14th Annual Conference of India Association of Sociation of Social Science (IASSI)
March 7-8, 2014

Annual IASS Conference
Context: The Programme Committee of IASSI in its meeting held on 14th May, 2013 has decided that the 14th Annual Conference of IASSI should be held at A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna sometime in February, 2014. The Annual Conference will be a two days' event. Besides annual Conference Eighth Tarlok Singh Memorial lecture will also be held, which is an annual event of the IASSI. We also hold our Executive Committee and General Body meetings on this occasion. The theme of the Conference decided by the Programme Committee is Regional Pattern of Indian Development with particular reference to:

1. Economic Growth and Development
2. Social Development and Social Change
3. Political Development and Governance

Concept Note for Annual Conference

Economic Growth and Development
After transfer of power from the British, India adopted a decentralised process of planning with guarded optimism, and a community development approach with mixed initiatives and the coexistence of the public and private sectors to address the challenges of reconstructing its economy, polity and society. A process of transforming the colonial agrarian structure through abolition of the zamindari system, and acquisition and redistribution of surplus land to the poor was initiated, and institutions of delivery and development were put in place. But these agrarian reforms failed to take off, accentuating disparities and inequalities. However, the rising discontent of marginalisation alongside a growing economy forced the ruling class to address development gaps at the micro-level. This was sharpened in due course by democratic pressure. Many target-specific development programmes were initiated to address intra- regional disparities through district development agencies such as the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (RSVY), Backward Regions Grant Funds (BRGF) and National Food for Work (NFW), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), in addition to many social security measures for poverty eradication. India has been growing from the status of an undeveloped to developing nation, acquiring higher capabilities in terms of food security, social overhead capital, technology, human development and overall growth. However, the benefits of growth were cornered by a small influential section of society having patronage from the polity and the challenge of disseminating the benefits of growth with distributive justice continued growing amidst widening horizontal and vertical disparities. The experiences of advanced nations of the world suggest that they could transform and shift their labour force from the primary sector to the secondary and tertiary sectors along with increasing contributions in gross domestic product (GDP). But this did not happen in developing nations like India, which perpetuated structural and intersectoral imbalances (Papola, 2005).

Indian scenario suggests that regional disparities widened under British colonial rule as investment was focused on developing an infrastructure to create markets for industrial production, to carry out raw material from India, and to maintain military control over the colonial administration. Even after independence, horizontal and vertical disparity have been concerns of development experts and policymakers, which led to the introduction of the concept of micro planning in development strategies and many initiatives to reduce disparities and inequalities. Recent studies suggest that there is little evidence of any convergence taking place among the states in India in the post-reform period.

Regional disparity in development is the cumulative manifestation of persistent and systematic alienation of certain regions from the mainstream with or without a corresponding resource constraint. Social Science debate on development has been visibly conscious of unequal regional development issues and has offered seminal theoretical and empirical contributions over the years. Contemporary development discourse however demands for a broader perspective on the issue. Accordingly, there is a strong scope and argument for analyzing regional economic exclusion, more holistically and simultaneously, as a product of strategic location, topographical features, natural resource base and traditional-cultural factors as well as in terms of associated political clout, administrative representation and inherent power relations among others. These factors interact in a complex way and must be understood individually as well as in totality. Also there is a pertinent need to identify and analyze the economic potential of relatively backward regions, rather than relying on exclusive focus on certain indicators and political manoeuvrings. Moreover, given that 'neo liberalism' and its ramifications are going to stay, at least in near future, the issue of regional disparity in economic development, needs to enter in a more productive dialogue that brings forth forward looking clues to establish the accountability of the political economy towards the citizens. Some of the critical issues that deserve attention and need to be discussed during the conference are;

What political challenges need to be dealt with to address the issues of economic disparity across and within regions? How to mainstream intra-regional disparities within developed regions/states? How can agriculture- led development and growth lead to modern and progressive socio-economic framework in backward regions? How to respond to challenges of unplanned urbanization in wake of space crisis and need for sustainability? How to reconcile development needs of backward regions with conservation requirements of traditional communities and the environment? Is development the ransom for inadequate decentralization or weak federal economy? And so on.

Social Development and Change
Social development and change has been ubiquitously present in human society. In the phase of LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation) regime the pace of development in India has been faster. This has significantly impacted socio-economic sub-structures of our social system. On the one hand these changes offered some opportunities but on the flipside it poses serious challenges, like poverty, illiteracy, health, widening gap of income inequality, exclusion of social categories and issue of distributive justice. Western media and Information technology Revolution opened new vista of cultural imperialism and accelerated the pace of consumer culture in the country. Now materialism has occupied the driving seat and non-material culture has been compromised for hedonistic considerations. State is rolling back from its social obligations and the space is occupied by the market forces with rapacity of profits which is prompted by greed. In the process vital elements of our socio-cultural structure have been implicated, be it family, values, caste, gender, marginalised social categories, etc. Now it's high time to deliberate upon changing faces of Indian social structure vis-a-vis globalisation.

