The Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, has a fine record of research in diverse areas of social sciences.

The wide variety and diversity in the areas of research in social sciences and their contribution to social reforms, including poverty alleviation, is seldom appreciated vis-à-vis research in science and technology. Students of humanities should gather information relating to the rich opportunities for research in social sciences, which they can pursue with rewarding results.

A centre that has a fine record of research in diverse areas of social sciences is CESS — the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Begumpet, Hyderabad – 500 016; Website: www.cess.ac.in.

CESS had its genesis as an autonomous research centre in 1980. The Indian Council of Social Science Research recognised it as a national institute in 1986 and brought it in its network of institutions. It is financed by the Andhra Pradesh government and the council. Conducting interdisciplinary research in analytical and applied areas of social sciences, encompassing socioeconomic and other aspects of development, constitutes the predominant activities of the centre. Also, it undertakes research projects sponsored by the Union and the State governments and international agencies such as the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the European Community, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Asian Development Bank and the U.K. Government Department for International Development.

The main areas of focus are:

Rural development and poverty.

Agriculture and food security

Irrigation and water management.

Public finance.

Demography.

Health.

Environment.

There are other studies as well, to suit specific needs.

Areas of research

A quick look at some of the studies will bring out the variety of the research areas covered by the centre.

A rural development project from Ministry of Rural Development in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

Watershed development: To determine economic viability of watershed technology, assess the ecological impact of the technology, develop a theoretical framework for collective action in watershed management and formulate strategies for sustainable watershed management.

Working of Panchayat Raj institutions — impact on the poor.

Successful experiments of non-governmental organisations in rural development.

Study of determinants of demand for primary education in rural Andhra Pradesh.

Impact of anti-poverty programmes in rural areas.

Young lives: An international study of childhood poverty. This is a long-term international research project, investigating the changing nature of child poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. In India, the study will focus only on Andhra Pradesh.

Integrated Rural Development Programme.

Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas.

Jawahar Rozgar Yojana.

Indira Awas Yojana.

Patterns of India’s economic growth: Analysis of inter-State variations.

Influence of demographic and educational factors on growth.

Agriculture and food security — agriculture growth in Andhra Pradesh.

Irrigation and water management — water user associations.

Irrigation and water management — livelihood impact.

Irrigation — reviving traditional water harvesting.

Public finance — social sector expenditure and budgeting.

Demography — causes of fertility decline.

The State of mothers’ health in Andhra Pradesh.

Health sector reforms in Andhra Pradesh and maternal morbidity.

Gender differentials in adult mortality in India, with notes on rural-urban contrasts.

Determinants of maternal mortality in Andhra Pradesh.

Monitoring shifts in health sector policies in South Asia.

Impact of health sector reforms on hospital services in Andhra Pradesh — a study of trends in the structures of provision and utilisation pattern.

New institutional and economic approaches to health insurance for the poor in India.

Comparative studies of public policy processes in India.

Governance and Policy Spaces (GAPS) project, funded by the Ford Foundation.

Illustration of style and approach.

We have listed a number of items of studies. Let us find out how the items are generally handled, by highlighting a sample.

Let us take the case of the Young Lives project. It is an innovative long-term international research project on childhood poverty, conducted by a team of motivated researchers and funded by DFID, University of Reading. It investigates the changing nature of child poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam. In India, the study focusses on Andhra Pradesh.

The project aims to:

Produce good quality long-term quantitative and qualitative data on the changing lives of children living in poverty.

Develop a replicable methodology for monitoring child welfare over the long term to trace linkages between key policy changes and child welfare. The information produced is used to inform policy and action for improving child wellbeing.

The study will formulate policy for progress towards meeting the 2015 international development targets. The project team will strive to develop a low-cost methodology that could be used in other countries. The geographic location of different study centres will reflect a range of problems and issues encountered in developing countries.

The methodology used ensures that the data collected is based upon a broad understanding of child welfare. It will include information on child development, in addition to conventional nutritional and education measures.

Reasonable distribution of poor and non-poor districts from different regions, with good representation for rural and urban areas will be ensured in the studies.

Opportunities for research students.

Study programmes

CESS conducts M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in development studies, in collaboration with the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University. The University of Hyderabad (Central University) and Osmania University have also recognised this centre for advanced research. The research programmes in Development Studies cover areas of Economics, Commerce, Development Statistics, Political Science and Public Administration, Sociology and Geography.

Admission to the M.Phil. programme is based on an entrance test and an interview. Candidates with an M.Phil. degree or with 60 per cent or more marks in M.Phil. Part-I (course work) or who have published at least two research articles in standard academic journals are eligible for direct admission to the Ph.D. course. Advertisement for admission is normally released in December or January. For details of these programmes, you may send an e-mail to research@cess.ac.in.