Social science research to get a fillip in 12th Plan

Social science research to get a fillip in 12th Plan

Seeking to boost research in social sciences, the Human Resource Development Ministry has approved a proposal to strengthen existing institutes supported by the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and set up many more in the 12th Five Year Plan period.

“The perspective of expanding the research network and establishing more ICSSR research institutes will be aimed at removing the imbalances relating to region, neglected disciplines and inter-disciplinary areas of research, inter institutional networking and research relating to marginalised social groups and issues of their inclusive development,” a Ministry official said.  For this, a committee will be set up jointly by the HRD Ministry and ICSSR to identify the regions as well as new disciplines of study where the Council could set up research institutes. The Council is at present assisting 27 research institutes and six regional centres in different regions of the country.

“Towards ensuring an enhanced efficiency of the existing ICSSR institutes, it has been proposed that a group for evaluating the position of research institutes, including a minimum threshold academic strength of 17 faculty members in each institute, be considered,” the official said.

It was also proposed to explore the possibility of ICSSR meeting the salary expenditure of each institute to empower them and ensure that their autonomy is protected, the official added.

The HRD Ministry also accepted the recommendations of a committee set by it and gave go ahead to a number of structural changes in the ICSSR.

The selection and appointment of the ICSSR Chairman, which was so far exclusively at the discretion of the government, will now be made through a search committee comprising of one council member, one social scientist of international eminence to be nominated by the council and one person nominated by the government.

The ICSSR chairman, however, will be appointed by the government from the panel of the names submitted to it by the search committee.

The term of the chairman, which at present is renewable after three years, will now be five years but non-renewable.  he composition of the ICSSR council will also be modified to comprise nine ex-officio members, including ICSSR chairman, HRD Ministry’s higher education secretary, Ministry of Finance’ secretary expenditure, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry’s secretary, UGC chairman and director-general of ICSSR, among others.