Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Javed Alam, Chairman, Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, on Tuesday said the Union Government’s directives had adversely affected the functioning and efficiency of the ICSSR.

Prof. Alam said the Centre had not cleared the longstanding demand to increase the monthly fellowship of Ph.D. students from Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 10,000. Since the University Grants Commission (UGC) gives a monthly fellowship of Rs. 10,000, the ICSSR fellowship had been “devalued”, he said.

The ICSSR Chairman was speaking at the valedictory function of a seminar on “Institutional Structure of Social Science Research” at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) here.

Established in 1969 on the initiative of noted educationist and economist V.K.R.V. Rao, the ICSSR grants funds to 27 research institutes and six regional centres across the country.

Stating that the time had come to re-examine the ICSSR’s programmes, Prof. Alam said a large number of its scholars would retire soon, and it was difficult to get qualified experts. He urged the Centre to increase the senior fellowships (Rs. 8,000) granted to professors to undertake research projects.

Bridging the gap

The ICSSR could play a vital role in bridging the gap between research institutes and universities. It spent 85 per cent of its allocation for providing grants to its affiliated institutes. It proposed to encourage college teachers with fellowships to enable them to spend a year in research institutes to enhance their knowledge.

Earlier, presenting a paper on “Autonomy of institutions”, T.S. Papola, development economist and former director of the Giri Institute of Development Studies, New Delhi, said the ICSSR has been acting as a buffer between the Government and research institutes. The formulation of a national social science policy would erode the autonomy of the institutes, he said.

Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, called for redefining M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in universities and institutes.

George Mathew, Director, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said lack of cooperation among institutes and the UGC had hampered the quality of research in the country. Cooperation among the researchers and technical and library staff, and sharing of infrastructure and resources was needed to produce quality publications.

Anjan Mukherjee, professor of JNU, New Delhi, and T.C.A. Ananth, member secretary, ICSSR, spoke. C.T. Kurien, former Director of the Madras Institute of Development Studies, chaired a session.

S.L. Rao, Chairman of the ISEC Board of Governors, summarised the proceedings of the three-day seminar, which was organised to mark the birth centenary celebrations of V.K.R.V. Rao.