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

The Indian government, for past few decades, has stressed the need for large infrastructural projects for the country’s development. These large infrastructural projects, which are seen as a stimulus to the GDP growth, mainly include power projects, dams, roads, urban projects, industrial zones/corridors, smart cities and other mega projects. However, these projects, due to their large size, have severe impacts on the environment and the human rights, including the livelihood of the affected population.

Moreover, while the contribution of these large projects on GDP growth is debatable, what is beyond doubt is that the government takes loans from national, regional and international development financial institutions to finance these projects. The citizens repay the loans for the next few decades.

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 four fellowships, with a fellowship amount of Rs 25,000 each.

The three-month-long Fellowship, between mid-September and mid-December 2018, entails writing comprehensive, well-researched, and investigative articles on the specific area/projects related to the themes mentioned below.

Proposed themes:

  1. Financing of Smart cities and Industrial corridors: Agenda and impact on urban finance, environment, and services.
  2. International finance on climate change and its investments in India.
  3. Coal power plants near Sundarbans: Impact on the world heritage site and the local community.
  4. The progress of the strategies adopted to contain the rising NPAs in the thermal power sector.
  5. Solar power parks and their impact on the local population.

The Fellowship, on the themes mentioned above, is open to the writers in English and vernacular languages. However, the CFA reserves the right not to award any fellowship if the applications do not meet a minimum standard.

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 September 8, 2018:

  • 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.

Expected deliverables:

  • One comprehensive analytical article of minimum 2000 words on the topic proposed within a month of completion of Fellowship.
  • Present their findings on the topic to the CFA post the completion of the Fellowship.


  • 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 organisation:

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.

Some of CFA’s publications can be seen 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).

6 Comments, RSS

  • Sageer

    I am working on governance and agriculture in district mewat Haryana this area is very backward due to education,live hood and unemployment.
    People are deprived of their rights because of the government’s mismanagement of schemes and plans.
    So we aware the people on government scheme and act for their RTE,PDS,ICDS,MNREGA,etc.and we also give the demonstration to the farmars for new scientific technology in deferent crops so that farmars grow their income by the agriculture

  • Ujjwal Bhoyar

    Development of Maharashtra government fake news but some media people say that Maharashtra government developing the state. What is the wrong and what is the right I don’t know but still not the development of Maharashtra. Thanks
    Ujjwal Bhoyar

  • Stalin K.

    It is so wonderful to read about this fellowship program in Smithu’s memory! There couldn’t have been a better way to keep his passion alive. Thank you all for making this. I will do my bit and find the young writers to apply for this.

  • Aditi Nevatia

    Respected Sir/Madam,
    This is in regard to the Smitu Kothari Fellowship I came across just last night. I am interested in applying for the same but had a few doubts regarding its eligibility.
    I have recently completed my Bachelor’s in Commerce and have been working in the Transport and Logistics field since the past 3 years. Moreover I have published a paper in a recognised journal.
    Does publishing only one paper make me a suitable applicant for this fellowship?
    Kindly revert back to me regarding the same at the earliest. I have already started by research for sending in the essay based on the themes provided by you. I feel that this is an excellent opportunity and I would be able to make the most of it. Hope to hear back from you soon.

    Thanking you,
    Yours sincerely,
    Aditi Nevatia.

    • CFA

      Thank you for showing interest in the fellowship. Please send your proposal, along with your resume and writing samples to the email id given in the fellowship.

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