Thursday, February 27, 2014

Article "How Not To Read History" by Jayanthi A Pushkaran of CSSP, JNU

How Not To Read History
By Jayanthi A Pushkaran, 26 February 2014

There is nothing like a cultural controversy to stimulate the social imagination. The Doniger’s episode is a bit like most of the previous controversies on books where a ban or censorship (enforced or otherwise) comes out as knee-jerk solution. To police ideas and scholarship for appeasing certain group signals the erosion of liberal tradition in India. Now that the dust has settled over the decision of Penguin India to withdraw and pulp Wendy Doniger’s book ‘The Hindus-An alternative history’ in an out of court settlement with a Hindu group that had protested against the book, one realises that scholarly work on history is increasingly being silenced by communal bullies in the name of national pride. A new intolerance is gripping India, gradually tightening its claws around not just the body politic but the mind of the nation.
Media and intelligentsia have bemoaned this incident as an assault on free speech, dismal state of law and government’s incapacity to stop fundamentalists from threatening the publishing houses and authors. However, what we are witnessing is something far worse, an attack on free inquiry. Censorships on academic works are being sought through political, institutional, legal, private and violent means. This is not the first time books have come under attack. In 2008, Oxford University Press decided to cease publication of a scholarly essay on the Ramayana, and in 2011, Delhi University took the same essay off its syllabus after the ABVP activist called the essay blasphemous. James Laine’s book on Shivaji was banned in Maharashtra, after Shiv Sena went on a rampage. And Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses remains banned to this date. Reputed publishers succumbing to the pressures of these self-styled custodians of culture send a signal to others.
The issue raises many concerns about the fundamentals of acquiring and handling of knowledge in this country. The matter is not about the eventual victor, but about the very future of scholarship and its shrinking discursive space. The incident highlights that the barriers to free inquiry in India today is doubly threatened by intolerance and weak institutions that have failed to secure liberal values. There is something quite worrisome about this situation for it has commanded a compulsory elimination of a scholarly work. We do not have to agree with Doniger’s book but to go to the extent of erase it and not letting people to be exposed to differing points of view is authoritarian. This is absurd because it leaves no possibility for critical discernment. Evelyn Beatrice Hall once stated under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre in 1906, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. To censor ideas and academic work, because they are offensive to some, prevents the scope for even attempting genuine intellectual discourse.
Over the years, the war on books has become a feature of the larger battle over identity and sentiments. A feature of this conflict is to oppose anything that does not confirm to what is supposedly assumed as the correct view by a few. Instead of being an open-ended probe into history, the practice of scholarship is, oddly, compelled to confirm to the whims of populist groups. Scholarship needs to be free to interpret events. To limit academic expressions between political correctness and rigid intolerance is to undo the ethos of rational enquiry.
Wendy Donigers book should be read twice. Firstly, it should be read it for what she says. Departing from an inflexible and uninformed understanding of the religion, she underlines the less spoken narratives of women, Dalits and other pluralistic traditions to capture its remoteness as against the political mobilisation of Hinduism as a homogenous narrative. Secondly, one should read it to observe what we read into it. One clearly senses an explicit split between knowledge and politics here. For many years now, right wing groups, in the name of instilling patriotism have been trying to spread a communal interpretation of history through distorting textbooks and curriculum. The more dangerous trend is the attempt to use government institutions and political power to attack rational and secular history and historians to promote an obscurantist, regressive looking communal historiography.
A large number of historians in India have effectively critiqued the attempts by communal forces to paint Indian history in a narrow sectarian hue. Noted historians such as Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib have, time and again, highlighted how Hindutva version of history, in fact, ends up reiterating the work of James Mill and Lord Macaulay in its definition of Indian civilization and of monolithic communities dominating history. The Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, for example, observes in his book ‘The Argumentative Indian’ that India’s persistence heterodoxy and its tendency towards multi-religious and multi-cultural co-existence had important implications for the development of mathematics and science in India. Moral and cultural policing of knowledge curtails the possibility of pluralism which is required to interpret the myth, legend, folktales and societal memories in a country where text and oral traditions co-existed.
Religious sentiments were hurt when the practice of Sati was questioned in India. Religious sentiments could be hurt if scientific findings question the religious positions on origin of life. Does that mean one should go to the extent of banning or altering such knowledge in line with religious diktats? For knowledge to prevail in any area there needs to be a critical enquiry and scrutiny of the subject matter. This includes the scope for analysis of traditional, contentious and multiple ideas. And India needs to rise to such possibilities.

