The Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) is an autonomous, non-profit research organization located in north-west India. It works from an inclusive perspective, for an equitable socio-economic transformation to build a humane and just society. The core areas for research explorations have evolved in consonance with area specific challenges and specialisation of research leadership. The first concern continues to be re-examination of the theoretical underpinning of varied empirical explanations for knowledge synthesis and the second relates to its transfer for interventions.
It is engaged in social research with implications for change in the fields of governance, economic development, peace, conflict resolution and policing, education and gender justice. By serving as a source of knowledge and innovation in these areas for government officials, activists and citizens it works to shape public policy, build institutions and citizens capacities and improve delivery of justice. The main thrust is to undertake research in association with stakeholders for advancing knowledge and interventions that fit local needs. It is committed to connecting local needs and knowledge with global standards of human rights and equity.
The Institute for Development and Communication has evolved from the specialisations of its founding members. They were growing social scientists, committed to generating knowledge to harness the potential of their region and address the special needs of the society of their origins. Rooted in the social milieu, the organisation could establish forward and backward linkages to knowledge generation, stakeholder support and policymakers in the North-Western India particularly state of Punjab. The engagement with social and economic issues confronting the region was tapered by the interest of the researchers which led to a programmatic thrust with the focus on process rather than on completion of projects. Continuous efforts are going on to consolidate this approach to build systematic interventions in a multi-pronged manner, by combining resources from local initiatives and to build upon the excellent outreach and relation with civil society, political leadership, vernacular and national media.
IDC has built partnerships that have provided support and sustenance across projects, research areas and overtime. The focus continues to be to construct knowledge from below. Issues raised at the grassroots level are empirically verified and shared across stakeholders to consolidate in policy initiatives. This has been possible with panning organisation of resources and research capacities to include a Governing body reflecting leadership across academic, policy planning, civil society and cultural traditions. Academic partnerships and research guidance from an internal committee have contributed to relevant methodology, multi disciplinary outlook and policy designed contributions. These have helped to evolve human resources to transfer knowledge into frameworks, strategy, mechanisms and tools for intervening for social development. IDC has also capable human resource to impart training methodologies for grassroot functionaries. A 10,000 plus library supports the research forays.
IDC is committed to strengthen organisational capacity, transparency and exchange within its organisation. The Institute support to leadership development has led the governing body to allocate available funds to each research director to develop research initiatives with full autonomy, since 2007. It has also formalised interface from two or more units to promote multi-disciplinary perspectives in an effort to provide strong policy packages. The programme on Justice and Democratic Governance bridges Policing and Gender Units while the North-Western Regional Development Studies Unit encompasses all the specialisations in the organisation. Research methods courses have been organised, for research staff and interns placed in the organisation. There is a regular flow of interns, providing them exposure to researchable issues methods and data collection to link knowledge with practical ways for social change. It remains an unfulfilled effort to integrate performance ratings with project outputs and make financial systems friendly to researchers review for a cost-benefit analysis.
PRODUCTION AND DISSEMINATION OF SYNTHESISED KNOWLEDGE THROUGH ACADEMIC EXCHANGE
IDC has established linkages, both formal and informal with universities and academic initiatives in the region and globally. These partnerships have facilitated to build capacity on research by holding joint courses for researchers’ skill development, particularly on research methods and culturally-sensitive methodologies and training to shape research outputs for policy relevant use. And these partnerships have nurtured forums for linking research with viable policy initiatives and lead in organising research networks to strengthen their outputs to policy relevant products.
IDC has evolved a consortium with regional academic institutions to undertake an assessment of research output in areas of common research. Based on a cost benefit analysis, shape to future investments to policy making can be strengthened. The idea is to pool in resources to identify researchable issues, challenges faced and share resources of networks, policy inlets and publications. IDC has entered into formal arrangements with universities to encourage internship training and develop a curriculum for short and medium term internship capacity-building for meaningful contribution to social policy.
