T. Ramakrishnan

It takes exception to "unilateral" decision to present Malcolm Adiseshiah Award

CHENNAI: The Malcolm and Elizabeth Adiseshiah (M & E A) Trust has taken exception to the manner in which the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) has decided to present the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Development Studies this year.

(Sharmila Rege, sociologist and professor in the University of Pune, has been chosen for the 2006 award. She will receive the award at a function to be held at the MIDS on November 21.)

According to the Trust's executive trustee H.B.N. Shetty, it is the Trust that instituted the award in 2000.

A unanimous resolution, adopted at the meeting of the Trust on Tuesday, said: "The Board of Trustees of the Malcolm & Elizabeth Adiseshiah Trust notes that in a major departure from the precedents of the past five years, the Madras Institute of Development Studies has decided to present on its own the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award 2006 for distinguished contributions to Development Studies on November 21. The Institute had unilaterally dissociated the M&EA Trust from the process of selection of the Jury and now the presentation ceremony also. This is a gross violation of the norms agreed upon by the Trust and MIDS for the selection of the awardee and the presentation of the Award.

The Award, instituted by the M & E A Trust, was jointly administered by the two organisations from 2001 to 2005.

"We register our protest to the chairperson and the Director of MIDS and with regret and reluctance, bring it to the notice of the academic community. We hold the awardee, Dr. Sharmila Rege, in the highest esteem and consider this turn of events unfortunate," said the resolution.

C.T. Kurien is the chairman of the Trust while V.K. Natraj, A. Vaidyanathan, U. Sankar and Sashi Kumar are the Trustees. According to Mr. Shetty, the MIDS Director is also a Trustee in the ex-officio capacity. Except the Director, the meeting was attended by all the members of the Trust.

Mr. Shetty added that the Trust did not want to come in the way of holding the function.

MIDS' response

Padmini Swaminathan, MIDS Director, now in Vishakhapatnam, told The Hindu over the phone that the resolution of the Trust was not binding on the Institute as it was not adopted by the MIDS' Governing Council. There was lack of clarity on the Institute's role vis-à-vis the award scheme of the Trust. "We do not want to be reduced to a secretarial status. We want a comprehensive MoU as to how to run the award scheme," Prof. Swaminathan said.