The author is a Programme Director at the organization Delhi Greens and a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email: twitter: @apjayanthi

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

STEPS-JNU Symposium Report: "Are you an academic or an activist?"

STEPS-JNU Symposium: “Are you an academic or an activist?”
By Elisa Arond, Doctoral student, Clark University and researcher STEPS Centre Grassroots Innovation project
Posted on 19 February 2014 by Steps Admin

“Are you an academic or an activist?” That was the first question I was asked over tea before the workshop on Grassroots Innovation Movements began at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. To me this question spoke to two themes. First, it raises a self-reflective question about one’s role in, or contribution to, social change. While all in attendance could probably be said to be motivated by normative goals of improving well-being the world over, especially among the most marginalized, in the workshop there were clearly also diverse visions of exactly how to foster transformational change toward that broad goal. Secondly, this question speaks more broadly to an apparent division in the relationship between knowledge production and social change.
At the workshop, Dinesh Abrol reminded us of the different transformative visions of Nehru, of Gandhi, and of different social movements shaped in each period of Indian history, including pre- and post-Independence. Some at the workshop clearly stated their identity as activists, and placed the evolution of their work into the historical-social context outlined by Dinesh and others. These ardent activists were, and continue to be, integrally involved in knowledge production – through People’s Science Movements, for example – and see activism and knowledge production as complementary or integrated pursuits.
For example, PK Ravindran, director of the Integrated Rural Technology Centre (IRTC), Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), part of the umbrella People’s Science Movements, has been active in the movement for some fifty years! Ravindran described the PSM slogan: “science for social revolution,” beginning with a focus on science education, followed by the development of a participatory, production-oriented, development model based on human and natural resources available within the community, and optimal utilization of the environment. KSSP focuses on support to local bodies, with work in a number of areas, including: Panchayath resource mapping, watershed based plans, water management, energy conservation, and Local Development Plans.
TP Raghunath, of the Centre for Ecology and Rural Development (CERD), described initiatives of the Tamil Nadu Science Forum and Pondicherry Science Forum (PSF) over 25 or so years. He described the vision of PSF’s “science for social change” including inclusive and sustainable approaches to social change, drawing on five core values:
  • The right of every citizen to the basic entitlements needed for minimum quality of civilized life
  • Concept of equity – as equality of opportunity and access to resources, as end to discrimination
  • Sustainability – stating that we cannot live today or choose a path of development that compromise the rights of future generations to exist
  • Democracy – defined as the participation of people in decisions affecting their lives, including in governance through appropriate representative mechanisms – creation of democratic institutions of water users, women, negotiation with the state
  • Opportunity for each citizen to develop her creative potential to the fullest

