Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies


Genesis of the Centre:

Prior to 1996, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (TISS) had an exclusive Centre known as “Unit for Research and Consultancy in Social Policy and Social Welfare Administration” (USPSWA). Its primary objective was to undertake research on issues pertaining to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This Centre offered an optional course “Development and Welfare Services for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes” to the second year M.A. Social Work students. However, to give exclusive importance to research on issues of such communities, the USPSWA was replaced by a new “Centre for Dalit and Tribal Studies” (CDATS) as part of TISS' major restructuring initiatives in 2006. The Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies (CSSEIP), one of the ambitious schemes of the University Grants Commission (UGC) under its X Plan, came into existence at TISS in March 2007 (letter No. F. 3-8/2007(SCT), dated February 23, 2007). Since the vision and mission of CDATS were more or less similar to that of the CSSEIP, the two Centres were merged into one, and the Centre is now known as CSSEIP. The merger has strengthened the Centre as it resulted in: a) increase in the faculty strength, and b) diversity in faculty members' disciplinary orientation.

Perspective and Objectives of CSSEIP

The need for establishing CSSEIP in various Universities and Colleges in India including TISS and also the perspective and objectives of these Centres have been well articulated in a UGC document on Higher Education in India: Strategies and Schemes during Eleventh Plan Period (2007-2012) for Universities and Colleges in the following words: “Social exclusion not only generates tension, violence and disruption but also perpetuates inequality and deprivation in Society. In India, certain communities such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and religious minorities experience systemic exclusion in the matter of taking advantages of development. Social Exclusion is a complex and multidimensional concept having social, cultural, political and economic ramifications. The consequences of macro economic policies such as poverty, unemployment and involuntary migration exclude the victims from economic, cultural and political activities”.

The Centre Objectives:

According to the UGC, the Centre is mandated to pursue the following objectives:

  1. Conceptualize discrimination, exclusi on and inclusion based on caste/ethnicity and religion.
  2. Develop understanding of the nature and dynamics of discrimination and exclusion.
  3. Contextualize and problematizing discrimination, exclusion and inclusion.
  4. Develop an understanding of discrimination at an empirical level.
  5. Formulate policies for protecting the rights of these groups and eradicating the problem of exclusion and discrimination.

Academic Activities:

The UGC has also expressed in the same document the need for examining issues of social exclusion through research as follows: “The study of such hegemonic structures is all the more important in the Indian context where institutional inequality and discrimination have been a pervasive feature of our society. The institutions of higher learning need to address this issue. The primary space where exclusion can be studied, understood and first transcended are our universities which can and must act as a beacon for society. The UGC has therefore decided to support research on the issues of social exclusion which has the theoretical as well as policy importance”.

Academic activities of the Centre:

The type of intellectual activities that the CSEIP is expected to engage in include:

  1. Teaching courses at the M.A. and M.Phil levels, leading eventually to full-fledged M.Phil/Ph.D. and even M.A. programmes in Social Exclusion and Social Justice Studies;
  2. Undertaking M.Phil and Ph.D. supervision;
  3. Collecting information on Social Exclusion and building up a data base;
  4. Carrying out detailed analysis based on the socio-economic data generated by government agencies;
  5. Organizing regular conferences, seminars and symposium on the theme of Social Exclusion;
  6. Publishing regularly the research findings of the Faculty and students;
  7. Organizing public lectures on the subject by eminent scholars;
  8. Reaching out to scholars, especially young scholars, in other universities and colleges through an active programme of inviting Visiting Faculty;
  9. Establishing links with Civil Society Organizations engaged in combating Social Exclusion; 10. Short-term Orientation courses for political leaders, Parliamentarians, government officials, trade unionists and media personalities.

Centre's faculty strength:

As on February 2016, the CSSEIP has a total of 8 faculty members including three Professors, two Associate Professors, and three Assistant Professors, representing diverse social science background. The Centre also has one Research Associate and one Research Assistant to support its research activities. Given its ad-hoc status, the Centre's performance is appraised every five year and its tenure is extended accordingly.

Teaching:

The CSSEIP in its initial year taught four courses of two credit each under a broad theme or Concentration called “Diversity, Exclusion and Development of the Marginalized” introduced for the M.A. (Development Studies) programme in 2006 by CDATS, The four course were:

  1. Understanding the Marginalized,
  2. Diversity, Exclusion and State’s Development Interventions,
  3. Globalization and Development of the Marginalized, and
  4. Dealing with Development Impact: Responses and Strategies.

However, the teaching of these courses had to be dropped since the very idea of teaching course under the Concentration Model was dropped by TISS soon. In its place the Centre introduced a 4 credit course called “Social Exclusion and social Justice: Theories and Processes”. Owing to the relevance and popularity of this course students from other Centres also audited this course. This course was made open to M.Phil. scholars also as an optional course.

The CSSEIP faculty members' engagement in teaching of courses of other Centres continue till date. Currently all faculty members are involved in teaching various courses introduced as part of its own M.Phil/Ph.D. programme.

