Social science research with focus

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The Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad, and the Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies, Bhubaneswar, while going deep into the socioeconomic problems of their respective regions, have a national perspective too

Seeding a change:A farmer at work. The Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad, pursues research related to agriculture, drought and famine in Gujarat.— Photo: Reuters
Seeding a change:A farmer at work. The Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad, pursues research related to agriculture, drought and famine in Gujarat.— Photo: Reuters

During the past weeks, this column has been trying to highlight the facilities for social science research in leading institutions in the country. We will now focus on two more of such institutions.

They are the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research (SPIESR), Ahmedabad, and the Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies (NCDS), Bhubaneswar.

The SPIESR, located on Thaltej Road in Ahmedabad (website:, had its humble beginnings in 1969. It gradually grew as an institution of national repute. The institute is supported by the Gujarat government and the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

It maintains diversity in its activities, covering areas such as research, training, and extension services. Its research activities have a focus on problems of the Gujarat economy, but they touch national issues as well. Studies are made on social problems, with a view to evolving strategies for solving them. The institute works in cooperation with other educational institutions in the region, especially in the matter of disseminating the findings of research. The members of the faculty often offer their services to governments, universities, the Reserve Bank of India and the International Monetary Fund. The institute is an authorised centre for doctoral research.

The studies in the institute lay emphasis on areas such as quantitative economic research, applied economic research, theoretical analysis and economic modelling based on field work. Efforts are made for formulating testable hypotheses and evolving models relevant for policy analysis.

Let us now look at some of the specific areas studied by the research scholars of the institute.

Adult education programme.

Adult literacy.

Agricultural demand and food security in India.

Analysis of famine and droughts.

Commodity taxation in India.

Cost-benefit analysis of the Sardar Sarovar Project with emphasis on environmental impact.

Determinants of rural industrial entrepreneurship of farmers.

Employment, poverty and public policy.

Evaluation of poverty eradication programmes.

Evaluation of social forestry programme.

Financial issues in the water sector.

Formulation and estimation of poverty indices.

Health care, health financing and health insurance.

Impact of expenditure on the State economy.

Impact of Green Revolution.

Impact of the land ceiling Act.

India’s search for technological self-reliance.

Industry studies — textiles, diamonds, jari, cloth printing and electronics.

International linkages of domestic prices and the mechanism of price transmission.

Intra-regional analysis of agriculture and industrial growth.

Land and water resources.

Multinational corporations and national technological capability.

Optimum utilisation of educational expenditure.

Physical and financial infrastructure — power sector, financial institutions.

Problem of tribal areas.

Problems of construction workers.

Prohibition and the poor.

Regional economy in a long-term perspective.

Social forestry.

Status of women.

Sustainable environment and development.

Tribal situation in India: issues in development.

Wage structure and labour mobility in a local labour market.

The institute conducts regular programmes for young research scholars on research methodology and relevant macro-economic issues.


The NCDS, located at Chandrasekharpur in Bhubaneswar (website:, was established in 1987 as an ICSSR institute, in collaboration with the Orissa government. The centre receives assistance in the form of endowment from establishments such as the Orissa Industrial Development Corporation, the Orissa Forest Development Corporation, the Orissa Mining Corporation, Tata Iron and Steel Company, National Aluminium Company and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd.

The faculty of this autonomous institute comprises members drawn from different disciplines such as Economics, Sociology and Social Anthropology.

Members from other faculties such as Political Science, Public Administration, Geography, Social Psychology, Women Studies, History and Education will be added to meet additional needs warranted by expanding areas of research.

The centre conducts research in social sciences embracing socioeconomic and other facets of a developing society.

The thrust areas are economics, sociology and anthropology. Further, it conducts policy-related studies at macro and micro levels for the Union and the State governments.

The training programmes, for officials and non-officials who are engaged in programme implementation of the government, become dynamic platforms of interaction that leads to the right identification of social problems and issues, to be studied. This, in turn, helps in suggesting practical solutions to policymakers in the governments.

Very often, research studies are sponsored by outside agencies. All these help the research students in sharpening their skills for producing useful outputs. Workshops, seminars and discourses with the participation of experts are organised for enhancing the quality of research studies and the formulation of socioeconomic policies.

The NCDS is an authorised centre for doctoral research. It has research and academic collaboration with the University of Queensland (Australia) and the University of Wales (U.K.).

The institutional doctoral fellowships fall into two categories: salary-protected band and general fellowship.



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