Adrian Smith presented the case of Lucas Aerospace, and the Movement for Socially Useful Production in the UK in the 1970s. Facing the decline of British manufacturing due to the drastic restructuring of capital, many skilled workers were threatened with losing their jobs. While various unions organized work-ins, strikes and boycotts, a group of workers at Lucas formed the Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine Committee. Through extensive consultation with the broader workforce, the Committee put together an alternative corporate plan to protect jobs and convert production from largely military technology toward government investment in “socially-useful production”. They developed 150 prototypes based on the collective heuristic knowledge of workers on the shop floor, and suggested new, less-hierarchical ways of organizing the labor process.  When management and the government largely ignored the proposal, the Combine Committee went public and political, leveraging various means – from teach-ins to an educational demonstration tour, among others. Adrian pointed out that the prototyping spaces themselves – the spaces of knowledge production – were also political mobilization spaces, as much about building solidarities as building devices. So perhaps the division between knowledge production processes and social change is not so clearcut – at least in these cases from the People’s Science Movements in India and the Movement for Socially Useful Production in the UK.
G Nagarujan, of the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, spoke about the character and nature of the free software movement, which he likened to termites, doing their duty underground, while others roam above. To the termites (and hackers), the objective is “to destroy the big systems, the mighty mafias of corporations and governments.” It is a political movement, not a technical movement. It is a movement toward distributed production – whether of hardware, software, or knowledge, meant to weaken centralized institutions. Nagarujan called on academics to be more disruptive, following the model of hackers. While hackers use microblogging and usenet fora as tools for social networking, intentionally sharing ideas “as a way of slapping or spitting on the current knowledge production system,” Nagarujan suggested academics should create new kinds of journals on that model, to be similarly subversive.
Returning to the first question of role and identity, Adrian Smith described himself as an “engaged researcher”, while Dinesh Abrol labeled himself both an academic and a practitioner, and still others at the workshop represented themselves as academics open about their goals and values. So “am I an academic or an activist?” I don’t think there is such a stark distinction everywhere, or maybe at least there doesn’t have to be, as indicated by these examples above. I have been an activist in certain realms. I am currently an academic-in-training. No doubt I seek to make an academic contribution that helps activate positive change. But perhaps there is a distinction to be made between academic as researcher with individual leeway to be self-defined in terms of activist leanings, and academia as a (perhaps not homogeneous) space with particular rules, expectations about behavior, and a history.
The choice of taking an activist stance can bring risks in certain contexts. At the workshop, someone highlighted the risks of being a vocal activist in academia until one’s career is established. Nicholas Kristof, a NY Times columnist, recently called for US academics to engage beyond the university campus, pointing to a dearth of academic engagement in public policy debates in the USA, with the exception of economics and a few other disciplines. Kristof acknowledged the institutional structures and competitive professional trends that discourage many academics from engaging in more informal, popular discussion fora.
But what does it mean to be an activist within academia? Is it speaking out against the predominant trending theory? Is it attempting to influence policy and public opinion? Perhaps one facet is just taking note and calling out everyday exclusions and disparities in that hierarchical realm of knowledge production, as long as the risks from where one stands aren’t overwhelming.
One example I find inspiring in my own national context is the academic-activist-women-authored blog Tenure She Wrote who use this alternative channel of blogging to speak out about challenges faced by women in US academia (the bloggers write under pseudonyms in order to avoid jeopardizing their academic careers), and activism has included putting pressure on Nature to review how they understand and support diversity through their publications.
So just as D Raghunandan, of the Centre for Technology Development (CTD), New Delhi, remarked at the workshop: “When we talk about innovation and policy, an issue of prime importance is: innovation for what?” And similarly, we can ask: Knowledge production for what? Academia for what?  While Raghunandan pointed to the kinds of institutional structures we’ve sought to build or draw on to harness innovation to development (not always so effectively) – perhaps we should pay more attention to the hackers and termites, as Nagarujan advocated. Not just to undermine dominant ways of doing things in which we are entrenched (such as the quite peculiar system of incentives and promotion in academia), but also to unearth the creativity and alternative institutional structures or ways of doing that allow more fruitful links between knowledge producers – wherever they may be located – and the spaces where knowledge may shape, transform, sustain or stimulate meaningful change.


Friday, February 21, 2014

KOICA-GDN Research Papers Award 2014

KOICA Development Research Award 2014

The KOICA Development Research Award (KOICA Award) is a competitive prize administered by GDN and funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). KOICA is the main implementing agency for Korea’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) grant programs. The prize identifies and recognizes completed research papers that engage in promising growth studies that investigate the salient features of Korea’s growth experience (Republic of Korea or South Korea) and provide an interesting analytical benchmark to analyze growth issues and prospects in developing countries. The authors of the papers must be nationals of any of the developing countries listed on the next page

The winners of the KOICA Award 2014 will be announced in mid-July 2014 and will receive monetary prizes and an opportunity to travel to Seoul, Korea in late summer 2014 to attend the prize distribution ceremony.

Theme: Relevance of Korea’s Development Experience for Developing Countries

Prize Categories

The KOICA Development Research Award will be given out in the following prize categories:

  • First Prize:  USD 8,000
  • Second Prize: USD 6,000
  • Third Prize: USD 4,000

In addition, there are three special prizes:

  • KOICA President’s Award for the Best Submission from a researcher or team of researchers from the 26 Priority Partner Countries of KOICA: USD 4,000
  • KOICA Award for the Best Submission from a Young Researcher/Team (the individual researcher must be under 30 years; in case of a team submission, at least one researcher must be under 30 years of age and all team members must be under 35 years of age): USD 3,000
  • KOICA Award for the Best Submission from a Woman Researcher/Team of Women Researchers: USD 3,000.