The building of causality analysis within and beyond specific areas of research requires both theoretical and methodological inputs from expertise in borderline disciplines, engagement with public policy and model testing. It is these expectations from strategic partnerships that help IDC to infuse different viewpoints and capacities that lead to production of synthesised knowledge, shaping of policy and involving the civil society as stakeholders.
IDC draws on three types of strategic partnerships. One pertains to academic partnerships and exchange which are at the global, regional and local levels. The second draws on civil society organisations that are more regional and national in perspective and location, including NGOs, media and activists. The third refer to policymakers at national and local levels. Governance is a state function and IDC’s approach is to strengthen institutional mechanisms to make them responsive to the rights of citizens,’ particularly those on the margins.
In the north-western region, IDC has a strong network with Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster (CRIKC) institutions, Panjab University, Chandigarh and Chandigarh University, Mohali and grassroots organisations who have partnered in research activities.
Globally, it has entered into formal arrangement with the Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan and University College, Stockholm, Sweden to:
- 1. Strengthen the exchange of, and communication between, research institutions regarding research outcomes and research activities.
- 2. To exchange academic materials and share periodicals published by research activities, the research institutions.
- 3. To collaborate on research projects of mutual interest.
The Government of India Training Orientation and Research Centre located in IDC, to build teachers’ capacities provides a platform to share research findings and receive a feedback which is reworked into training capsules.
IDC’s Governance Programme seeks to improve the welfare of the disadvantaged and deprived sections. IDC’s work has highlighted that the existing system of governance faces challenges in the provision of equal access to social programmes and economic packages on the basis of caste, gender and class. Future programmes would like to strengthen processes, procedures and the design of public services to provide dignified and equal access of state services to the disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society.
The focus of this unit is cutting edge transactions, which act as an enabling condition for synergistic view of the demand and supply side of governance study. Focus on cutting edge transactions includes cost of transactions as well as the cultural aspect of service-delivery issues. Considering the uniformly structured roles and institutions governing the conduct of public officials, such micro studies would have relevance for good governance across the board and hopefully facilitate identification of convergence or otherwise in respect of such transactions across different sectors and areas of public governance and this expand the scope of application of best practices beyond sector perspectives.
The Peace, Conflict Resolution and Policing Unit is functioning within a broad context of the changed character of nation-states, the consolidation of democracy, questions of migration throughout the region, security sector reforms with special reference to policing, post-conflict management and reintegration. The purpose of this unit is to present a strong case for the importance of a regional perspective and to illustrate that the conflicts in South Asia are interconnected. The main focus of peace and conflict resolution studies is to analyse conflict, peace and reconstruction. And also creation of research partnerships for evidence-based research as an input to context specific informed decision by the actors or parties to conflict and enhance civil society’s ability to hold accountable these actors for their actions. Peace building, to this end, is one of the best examples of how bottom-up and top-down approaches go together.
The focus of police reforms programme is three-fold: (a) institutionalisation of community-oriented reforms with major thrust on involvement of community particularly to protect the rights of vulnerable sections; (b) Formulation of programmes and undertaking activities for improving the delivery of police services to the people. IDC was in lead for the conceptualisation and implementation of CPRCs (Community Policing Resource Centres) in collaboration with human rights groups, NGOs and Punjab Police. It also initiated a process of police stations reforms through its programme of Police Stations Visitors Week in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, Assam, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh launched in the year 2006; (c) multi-cultural thrust with an inclusive approach forms an integral part of its justice and policing programme with special focus on gender and scheduled castes rights.
IDC has also been involved in developing a Methodology for Criminal Justice System in India. It has contributed a manual on Criminal Justice System Index published in 2008. IDC is part of a global core group working on developing justice index.
