The Centre for Financial Accountability, a New-Delhi based organisation working to strengthen and improve financial accountability within India, invites applications for the Smitu Kothari Fellowship 2021.

Started in 2018, the Fellowship is aimed towards encouraging young writers to critically look at the world of development finance beyond the lending and ‘development’. This year, we would be awarding upto ten fellowships, with a fellowship amount of Rs 25,000 each. More about the Fellowship here.

The fellowship starts in August 2021 for a period of three months, and entails writing comprehensive, well-researched, and investigative articles, photo essays or short documentaries on the specific area/projects related to the themes mentioned below.

Proposed themes:

  1. Privatisation of Public Sector: Looks into how privatisation of public sector units are being rolled out and its impact on the economy, labour etc. The topics could also look at how national wealth is being transferred, who are the actors gaining from this, and the price of such transfers.
  2. Pandemic, Public finance and Public health: Public finance and public health including but not limited to the vaccination policy of the government, public health expenditure, support to the states, vaccine rollout etc. “Vaccines will be the ‘most important’ economic policy this year,” IMF chief had said.
  3. Energy Extraction and Renewables: The state of Energy extraction and renewables in India, its impact on environment, communities and finance, including but not limited to privatisation of electricity distribution companies, solar, coal, renewables etc.
  4. Infrastructure Finance: Infrastructure financing including issues around linear projects, mega infrastructure projects like corridors, river linking, coastal infrastructure, development in protected areas etc.
  5. State Preparedness and capacity to deal with the pandemic: Were the states adequately prepared and capacitized to deal with the pandemic, by way of providing adequate resources, giving right share of GST and by strengthening the federal fiscalism.
  6. Steps to revive the economy: Are the efforts taken by the government, including multiple stimulus package, enough to revive the economy, which is at its lowest?

The Fellowship is open to all Indian citizens below 40 years of age and, on the themes mentioned above, is open to writers in English and other Indian languages.

Application Requirements:

Please submit your application through this form.

Proposals on more than one topic can be sent by filling the form more than once.

CFA reserves the right not to award fellowship if the applications do not meet a minimum standard.

Expected deliverables:

  • One comprehensive analytical article of 1500-2000 words on the topic proposed by the end of the Fellowship.
  • Present their findings on the topic to the CFA post the completion of the Fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to get their articles published.


  • Selected fellows would be mentored by senior journalist Rakesh Dewan. Currently, the Editor of Sarvodaya Press Service, he has worked previously with Dainik Bhaskar, Tehelka and other publications at senior positions.


  • Open to all.
  • Women, independent writers/researchers writing in regional languages are encouraged to apply.

Important Dates:

  • Application Submission Deadline: 20 July 2021
  • Announcement of successful fellowships: 31 July 2021


  • All copyright of the work remains with the authors. However, CFA reserves the right to translate and publish the work after giving due credits.
  • The Fellows may be required to attend an orientation programme in Delhi.

About the organization:

Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) engages in critical analysis, monitoring and critique of the role of financial institutions – national and international, and their impact on development, human rights and the environment, amongst other areas in India.

The Centre partners with a range of civil society groups, social movements and community groups to try to ensure that the financial institutions are transparent and accountable to the people they exist to serve. However, we also look at the South Asia region and seek to reflect a global perspective, especially given the globalised nature of international finance in the twenty-first century.

More about CFA here.

About Smitu Kothari:

Smitu Kothari was a distinguished environmentalist and scholar-activist, who was involved in ecological, cultural and human rights issues. Throughout his life, he tried to collectively forge a national and global alternative that is socially just and ecologically sane.

Trained in physics, communications and sociology, Kothari taught at the Cornell and Princeton Universities in the US. He was also a Contributing Editor to The Ecologist and Development. As a prolific writer and editor, he wrote extensively on critiques of contemporary economic and cultural development, financing of the developmental projects, developmental displacement and social movements. Some of the books he edited are: Voices of Struggle: Social Movements in Asia (2006); Voices of Sanity, In Search of Democratic Space (2002); A Watershed in Global Governance? An Independent Assessment of the World Commission on Dams; The Value of Nature: Ecological Politics in India (2003); Out of the Nuclear Shadow (with Zia Mian, 2001); Rethinking Human Rights: Challenges for Theory and Action (1991); The Non-Party Political Process: Uncertain Alternatives (with H. Sethi, 1988).

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