The winners of this competition will also be provided an opportunity to travel to Seoul, Korea in late summer 2014 to attend the prize distribution ceremony.Travel and other related expenses for the winners to attend this event will be borne by GDN.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Open only to researchers who are nationals of eligible developing countries. Click here to see the full list of eligible countries:
  • Nationals of eligible developing countries who are temporarily based in an ineligible country but not for more than five years as 15 April, 2014
  • There is no age limit to apply for the competition. However, qualifying individual applicants, under the age of 30 years as of 15 April, 2014, will also be considered for the award for young researcher(s). Teams can also compete for this award provided that at least one team member is under 30 years of age and all team members are below 35 years of age as of 15 April 2014
  • Staff members of multilateral and bilateral organizations are NOT eligible to apply
  • Previous and current employees of KOICA and GDN or its RNPs are NOT eligible to apply up till 5 years from the completion of their tenure.Previous GDN Board Members, project mentors and members of evaluation teams are NOT eligible to apply
  • Similar proposals or papers resulting as products from full or partial GDN funded activities cannot be submitted for this competition
  • Reviewers and selection committee members for the competition are not eligible to take part in the competition

DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING PAPER: 15 April, 2014 (Indian Standard Time 6:00 PM)only via our dedicated online submissions platform.

APPLY Please refer to the Guidelines for detailed instructions on how to apply



Please note:
GDN reserves the right to modify, cancel or not award grants at any stage of the competition and grant-making.  The decision of GDN will be final.

For further queries, email us at

- See more at:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CfPs: Spaces of Technoscience Workshop; July 21-23, at National University of Singapore

Call for Papers

Spaces of Technoscience Workshop

Dates: July 21-23, 2014

Venue: National University of Singapore

The Science, Technology, and, Society cluster and the Department of Southeast Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, invites interested scholars to submit abstracts for an inter-disciplinary workshop entitled “Spaces of Technoscience,” to be held in Singapore.

Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and sent to Kindly also include a short resume and mention of notable publications, along with contact information. The proposed paper should be based on original work, written for this workshop, and not published or committed elsewhere. We encourage you to identify the particular theme your paper speaks to (see below), although we are also open to considering papers on aspects of technoscience and space that are not identified in the project statement.

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer travel or other financial support, however, partial funding for local expenses for scholars based in developing countries will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Deadline for submitting abstracts: March 1, 2014.
  • Successful candidates will be notified by March 15, 2014.
  • Final Papers will be due on July 1, 2014

Project Description: The need to focus on “Spaces of Technsocience” begins from the recognition that much of contemporary technoscience can no longer be contained by analysis at the national scale. From flows of expertise and movements of bodies to the mutations of labour, value, instruments, and artifacts, technoscience is increasingly determined by transnational horizons. The inertial weight of the national scale, however, has not disappeared from our concepts, scholarship, or policy recommendations, and this tension opens up a productive point of departure for this workshop.

“Spaces of Technoscience” thereby offers STS scholars the opportunity to explore technosciences in one location or many, through networks and across different scales of theory, action, and struggle. In the process, it also offers the possibility of side-stepping intellectual aporias that have plagued STS for too long, namely, the varieties of cultural essentialisms that typify “East v. West” distinctions, familiar markers of difference that are nonetheless reliant on shallow and reified concepts of space. For convenience, we find it useful to break down the idea of “Spaces” as follows.