M. Phil. - Ph.D. Programme:

In the year 2014, the CSSEIP introduced an “Integrated M.Phil-Ph.D. Programme in Inclusive Development and Social Justice”. The programme is aimed at enabling the selected scholars to explore and understand, through taught courses, research and other possible modes:

  1. how certain social and Constitutional categories of people face discrimination, marginalization, social exclusion and even brutal violence for being members of certain castes, tribes and religious minorities, and the implications of such exclusions and marginalization to the concept of social justice, citizenship and nationhood or fraternity; and
  2. how their being member of certain castes or religious communities or tribes limit or even prevent their scope of accessing the benefits of development. And the programme is also aimed at exposing the scholars on wide-ranging ideologies and perspectives, and literature drawn from various social sciences and humanities disciplines.

Ten students were admitted to the Centre's first ever M.Phil-Ph.D. programme for 2014-16 batch as per the mandate of the Academic Council. Among the 10 students admitted to its second batch of 2015-17 owing to some unavoidable circumstance. More detail regarding its M.Phil/Ph.D. programme could be accessed from programme brochure.

Centre's academic contributions since 2007:

Since its inception in 2007, the Centre has published, till 2011, 5 books, 44 articles (33 in Journals and 11 in edited books), 4 working papers, and 4 book reviews. The books written by faculty members in the Centre include the following:

  1. Laws for Dalit Rights and Dignity: Experiences and Responses from Tamil Nadu, (2007) Jaipur: Rawat; by A. Ramaiah.
  2. Ethnography of Denotified Tribe: The Laman Banjara, (2010), New Delhi: Mittal Publication; by J.J. Roy Burman
  3. Gujarat Unknown: Hindu Muslim Syncretism and Humanistic Forays (2008), New Delhi: Mittal Publications; by J.J. Roy Burman.
  4. Gender and Governance in Rural Services: Insights from India, Ghana and Ethiopia, (Agriculture and Rural Development Series), World Bank and International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, 2009; by Madhushree Sekher (Co-author).
  5. Quest for Identity, Autonomy and Development: The contemporary trends of Ethnic and Tribal Assertion in Assam (2010), Akansha Publishing House, Delhi; (in 2 Volumes); by C.J. Sonowal (Ed.).

Major Research studies undertaken:

  1. Study of Socioeconomic, Educational and Cultural Development of Matang Samaj in Maharashtra, (2008); funded by Government of Maharashtra; study by A. Ramaiah and Shailesh Darokar.
  2. Impact of OBC Reservation Policy in Higher Education in India, (2009); funded by National Academy of Sciences; study by Sai Thakur and Others.
  3. Institutional Reforms and Public Service Delivery in Indian Cities (2010), funded by Ford foundation and IIM, Ahmadabad; study by Madhushree Sekher and Others.
  4. Midterm Appraisal of the 11th Plan of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (2010), funded by Planning Commission, Government of India; study by Sai Thakur and Others.

Ongoing research studies:

  1. Efficacy of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) in Madhya Pradesh, (since March 2009), Funded by TISS; study by J.J. Roy Burman.
  2. Ethnography of a Nomadic Tribe in Maharashtra (since March 2004), funded by TISS, Mumbai; study by J.J. Roy Burman.
  3. Institutions for food Security: Global Lessons from Rural India (March 2010), funded by Australian Research Council (RAC); study by Madhushree Sekher.
  4. Gender and Governance in Rural Services (since May 2008), funded by World Bank; study by Madhushree Sekher.
  5. Social Analysis of Joint Forest Management and Forest Development Agency Projects: A Study in Maharashtra (since April 2007), funded by TISS, Mumbai; study by C.J. Sonowal.
  6. Administration of forest villages and tribal Situation: A Study in Assam (since August 2008), funded by TISS, Mumbai; study by C.J. Sonowal.

Seminar, Workshops and Training programme organized:

  1. Two-day seminar on Atrocities on Dalits in Maharashtra: Emerging Issues and challenges (Sept, 28-29/2007); organised by A. Ramaiah.
  2. Two-day national seminar on Interrogating Caste, Social Exclusion and Social Justice: Theoretical, Ideological and experiential discourses , (October 21-22/2008); organised by A. Ramaiah
  3. One-day India-Australia research dialogue (Nov, 20-21, 2009), organised by Madhushree Sekher.
  4. Two-day seminar on Tribal situation in Maharashtra (March, 22-23, 2010) Organised by J.J. Roy Burman.
  5. Dalit Movement in Maharashtra: Issues, Challenges and Vision for the future, (December 3-4, 2010), organised by A. Ramaiah.
  6. Five-day Orientation programme on Human Development (April 25-29, 2011), Organised by Rohit Mutatkar.
  7. One-day Workshop on “Implementation of PCR & POA Acts in Mumbai Division” (June 26, 2011), jointly organized by Government of Maharashtra, Social Justice & Special Assistance Department. and CSSEIP, organised by A. Ramaiah and Shaileshkumar Darokar.