Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sukhadeo Thorat on Social Science in India

Q. Ho far ICSSR has been successful in promoting social sciences research in India, according to you?

Sukhdeo Thorat: Since I joined ICSSR, I realised that it was hugely underfunded; the total allocation to ICSSR was only Rs. 36 crores, in 2010-11. It was during the time I joined, MHRD has set up committee to review the functioning of ICSSR and they made some positive recommendations. One of their recommendations was that social sciences research was hugely underfunded, and they recommended for 21 times increase in the allocation of fund. The academic quality suffers because of lack of funding for research, Ministry has taken a positive initiative and budget was increased to 400 crores which was later reduced to 100 crores.

I believe that neglecting social sciences research is problematic, because research helps us to understand the reality of society and once you understand the problem you can develop policies. Since, we are underfunding the research; it is focused on certain areas only.

That's from this interview with Prof. Thorat, who served as Chairman of University Grants Commission until two years ago. He's currently the Chairman of ICSSR [pdf].

Update: After Thorat, UGC had only an acting chairman in Prof. Ved Prakash all these months; he has just been appointed formally as UGC Chairman.