ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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PhD Scholarships at ICSSR Institutes

The following is an open letter to the prime minister, Manmohan Singh. We the undersigned Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) research scholars of Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram would like to draw your attention to the unfavourable treatment of social science research in our country. Social sciences in India have always been provided with inadequate financial support from the government and this sorry state of affairs continues. Subsequent to the recommendations of the Knowledge Commission, a thrust has been given to higher education but the outlook towards social sciences has hardly changed. Social science research seeks to provide a critique of the society and economy and offers significant inputs to develop ment planning and policymaking. Govern mental support is, hence, indis pensable for carrying out independent and fruitful research. The meagre allocation of funds itself reflects the negligence and apathy towards social science research. The government of India established the ICSSR in 1969 to promote research in social sciences. Since its inception, ICSSR has facilitated the setting up of 27 research institutes across the country. Though these institutes have also been receiving financial assistance from central and state governments, it has remained inadequate. Amidst these constraints, ICSSR research institutes have carried out many pioneering studies on various facets of the Indian economy and have provided invaluable inputs to public policy.

The fellowship for PhD scholars provided by these institutes is inadequate to attract and retain scholars owing to increasing job opportunities with attractive pay packages. Given the high opportunity cost, there exists negligible incentive for young scholars to continue in the field of research. The present generation of young researchers needs to be seen as drivers of the future knowledge economy. In this context the Fourth Review Committee of ICSSR has rightly advocated providing more incentives in terms of higher fellowship and pay scales. The research contribution of ICSSR institutes has been much higher than the universities. This is evident from the survey of research articles in select social science journals, which shows that 40 per cent of authors were from research institutes and only a third from universities (Fourth Review Committee of ICSSR).

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