  • New Sites: Technosciences always come from somewhere. While the scientific laboratory has long been privileged as a site for specialized knowledge production, the conceptual turn to technoscience, rather than Science or Technology, has upset the lab’s analytic and intellectual centrality. First, the boundaries around laboratories were disassembled and its material and political allies and adversaries exposed. We now appreciate that there are important differences between scientific and corporate labs, for example, but also that meaningful technoscientific knowledge can emerge from places as different as zoos and science parks. Museums, military bases, buildings, clinics, asylums, and farms have all been or become sites of technoscientific activity. Moreover, rather than single sites, we may often be called to examine networks that include a variety of nodes, from factories and power stations to mines and hospitals. Networks in turn are rarely static, or for that matter, permanent. The dynamism of technoscientific transformations requires attention to the passages, circulations, and immobilities that characterize networks, that lead to intersections between them, and that distinguish one technoscientific chain of production and dissemination from another.
  • New Geographies: An entirely different set of spatial coordinates is mapped by technoscientific activity seen through the lens of geopolitics. Some of these connections go back centuries, others are ongoing negotiations between places separated by boundaries of power and wealth. The close linkages between colonial medicine and metropolitan public health institutions, or, the indispensability of tropical landscapes for the creation of biomedical knowledge and commercial value mediated through botanical gardens, are well known examples of how colonial technoscience brought far-flung locations into a common space of uneven circulation and unequal exchange. Imperial divisions of the world have given way to joinings and separations produced by national and transnational capitalisms, within and across state borders. Nowadays, not all net value flows from South to North. Complex new geographies of technoscience are shaping an unequal world along fault lines both old and new. The remarkable expansion of clinical drug trial infrastructures in poor countries and the growth of international medical tourism, are, in the own way, are examples of how structural differences in political economy maps technoscientific chains onto discrete spatial locations.
  • New Bodies, New Publics: With new geographies and new sites of technoscience comes the interpellation of new publics. Some have been tacitly invoked already: “reserve armies” of potential mothers, organ donors, and clinical drug recipients joined by battalions of young and globally mobile skilled professionals, typified by IT “techno-coolies.” Some publics emerge due to their locations: villagers and fisherfolk who live near sites of radioactivity and nuclear power stations, migrant workers who are denied access to the technology parks they build, forest dwellers who find themselves blocked from access to forest produce in order to allow “wild” animals to live more easily in their “natural” habitat, urban dwellers who find themselves subject to new public health concerns due to the increased mobility of viruses that come from far away. Other publics have emerged through contestation. The feminist activists who successfully mobilized to force the end of amniocentesis devices being used to identify female fetuses and the villagers who organized themselves in a campaign that led to the national Right to Information in India are both examples of publics forged in techno-struggle. A different set of technoscientific relations are situated in and through the bodies of subjects. These may range from embodied resistances to antibiotic drugs to mass inoculation campaigns and the systematic mapping of populations to locate genomic value, “bio-capital.” Individual bodies as well as biopolitical “populations,” in other words, constitute publics interpellated by technoscience. Worries over regulation, citizenship, participation, consent, traveling diseases, and biomedical surveillance constitute the political counterpoint to proliferating spaces of technoscience, even as it is increasingly clear that conventional sites and modes of governmentality may no longer be adequate to monitor or cope with them.

Workshop Organizer: Associate Professor Itty Abraham

Further Details:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Hindu article "Paralysis in science policies" by V. V. Krishna

Paralysis in science policies
V. V. Krishna
The Hindu, February 7, 2014

Neglect of research in higher education has led to very low research intensity. Ninety per cent of our universities end up as teaching institutes where research is given a low priority for lack of funds

In the last few years, the government has announced a number of policies in science and technology which include bills on patents, specialised innovation universities and regulatory measures. These are supposed to power India’s growth engine via science and technology and, at the same time, enable the country to keep pace with the comity of nations. Unfortunately, the Manmohan Singh government’s policy paralysis is not just confined to the social and economic sectors, but also manifests itself quite prominently across various segments of science and technology institutions including research in universities. The failure of the government in this area stems from poor governance mechanisms, as from low priority accorded to science and technology in the overall budget.

Falling behind R&D
Ever since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power, Dr. Singh has promised to increase the gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD). He committed two per cent of GDP and reiterated it every year since 2007 at the annual session of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). In the last nine years, Indian GERD to GDP either stagnated at 0.9 per cent or even relatively declined adjusted to inflation; 58 per cent of GERD is consumed by the strategic sectors (atomic energy, defence and space research) and about 29 per cent is met by the private sector. So, what is left for civilian R&D, spanning a dozen or so science agencies, is rather pathetic. Look at what is happening in Asia! The Chinese GERD witnessed a dramatic increase from one per cent to 1.84 per cent of GDP in the last decade. In 2012, Japan spent 3.26 per cent, South Korea 3.74 per cent, and Singapore 2.8 per cent. After a decade, the government announced a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013 or STIP 2013. The scientific community and the nation were left disappointed as the government had failed to fulfil its earlier commitment. There has been no commitment to increase public R&D. The government will only match the private R&D investment to bring it to the level of two per cent of GDP. When is this going to happen?

