. The initiative has been working in the state since 2014, offering technical expertise to the state and local-level administration to achieve safely-managed sanitation for all.

The urban-rural convergence project was conceptualised by CPR’s SCI-FI Initiative in response to the emerging need for faecal sludge management in Odisha’s rural areas as the state witnessed rapid construction of toilet facilities under Swachh Bharat. The model is based on taking a district-wide planning approach to sanitation. It involves leveraging existing urban sanitation infrastructure and services for rural areas, in neighboring gram panchayats. The successful implementation of the model has led to a scale-up across Odisha. It has also received traction at the national level.

Speaking on the occasion, Shubhagato Dasgupta, Senior Fellow and Director of CPR’s SCI-FI Initiative said, “We are delighted to receive this award and would like to thank our many partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, Arghyam, Practical Action, the Municipality and District government of Dhenkanal and finally and foremost the Housing and Urban Development Department of the Government of Odisha without whom this would not have been possible.”

President and Chief Executive of CPR, Yamini Aiyar said, “In the past few years, CPR has broadened its engagements and deepened work at the subnational level, offering technical expertise to solve difficult and complex policy problems. Our longstanding work in Odisha aimed to provide safely managed sanitation for all is one such example. This award is a recognition of that effort.”

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