Political development and governance
Political development and governance in recent years are interchangeably influencing each other so hugely that any debate on either democracy or development in a democratic set-up would hardly be of any critical value. Each step of political development is necessarily pushed forward by the considerations of economic importance to different social constituents of society. Here, the roles of political actors as well as of the public institutions become primarily very dominant. It is as relevant in the context of India as it is for any other democracies. But given the heterogeneity, diversity and plurality of the polity as well as the society of India in the back-drop of vastness of its geographical expanse it is very relevant that emphasis should be laid on its study. Such study will involve a foray into the debates of relevant contemporary issues of policy formulations and its executions in the background of institutional framework. It would also be relevant to examine how the native or national issues are interwoven with global compulsions and how to take up the challenges emerging out of it in the context of political development and governance.

Basic objectives of this seminar is to comprehend the implications of food security ordinance and sensitise the society, institutions and agencies towards preparation of its effective implementation, monitoring and reflects on strategies safeguarding poor states, society and people against negative consequences.

This annual conference will be attended by member institutions and experts from different fields for deliberations. About 220 people (70 outside state and 150 within state) are expected to participate in this conference.


Papers contributed by the participants will be published after proper review in a form of edited volume for wider dissemination.

13th Annual Conference of Economic Association of Bihar

National Convention on "Disability, Human Rights and Social Justice in India" organized by Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi in collaboration with A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies on January 15th to 18th, 2011, at ANSISS.
Prominent among those who addressed the conference included Prof. S. Sobti, Punjab University Vice- Chancellor; Prof. M Madaiya, Mysore University Vice- Chancellor; Prof. S Indumati, Dawangiri (Karnataka) University Vice- Chancellor; Prof. P K Sinha, former VC of Awadh University. These eminent educationist of the state expressed serious concern over the progressive decline in Bihar and Jharkhand. Prof. Janak Pandey, Central University of Bihar Vice- Chancellor at a panel discussion on "Problems and Prospects of higher education in Bihar and Jharkhand" pleaded for better governance of the educational institutions and stressed on transparency in their functioning. Prof. R K Kale, Gujarat Central University Vice- Chancellor; Prof. S P Singh, L N Mithila University VC said that deterioration of higher education started in the 1970s and culminated in the 1990s. Lack of general infrastructure, ever increasing onslaught on the university autonomy and undue political interference have been telling upon the quality of higher education, he said. Osmania University VC, Prof. P Tirupati Rao; JP University VC, Prof. R P Sharma; Veer Kuar Singh University VC, Prof. S P Sinha; B P Mandal University pro- VC, Prof. Arun Kumar; Magadh University VC, Prof. Arvind Kumar; BRA Bihar University VC, Prof. Rajdeo Singh; Acting VC of B R Ambedkar Central University, Lucknow, Prof. Neelmani Prasad Verma; Patna University economics teacher Prof. N K Chaudhary and Director of A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna, Prof. D M Diwakar, expressed their views on lack of qualified teachers, adequate infrastructure, sufficient fund and constraints of higher education and suggested measures for improvement.
Proceedings of the conference were conducted by the Association General Secretary Shri Anil Thakur.

Disability, Human Rights and Social Justice in India

Challenges of Education in 21st Century"
BTEA National Conference on "Challenges of Education in 21st Century" at ANSISS on January 29-30, 2011

2nd National Conference on Nai Talim

The two - day second national conference on 'Nai Talim' jointly hosted by National Council of Rural Institutes, Hyderabad; Department of Human Resource Development, Govt. of Bihar and A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna at A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna on December 1-2, 2011. A marathon deliberation on various issues circumventing the Nai Talim philosophy and its practitioners by eminent academics, principals of Nai Talim institutions, Nail Talim ideologues, activists and enthusiasts from across the country, from Gujarat to Manipur, from Punjab to Kerala.

The conference was blessed by the august presence of the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Bihar, Sri Nitish Kumar, his cabinet colleague in charge of education and Chairman of A N Sinha Institute Governing Council, Sri P. K. Shahi, Director, NCRI, Dr. S.V. Prabhat, Sri Anjani Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary to Govt. of Bihar, HRD, eminent academics, activists associated with Nai Talim institutions, students from different academia and members from media, print as well as electronics.

After the floral reception of the guests with memento, the inaugural session took off with the ceremonial release of two books, written by Sri Mansukbhai Salla and Dr. T. Karunakran respectively

(Director, ANSISS presenting Momento to Chief Minister of Bihar) (Book Release)

The inaugural session took off with the Welcome Address by Prof. D.M. Diwakar, Director, ANSISS and the co host of the conference. While welcoming the guests, Prof. Diwakar expressed his profound ecstasy at the mammoth response to the resurgence of Nai Talim after its prolonged hibernation.

To sum up, the conference examined the problems being encountered by the handful of Nai Talim institutions, listened to the success stories of a few institutions, analysed the inescapable impact of modern education on the Buniadi System and evaluated the propositions put forward and finally resolved to carry forward the consolidated agenda towards the making of a self reliant society. Bihar had been the epi centre of Nai Talim movement and given its committed polity and rich legacy, Bihar could still be the centre stage of Nai Talim resurrection.

Development, Democracy and People's Movement
ANSISS organised a one day National Seminar on Development, Democracy and People's Movement on 27th January, 2012 in which Sushri Medha Patkar, Dr D N Gautam, Dr Arvind Sinha, Professor Naval Kishore Choudhary and Professor D M Diwakar spoke as penalist followed by a lively Interaction.