About ISEC: The Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) is an autonomous research body, founded in 1972. It arose out of ambition and enthusiasm by a group of eminent social scientists led by Prof. V.K.R.V. Rao, to establish an all-India institute of interdisciplinary research and training in social sciences in the southern part of the country. Their enthusiasm was matched by the earnest desire of the GovernmentKarnataka to establish an important center for social science research, and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) responded in equal measure. Thus, within a short span of time, a group of eminent social scientists, led by Prof. Rao mobilized the necessary material support from the Union Government as well as the Government of Karnataka and got a team of dedicated researchers to spur social science research in Bangalore. This was one of the first and largest institutions to be established under the ICSSR. Soon after its establishment, ISEC became a premier institution for undertaking multi-disciplinary research and training in social sciences.
|ISEC Fullform||Institute for Social and Economic Change|
|Type||Research and Training|
|KeyPerson||Dr. Ravindra A, IAS (Retd.)|
|Address||Institute for Social and Economic Change, Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao Road, Nagarabhavi, Bengaluru – 560072, India|
Genesis “I now want to utilize some of my time in building up a third institution in the field of social sciences, in addition to the two which I have helped to build, namely, the Delhi School of Economics and the Institute of Economic Growth. As I have built these two institutions in the north, I want to establish the third one in the south. Bangalore is an ideal place for its location.”
The Institute is established with the principal objective of conducting research and training in social sciences. Through both macro and micro-level studies with interdisciplinary approaches, the Institute’s mandate is to generate knowledge and provide information to improve the quality of policy-making and to serve as a center for advanced research and training in social sciences. The main objectives of the Institute are to:
- Promote pure and applied research in social and economic development and change encompassing all aspects of a developing society in an inter-disciplinary framework. These include studies on economic, ecological, sociological, demographic, educational and administrative problems and political issues of the country.
- Assist central, state and local governments by providing advice based on policy-related studies.
- Undertake regular training of doctoral students and teachers in universities and colleges. The Institute should also undertake training programs for the officials and political functionaries, particularly at local levels to upgrade their skills and make them aware of social and economic issues.
- Maintain a documentation and data center in social sciences.
- Assist the multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN (ESCAP), UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO and the like in undertaking research and training programs.
- Collaborate with universities, research institutions and the non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the region in improving the quality of research and training. By fulfilling these objectives, the Institute is required to play the role of a catalyst in social and economic transformation in the country.
Vision: “Social planning could be thought of under the following heads:
- As a complement and a corrective to economic development
- As an integrated planning of the different social services sectors
- As the planning of different sectors of activity, both economic and social for the fulfillment of specific social targets or the uplift of specific backward sections of society
- As overall social planning for social change and social reconstruction”
Location and Facilities: ISEC is located in a sylvan 16-hectare campus at Nagarabhavi, abutting the Bangalore University’s ‘Jnanabharati’ premises on the south-western outskirts of the city. Besides the academic, library and administrative complex, the hostels for the students and guesthouse for the visiting scholars, the campus has a residential facility for 77 faculty and staff of the Institute. It also has well-equipped seminar halls, conference dining hall, and a 300-seater auditorium. The Institute’s campus is well maintained with sprawling gardens and lawns and a variety of flora and fauna. The Bangalore Urban Arts Commission has judged the Institute’s campus as one of the best-maintained campuses in the city of Bangalore consistently during the last three years.
Administrative setup: The Director is the Chief Executive of the Institute. The Board of Governors, which meets three times a year makes all policy decisions. The members of the Board consist of 10 elected representatives from Founding/Life Members, 4 co-opted members, Director ISEC, VC Bangalore University, Principal Secretaries of Finance, Planning and Higher Education in Karnataka, a representative each of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Finance, Government of India and the ICSSR. Two elected representatives of the faculty are also in the Board. Employee participation in decision making is a hallmark at ISEC. In implementing various policies, the Director is assisted by various statutory committees.
Thrust Areas of Research: The Institute tunes its research agenda on a five-year basis. The thrust areas of research for the years 2004-2010 are:
- Macroeconomic reforms including public finance.
- Sectoral Reforms with special reference to Agriculture and rural development; Human development and social services; Education; Environment and natural resources; Infrastructure, industry, and technology.
- Globalization and its impacts on Indian economy and society.
- Democratic Decentralisation and Development, Good Governance and public policy.
- Social systems and change: Studies on Gender and vulnerable sections.
ICSSR Fellowships: All doctoral students at ISEC are supported with fellowships and contingency allowances. The ICSSR has allotted six fellowships to the Institute from 2004-05. Of the six five are institutional fellowships while one is a Teacher Fellowship with salary protection. The ICSSR provides the fellowship only for 3 years; however, the Institute makes all efforts to support all the doctoral students up to four years of their studies.
Networking: ISEC maintains close functional linkages with ministries of central and state governments. It actively collaborates with multi-lateral agencies such as the World Bank, UN (ESCAP), and ADB, aid agencies like Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Department of International Development (DFID), the Ford Foundation, GTZ and MacArthur Foundation. ISEC provides policy inputs through various studies and actively collaborates with the State Government particularly the Departments of Finance, Planning, Education, water resources, and Rural Development, NHRC, ISRO and so on. Likewise, network-based activities are being organized with CMDR, CESS, NIRD, NIPFP, CDS, IIFM and several universities in the country. The faculty members of ISEC have served as chairmen and members of various committees and study groups appointed by the central and state governments.
Research Projects: Research projects in the Institute follow a project cycle. They are to be approved by the Academic Research and Program Committee. Faculty take up projects on their own interest or linked to the interests of sponsors or funding agencies. In soliciting sponsored projects, however, the Institute has taken due care to ensure the minimum compromise on academic merits. On average about 25 projects are completed per year, and another 25-30 are approved as new projects. Most of the projects undertaken have been for Central and State government agencies, the Ford Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development Corporation (SDC), Mac Arthur Foundation, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT), the World Bank and other international agencies.
There were important research projects on decentralization and governance funded by the Ford Foundation since 1996 which have 12 emerged into a major Unit undertaking research and training in fiscal, political, administrative, and sociological aspects of decentralization. Similar studies in the recent past were on Ecology, Economics, and Institutions, Rural Livelihood Systems, Estimating Expenditure Needs of the States ( for the Eleventh Finance Commission), WTO Cell Report, Report on Farmers’ Suicides and several others. Currently, the Institute is completing Karnataka Development Report and components of Karnataka Human Development Report. Recently, ISEC also contributed to the preparation of Karnataka State Environment Report and High Power Committee Report on Redressal of Regional Imbalances, Task Force Report on Primary and Higher Education, and so on. Besides these, there are a large number of policy-related studies sponsored by various Central and State ministries and the Planning Commission. So far over 700 such studies have been completed.