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 2020. 

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 three-month-long Fellowship, between mid-November and mid-February 2021, 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:

  • Public investments vs private investments in infrastructure sector – who gains, who loses?
  • Indian coal sector during and post-Covid
  • Is the push for privatization of public sector banks justified?
  • Roadmap for an inclusive post-Covid economic recovery?

The Fellowship is open to all Indian citizens below 35 years of age and, on the themes mentioned above, is open to the writers in English and other Indian languages.

Application Requirements:

Please email your cover letter, resume, along with the following documents and materials to with ‘Smitu Kothari Fellowship’ in the subject line by November 6, 2020:

  • Research proposal in 500-800 words on one of the above themes mentioning the rationale behind choosing the subject, and how do you intend to carry out the proposed study.
  • Two samples of your previously published work.

Proposals on more than one topic can be sent.

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 encouraged 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 previous with Dainik Bhaskar, Tehelka and other publications at senior positions.


  • Open to all.
  • Young writers are encouraged to apply.


  • 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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