India lowest among BRICS nations on social science research spend

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(L to R)- Dr Samar Verma, Senior Program Specialtist, IDRC, Dr Anindya Chatterjee, Regional Director-Asia, IDRC, Prof VK Malhotra, Member Secretary ICSSR, Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, MOS HRD, Govt of India, Prof Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman ICSSR, Prof Bro NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image Play Video

Spl. Correspondent : Manju Shukla
Date  05/11/2016

New Delhi, November 5, 2016: Union Minister of State of Human Resource Development Shri Mahendra Nath Pandey said on Saturday that Narendra Modi government gives priority to social science research. Inaugurating an international conference on Social Science Research - Policy & Status organised, the Minister said, “Prime Minister has consistently emphasized the promotion of research to generate knowledge which helps in making evidence-based policies.”  The conference is being jointly organized by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Asian Social Science Association (ASSA) and is supported by the Think Tank Initiative, a multi-donor program.


The first session of the conference was marked by the release of publication, Social Science Research in India – Status, Issues and Policies. The book, edited by Prof Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman, ICSSR and Think Tank Initiative’s Dr. Samar Verma, puts together a set of scholarly essays on the status of social science research, including funding gaps and impact on policy.


The conference, which saw coming together of all Association of Social Science Research Councils of Asia, had participants from Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Philippines as well as from UK and Germany.


“The aim of the conference is to encourage sharing of experiences by representatives of funding bodies of participating countries and describe how they prioritise, organise, fund and evaluate their investments in research,” informed Prof Thorat.


It was pointed out that India ranks low  in per capita expenditure on research with $23.2 in the year 2005 and $38.5 for the year 2011, among all the countries from the BRICS group which include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. “Our study finds out that in 2010–11, the share of expenditure on SSR as percentage of total union budget of the central government was 0.025%, whereas it was 0.86% for pure science research. The share of SSR budget to GDP at market price for the same year was 0.0062%, whereas it was 0.21% in pure science,” said Samar Verma, Senior Program Specialist, Think Tank Initiative, and the co-author of the study.


Among others, the study also found out the need to make government research institutions more oriented towards serious research from its current focus on training only. “Of the total 311 research institutes in the country that were analysed in the study, about one-third are government institutes managed by ministries, which focus on education, rural development, and tribal problems. These institutes have good infrastructures, but poor research faculties as their main focus is on training and less on research. Since these institutes have good physical infrastructures, they can be made good centres of research by inducting research faculty,” recommended the study.


Dr Reena Marwah, convenor of the conference, said, “This is a first conference of ASSA and it will provide an opportunity to reflect and share expertise on the possibilities and channels of funding for social science research in respective countries.”


The Conference saw convergence of many reputed social scientists including Prof Amit Shovon Ray, Professor & Director, Centre for Development Studies (CDS); Dr Michael Bright, Associate director for International Strategy Research Councils, UK; Andrew Hurst, Think Tank Initiative, Canada; and Dr Nupur Barua, Deputy Head of south Asia Research Hub, UK Department for International Development (DFID); May Mya Khin, Myanmar; Sripala Hettige, Sri Lanka, among others. 


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