Professor S K Goyal, founder of ISID, who passed away on February 4, 2021, leaves behind a rich legacy in development research and institution-building. Prof Goyal was a rare combination of an academic actively involved in policymaking. His intellectual journey spanned a wide range of themes including industrial and trade policies, planning, public sector, monopolies, foreign capital, and corporate governance. Prof Goyal and his colleagues prepared a report on the issues relating to bank nationalisation in India which laid the foundation for the historic bank nationalisation in 1969. As Honorary Economic Adviser of the Industrial Licensing Policy Inquiry Committee (1967–69) he realised the fact that the statistical system of the day was not geared to meet the requirements of a planned and regulated economy. He assembled a group of young scholars at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) where he was a Professor of Economic Administration. Thus the Corporate Studies Group (CSG) was born. He inspired the scholars at the CSG and impressed upon the need to undertake empirical research with clear policy connotations. Towards this end, he pioneered the Corporate Information System. Under his leadership, the CSG came out with widely noted studies like the Functioning of the Industrial Licensing System, Small Scale Sector, and the Big Business.
Prof Goyal realised the need for a specialised research centre focusing to build on the activities of the CSG. This resulted in the formation of ISID in October 1986 with the formal recommendation of the ICSSR review committee. ISID came under the fold of ICSSR in 1987–88. He endured many uncertainties and extreme difficulties in making his dream of creating a truly autonomous policy research institute, free from the influences of various interest groups that culminated in the ISID moving to its own campus in Vasant Kunj Institutional Area in New Delhi in 2006. Along with institution building, Prof Goyal made strenuous efforts to unravel the phenomenon of MNCs and the need to take a pragmatic rather than dogmatic view of their contributions, by host developing countries.
We owe it to Prof Goyal to build ISID into a real centre of excellence on industrial development that he envisioned.