Addressing Gender justice to combat Forms of Violence Against Women (VAW) – Does the globally accepted human rights approach impact on gender with unequal outcomes in different cultural contexts, social placements and levels of embodied gender justice? It is in this context that IDC explorations have located culture specific differentiations and forms of VAW in the discourse on human rights and distributive justice to guide gender policy. [Punjab State Policy on Women 1996; Perspective Plan on Female Deselection (Punjab); training materials on gender justice (Central Government)]. Another of its thrusts have been to capture the relevance of social capital in shaping gender practices and its engagement with state policy to promote or restrict the absorption of a rights based agenda. The scope has been extended to include the diaspora to uncover the social dynamics of transnational gender constructs with implications for cultural predispositions to gender injustice.
Non-Farm Sector and its Linkages with Economic Growth and Development – Non-farm sector plays an important role in economic development both in rural and urban areas and its impact on development vary depending upon its location, backward and forward linkages and size. India achieved its objectives of food security after Green Revolution and in order to further grow it has to develop both rural and urban non-farm sector. In rural areas, the non-farm sector strongly rely on raw material produced from agriculture sector and surplus labour. This, therefore, bring into light the diversification issue in agriculture to horticulture, cereals and cotton etc. IDC makes continuous efforts to study close relationship between development and production change in occupational structure from agriculture to industry and services sector within and across sectors.
A number of studies have been conducted on issues like measurement of rural poverty, rural debt, pattern of income distribution, profitability of agriculture, food security, form and extent of subsidies, diversification of economy. The faculty of the unit also acts as an informal think tank providing inputs to various government departments for formulating economic and social policies. In the recent past, the unit has completed and published studies on Agro-Industry development in India, Rural Debt in Punjab, Commercial Dairy Farming in Punjab and Diversification of cropping pattern in Punjab etc. The focus of this unit is mainly North Western region of India i.e. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Another focus of this unit is measuring the extent and reach of social security and safety nets. A number of studies have been undertaken on issues like measurement of evaluation of primary health-care system, primary education system, community health evaluation including infant and child mortality, sanitation, AIDS, immunisation and family planning.
Both macro and micro level evaluations have been conducted by using innovative methodological tools, participatory qualitative methods, neighbourhood analysis, walkthroughs, multi-cluster indicatory survey, etc.
It is expected that the studies in this field will suggest measures that can ensure productivity, equity and sustainability. These will include suggesting policy initiatives, defining role of the Governments, stakeholders i.e. labour and industrialists and strategies to integrate science and technology innovations to make economic activity globally competitive.
IDC INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME
The internship programme has been launched to provide opportunity to the emerging young scholars to familiarise with multi-disciplinary dimensions of a social phenomena. And also build their capacity to appreciate pluralities and inculcate diversity sensitivity.
There are more than 10,000 titles in the Library.
- •Designed and developed in modules to take care of complete functionality required for automating libraries. All modules support data entry in Unicode and thus support all Indic scripts, also compatible to Z 39.50 which makes the retrieval easier.
- •Organised search of reading material from IDC portal.
- •Theme wise retrieval of information other than the general Author and title search.
- •An interactive query builder.
To help in research the following facilities are provided by the IDC library.
- • IDC Reports: In-house published titles are available. Academic material produced in interactions organised.
- • DELNET services for the research purpose of IDC staff
- • Movies are kept for the reference services depicting the culture and language of the region.
- • Documentation: Dissemination and management of the newspaper clippings.
- • Online resources includes: Contemporary voice of Dalits, co-operation and conflict, Indian Historical Review, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Race & Class, Studies in History, Daedalus, Development and change, Asian Journal of Women’s studies, Politics and Gender, Signs, India Review and Journal of south Asian studies, Economic and political Weekly.
- • Magzter Online: Database of leading magazines available.
- • Inter Library Loan: Also subscribed to DELNET online database for the researchers.
- • New collection Development: The collection is ever growing as over 300 titles on an average are added.
Improving Access to the users.
- • IDC is the member of knowledge cluster/hub as Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster (CRIKC) which provides Sharing of library resources, Lecture notification amongst different institutions, Joint Ph.D. programs including common courses etc.
- • As an approved Research Centre of Panjab University, Chandigarh and Chandigarh Universty Mohali, IDC researchers can use Panjab University library resources and other academic facilities.