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THRUST AREASThe Institute has been pursuing research studies and organising development dialogues, training and interactions in five main areas, viz.,
(1) Economic Policies and Strategies,
(2) Women and Gender Studies,
(3) Social Policies: Institutions and Governance,
(4) Civil society, Human Rights and Social Movements,
(5) Human Development, Urban Poverty and Social Security.
Economic Policies and Strategies
Economic Policies and Strategies has been another important thrust area identified by the Institute for research and dialogues. Apart from economic studies, our activities in this area include policy dialogues, trainings and advocacy. Our past and continuing studies and dialogues in this area include sectoral studies covering agriculture, livestock, non-farm sector and urban informal sector; rural finance and credit; and poverty and unemployment. Agricultural sector has been the most intensively studied economic sector by the IDSJ researchers. The issues probed are agricultural policies, food security, farm inputs particularly fertilizer and irrigation, capital formation, marketing, and liberalization of agriculture. The researchers have also undertaken studies focussing on rice, food security and agricultural marketing systems in southeast and south Asia. The livestock sector studies at the Institute have covered economics of sheep and goat rearing, marketing of wool, goat, goat products and other live animals; inter-sectoral linkages, livestock services and dairy processing. Keeping in view the emerging importance of rural non-farm sector, the researchers at IDSJ have analyzed employment pattern in khadi and handicrafts and rural industry, and the system of credit delivery to this sector. Urban informal sector was studied with a focus on labour market, child labour, employment and income. The issue of poverty and management of poverty alleviation programmers (PAP) and livelihood adaptation has been the central focus of a number of studies and dialogues.
Apart from these, the Institute in recent years concentrated on policies and programs pertaining to different sectors of the economy which include subsidies in agriculture, spatial integration of agricultural markets, institutional finance and rural credit, financial sector reforms, evaluation of Indira Avas Yojana and Million Well Scheme, micro credit in Rajasthan, economic performance of Rajasthan, studies related to DPIP, terms of trade for agricultural sector at the state level, equity driven trade and marketing policy strategies for Indian agriculture, rural industrialization, panchayat samiti wise development status index, food security, coping mechanisms in drought conditions, tourism and structural transformation of Rajasthan economy.
Our dialogues in the area of economic policies and strategies have covered such issues as agricultural policies during the nineties; drought mitigation and food stocks; agricultural marketing reforms; employment guarantee; and future of agriculture in Asia. The Institute has been conducting training programmes for development administrators, functionaries and analysts at national and international levels. For example, a series of training programmes on agricultural policy analysis and planning were conducted for development administrators of Asia and Africa. A similar series of international training programmes on macro policies for poverty alleviation was subsequently launched. The Institute has also organized trainings on environmental economics, research methods, input-output analysis and poverty analysis at national and state levels.
Women and Gender Studies
IDS is well known for its progressive gender research, creating platform for dialogue on gender issue, and central role played by the institute on gender movements at state as well as national level. Identification of Women and Gender Issues as a thrust area of studies and dialogues grew out of the recognition of gender based subordination in society – an injustice, which needs to be, countered both at the individual and collective level. The attempt of the Institute has been to examine, question, address, alter and redefine those mechanisms through which subordination is legitimized, taken for granted and internalized as personal destiny. The Institute is trying to create a research base to dispel deep-seated attitudinal biases and create fresh knowledge through data, logic and cognitive interpretations. The efforts have been to bring rural, poor women’s perceptions on social, economic and political issues into policy and planning discourse.
The Institute’s faculty actively contributed to the Women Development Programmes of the State. The faculty participates and contributes to the trainings at village, regional and national levels on gender issues. Women in decision making and local governance; malnutrition among women and children; empowerment of adolescent girls through health education; situational analysis of women and children; women in literacy campaigns; violence against women; training in gender planning; gender in education; women and children’s health; gender and food security; gender and natural resource management; gender and cultural issues and gender and poverty have received emphasis in Institute’s studies, dialogues and trainings. The Institute has effectively contributed to the women’s movement; capacity building on gender issues and mainstreaming gender concerns in policy and planning discourse. Childhood poverty, trafficking of women and children, girl child and child protection received added emphasis.
Social Policies: Institutions, Governance and Civil Society
A large number of studies covering different aspects of education, health, empowerment of people, governance and civil society were undertaken by the researchers at the Institute. Conceptual framework of social assessment has been part of development discourse and empirical study in the field situation. Apart from the rigour of statistical analysis, the researchers have used PRA, social mapping, participatory observations, focussed group discussions and case study methods for social assessment studies.
The major thrust of the Institute in the area of social policies has been on primary education, women’s education and non-formal education. The Institute has been involved in the design and participatory evaluation of the DPEP and DPIP. This apart, the Institute has under taken several studies relating to elementary education and literacy. The Institute has done social assessment for District Primary Education Project (DPEP) in 19 identified districts and for DPIP in seven districts of the state. The Institute was involved in concurrent evaluation of Total Literacy Campaign (TLC) in the state, which provided important feedback for mid-course correction in the campaign besides a composite view of external evaluations of TLCs. The Institute has also undertaken studies and organized dialogues on role of PRIs; communities in co-existence; impact of ICDS; role of NGO sector and self-help groups; pro-poor urban planning; child labour; street children; fertility and migration; development of scheduled castes, malnutrition and health education of adolescent girls. The Institute provided bench marks for DPIP and DPEP. It is also involved in process monitoring of DPIP and Integrated Child Labour Project of ILO in Rajasthan.
Human Development, Urban Poverty and Social Security
Issues concerning Human Development, poverty, and social security have received attention at the Institute ever since its inception and they continue to be of interest among researchers. Continuous research on these areas added to new dimensions into it and expanded voluminously. Rajasthan provides a unique platform for assessment and verification of policy measures taken towards tackling Human Development, poverty and social security concerns. Studies on this theme largely stem from the larger interest of researchers analysing the human development advantage as well as the longstanding social security/welfare measures adopted, in the state.
In sum, the prominence of research relating to Human Development, poverty, and social security has been kept up at the Institute all through the past. Various state-specific studies of national coverage as well as collaborative studies with international agencies have been undertaken on these themes.
Civil Society, Human Rights and Social Movements