Institute for Social and Economic Change



Development Convention - 2018

24th -25th April 2018


Invitation for Submission of Abstracts and Papers

Development convention started in 2001, through a joint endeavour of the southern social sciences institutes in India that are funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), as a forum for exchange of research ideas and findings of the social sciences community across the globe. It was an annual event. Each convention was organised by one of these institutes around a theme that encompassed India’s economy, polity and society. Through this forum, efforts were made to create opportunities for learning from a wide range of experiences in carrying out social sciences research, especially in the context of India. It has also proved to be a successful platform for young researchers to present their ongoing work.

The first convention was held at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) and was followed by the second convention organised by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) under the theme ‘Social Sector Development: Present Status and Future Challenges’. Subsequently, the other southern ICSSR institutes also organized the convention. Unfortunately, however, this practice discontinued after a few successful conventions.

To revive this tradition, a meeting of representatives from the southern ICSSR institutes was held at ISEC in May this year. In the meeting it was decided that this program will now be revived and ISEC would host the 2017-18 convention in April 2018.

Theme for the Convention in 2018:
India at Seventy: New Development Challenges

This year, on the 15th of August, India celebrated her 70th year of independence with much fervour. Looking back, one cannot miss the fact that over this period of seven decades the country witnessed dramatic changes in its economy, polity and society. India today is considered as an emerging economic power and the third largest in terms of its gross domestic product (purchasing power parity). From the days of import substitution with limited exports, today India is an open economy with growing external sector of trade and investment. India has also become the hub of emerging technology-oriented sectors like information and communication technology and the list of accomplishments goes on.

Establishing and nurturing democratic institutions, constitutional practices and aiming for development in a diversified regional, social and cultural environment has indeed been an achievement. But the continued deficit in a number of development indicators has also remained a concern for India. Social and economic development is not static; new challenges come up often in response to what we do. Apart from the many challenges that continue to face us since our independence, there are new challenges in several areas. While India can expect to cash in on certain demographic features of the economy like a large youth population, other factors may not be as favourable. Skilling this young population is emerging as a critical challenge as also the country’s adverse sex ratio. In spite of multi-pronged efforts by the state, industry today finds a large proportion of job-seekers lacking the skills it demands. Given the increasing use of technology and the need to improve productivity on a continuous basis in a globally competitive world, this is going to be an important problem that the country cannot afford to ignore. On the topic of technology, increasing use of digital technology and managing a digital economy is going to be another major challenge where data security and privacy issues concern many.

India today is also becoming increasingly urban but urban management is falling behind in addressing the demands of an urbanised population. This includes issues from infrastructure to environment. At a broader level, climate change is an emerging concern that the country needs to deal with in the days to come not only to ensure sustainable growth but perhaps even to avoid disaster.

Today Indian politics and society present a complex and challenging kaleidoscope. One of the important patterns to emerge in politics is the gradual rise of regional parties. Regional parties now rule in many of the states and have acted as significant partners in central government formation. However, two questions remain important in this context. Regional parties offer a wide range of diverse and often self-contained regional identities, which may prevent them from potentially developing into national parties. At the same time, as we have seen in the past, there is a potential for the emergence of a ‘third’ alternative from regional parties, with a tendency for such unified platforms to dissipate. What would be the future evolution of the political landscape?

India’s recent history has increasingly drawn attention to the dilemmas faced by states in bringing in a private sector and market-led model of economic growth, which may generate high rates of growth but may not address issues of equity and justice. How do states manage this dilemma? In addition, the changing role of political institutions also needs to be examined, particularly in a context where the judiciary appears to be moving towards more substantive views on individual freedom, and with rapidly changing modes of mobilisation through caste and community linkages.

Given such a range of challenges faced by the nation that celebrates its 70th birthday, this conference will focus on the new developmental challenges that confront India today even as the coveted development goals continue to elude us. Are we empowered by the many investments and innovations in the economy and society to meet the new challenges or are we weakened by the failures? Is the country now able to showcase its achievements in the global context?

This conference will cover issues from various perspectives, including economic, sociological and political, in the context of our future.

We invite scholars and researchers to send their submission of papers for consideration of the organising committee for inclusion among the papers to be presented. At this stage, while full-length papers (5,000-8,000 words) are welcome, we request submission of short abstracts of about 400-500 words outlining the scope of the papers and key findings. Researchers sending selected abstracts will be requested to send their full-length papers subsequently. Research work from any discipline that fits into this broad theme would be welcome. Scholars from all academic institutions may send their abstracts and papers.

Important dates:

Last date for sending abstract: 5th Oct, 2017

Date for receiving full paper: 31st Dec, 2017

Abstracts and papers may be sent to Prof. Meenakshi Rajeev, ISEC at

Broad sub-themes:

Macroeconomic development and policy; economic growth; inequality; sectoral challenges; employment and skills; technology and development; sustainability; urban development; education, health, nutrition and gender; governance; social and political dimensions of development.


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