The Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID) observed its Foundation Day today, Thursday, 1st May 2008, at the ISID campus in Vasant Kunj. The Hon’ble Vice-President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari was the Chief Guest at the function. A large number of guests – academics, bureaucrats, journalists, etc. – graced the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Ansari emphasized the important role that research institutions like the ISID have in contributing to informed debates on critical issues facing the nation in its battle against poverty and backwardness, and in closing the research gap between countries like India and the developed countries. Only then, he said, would we be able to make a genuine transition to a “knowledge society”.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the ISID Chairman Prof. Arjun Sengupta (Member of Parliament and Chairman, National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized and Informal Sector), briefly recounted the history of the ISID and identified the thrust areas that the ISID had been focusing on and was diversifying into. The Vice-Chairman Prof. S.K. Goyal (the founder-Director of the ISID), also spoke on the occasion, and highlighted the vision behind the ISID, of not only facilitating research in the Institute but also of providing support to the research community at large through making available different kinds of research infrastructure. The Director of the ISID, Prof. S.R. Hashim, concluded the ceremonial proceedings with a Vote of Thanks where he also highlighted the important contributions of different individuals in brining the ISID to the point at which it is today.
The ceremonial part of the Foundation Day programme was followed by the Foundation Day Lecture which was delivered by Prof. R. Radhakrishna of the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad (formerly Director of the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Mumbai). Prof. Radhakrishna spoke on ‘Well-Being and Deprivation: Policy Issues in the Indian Context’. Some of the key points highlighted by him were:
- that there has been a sharp increase in inequalities since the mid-1990s which has held back the rate of reduction of poverty in India;
- as the incidence of income poverty is declining, it is also becoming geographically more concentrated in some backward states and more concentrated amongst certain social groups; and
- public measures on food availability and in the sphere of health have critical role to play in addressing problems of poverty and malnutrition.
Prof. Radhakrishna’s lecture generated a rich discussion amongst the participants.