Realistic goals?
The new policy envisages “positioning India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020,” increasing the number of full-time research and development personnel by two-thirds within five years, and increasing publications from the current 3.5 per cent of global share to around seven per cent by 2020. Not only this, the policy aims at increasing the publication record in the world’s top one per cent of journals fourfold. India has already fallen behind China and emerging economies on these indicators. For instance, India produced three times the science output of China in the 1990s with a comparable GERD. Today, China has overtaken India by more than three times. It is the same in the case of patents. Why have we fallen behind so much? This is not unrelated to massive R&D investments by China in the last decade. The continuing policy paralysis in science and technology is visible across various segments of S&T. Even after the Fukushima disaster, Dr. Singh has been relentlessly batting for new nuclear plants costing several billions of dollars in the coming decade. The newly inaugurated plant complex at Gorakhpur, Haryana, is estimated at Rs.23,502 crore. According to research studies, just 25 per cent of the future nuclear budget for renewable energy sources (wind, solar, biomass etc) will generate almost double the energy planned in a more sustainable manner. Ninety per cent of water in India is consumed by agriculture, yet we have no inclusive energy-water policy. The list runs across several sub-sectors. Let us look at two of them.
R&D in higher education has been the prime victim of policy paralysis. There are over 600 universities and 30,000 colleges with a GERD of around 18. Though universities contributed 52 per cent of the total national research publication output in the last decade, they were allocated a dismal 4.1 per cent of GERD. In fact, this has been the case for six decades since independence. Universities in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 25 countries accounted for 20 per cent and Japanese universities accounted for around 15 per cent of GERD in the last decade. Even Chinese universities increased their share of GERD from five per cent in the 1990s to 12 per cent currently. The neglect of research in higher education has led to very low research intensity; 90 per cent of our universities end up as teaching institutes where research is given a low priority for lack of funds. Policy measures to increase research intensity in universities and nurture them to attain world-class standards in China, South Korea, Singapore and Japan were a part of their respective national innovation strategies since the 1990s. Such policies enabled two to six universities in these countries to be listed in the World’s Top 100 University Rankings in recent years. India could not register even one. Just four to five universities figure in the list of 400 or 500. STIP 2013 is silent on strengthening research in higher education. Ninety per cent of the National Knowledge Commission’s recommendations remain unimplemented as much as the proposal to create 14 innovation universities. Until the higher education sector is given its due importance in the national innovation system and allocated at least 10 per cent of GERD, it will continue to remain sub-critical at the national level and we will fall behind our Asian neighbours.

After the President of India declared 2010–2020 the “Decade of Innovation,” STIP 2013 proposed new schemes such as the “Risky Idea Fund” and “Small Idea Small Money.” The government launched the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF) under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, with the government chipping in with just two per cent of the budget. But private partners have hardly evinced any enthusiasm to invest in this scheme. Is the government serious? The policy paralysis in science and technology innovation can be seen from the dismal amount of money allocated to a dozen innovation schemes under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). Out of the total budget of Rs.2,998 crore given to the DSIR in 2011, only Rs.155 crore went to innovation schemes. And, of the Rs.2,349 crore given to the DST in 2012, only Rs.57 crore went to innovation schemes.
With 90 per cent of Indian labour in the informal sector and faced with dwindling fortunes of rural agricultural activity, millions will migrate from the rural to urban areas in the coming decade. The UPA government launched a number of schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme; Bharat Nirman; Indira Awaas Yojna; Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission; Health Mission, among others. Besides problems underlying their governance and implementation, which are well known, they lack an institutional framework to infuse employment potential with skills, training and grass-root innovation. There is hardly any serious policy perspective or thinking to create institutional avenues for vocational training to infuse skills to labour in the informal sector. There are about 7,500 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) with the overall intake capacity of 75,000. With the growing demand for technicians and an expanding informal sector, one can imagine the task ahead. Long-term solutions to problems here are so complex and are becoming even more interconnected. We have so far failed to evolve any strategy to connect with these schemes at the “bottom of the pyramid.” IIIF is a good scheme if it gets off the ground with a full budget. In any case, such schemes managed by corporate fund managers are relevant more at the “middle of the pyramid” and not the “bottom.” We urgently need to build and strengthen intermediary institutions to forge linkages between formal and informal institutional structures. It is time the government wakes up to addressing the impending S&T policy paralysis before it is too late.

(V.V. Krishna is professor in science policy, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, School of Social Sciences, JNU, Delhi.)


Commonwealth Summer School 2014: Global Food Security: Can We Feed a Growing World? 17-24 August 2014; Malaysia

Commonwealth Summer School 2014: The Fourth ACU Commonwealth Summer School
Theme:: Global Food Security: Can We Feed a Growing World?
Sunday 17 - Sunday 24 August 2014
University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia

The Commonwealth Summer School was instigated by the ACU in 2011. It aims to provide a forum to bring together high quality students from every corner of the Commonwealth to discuss interdisciplinary issues of global importance.
A key element of the School is its desire to mix local/regional students with those who may have never  had the opportunity to leave their own regions.
The inaugural School was held at the University of Buea, Cameroon, in July 2011 followed by the 2012 School hosted by the University of Botswana and in 2013, the ACU hosted the School in United Kingdom to coincide with the our Centenary.

About Theme
The world’s population is predicted to hit 9 billion by 2050, and the UN estimates that food production will have to increase by 70% to meet the growth in demand. Issues pertaining to feeding the world’s ever expanding population will be at the heart of the 4th annual ACU Commonwealth Summer School’s programme, designed to take a multidisciplinary look at one of the major issues of our time.
Top speakers and facilitators will help to frame the key issues and challenges allowing participants to learn, interact and work across countries, regions and disciplines to build international research connections.
Participants will journey through various aspects of food production, looking closely at distribution, environmental management, migration, biotechnology, farm management, supply chains, nutrition and health policy in the process.
Delegates will have the opportunity to observe the reality of food management, experience first-hand the food and supply chain, and immerse themselves in the challenges of food production. Through a series of workshops, group work and field-based learning, we will look at how food gets from farm to fork.

Who can attend?
Applicants should be engaged in a course of study at an ACU member university; but applications may be made by applicants from non-member Commonwealth universities. At the time of application, he/she must either be studying for a postgraduate degree (full- or part- time) or in the final year of an undergraduate degree, with the expectation of moving to postgraduate study on completion.
Priority will be given to students from member institutions who have not had the opportunity to travel outside their home region. Bursaries available.

Application Form:
PLEASE NOTE: Applications should be received by 11 April 2014. Applications received after the closing date will not be considered. Successful applicants will be notified by end May 2014.

Further Details:

SEMINAR Magazine #654: Theme: State of Science: a symposium on the relationship between science, knowledge and democracy


February 2014

State of Science: a symposium on the relationship between science, knowledge and democracy


  • The Problem/ posed by Dhruv Raina, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  • Science, Nationalism and the State/ Benjamin Zachariah, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, University of Heidlherg
  • The Public Life of Expertise/ Shiju Sam Varughese, Centre for Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar
  • Science, State and the Public/ Biswanath Dash, Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  • The Realm of Commodified Technoscience/ Sambit Mallick, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
  • Knowledge and Practice/ Milind Sohoni, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  • Technology for Rural Industrialization/ D. Raghunandan, Centre for Technology and Development, Delhi and Dehradun
  • Revisiting Science's Social Contract/ C. Shambu Prasad, Professor, Rural Management and Development, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar
  • Shifting Patterns of Research Funding/ Saumen Chattopadhyay, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  • Beyond Supply Driven Science/ Rajeswari S. Raina, National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies, Delhi
  • Books Reviewed by Om Prasad and A.R. Vasavi
  • Further Reading :: A select and relevant bibliography compiled by Shiju Sam Varughese, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinager


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