ICSSR’s call: Research proposal on 31 govt schemes sought
While the call by the autonomous body has been given ahead of the 2024 general elections, officials at the council said it has no political angle
The Indian Council of Social Science Research has given a special call for short term research proposals to assess the reach and socioeconomic impact of 31 government schemes, including Ujjwala Yojana, Awas Yojana, Ayushman Bharat, New Education Policy, Mudra Yojana and Start up India, among others.
While the call by the autonomous body under the education ministry has been given ahead of the 2024 general elections, officials at the council said it has no political angle to it. The idea is to independently assess the impact of various government schemes and to understand the bottlenecks being seen in their implementation at the ground level, said social scientist JK Bajaj, chairperson of the council.
“Take for instance the Ujjawala scheme. It will be important to assess how it has impacted the life of women. What is the continuity of the usage cylinders distributed under the scheme and if there are any bottlenecks. Similarly, in the Mudra scheme of financial inclusion, we have some government data, but it would be interesting to actually go to the ground and assess its impact on entrepreneurs,” Bajaj said. “Who are the new entrepreneurs coming and from which community they are coming from?”
“How will we get this information if the social scientists will not work on it? It has nothing to do with the upcoming elections,” he added.
Prior to this, the council had given two special calls for short term research on social science dimensions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and culture, history and geography of scheduled tribes.
Under this new project, the council is aiming to select 300 proposals covering different schemes and geographical areas. “We are trying to get the widest possible coverage. We want to understand the impact of the same scheme in different geographical areas as well. Therefore, we are encouraging institutions to come together and work collaboratively on projects instead of researchers working individually. This way it will help us to have a broader coverage,” Bajaj said.
Each selected project will be funded up to ₹6 lakh. For collaborative projects, the funding is fixed at up to ₹30 lakh. The sanctioned amount will be released in two instalments, and the selected individuals or groups will get six months to complete the work and submit their reports.
Among the other schemes mentioned in the call for proposals are Jan Dhan Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Stand-Up India, Digital India, PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana and PM Fasal Bima Yojana, among others.
Research scholars from recognised institutions, civil servants, officers from defence services and other professionals with social science perspective having not less than 20 years of regular service will be eligible to apply, according to guidelines issued by the council. “A rigorous assessment of the reach and socioeconomic impact of the specific scheme and policy initiative is expected to be carried out,” the guidelines said. “These studies will be based on field work focused on a specific geographical region, which may be an urban, semi-urban or rural area.”
The sample size for each study will be 400 to 500 and 2,000 to 3,000 for collaborative studies. “The researchers are encouraged to undertake quantitative as well as qualitative research of a scheme in the selected geographical region,” the guidelines stated.
Once completed, the reports will be made available publicly, Bajaj said. “We will not try to make recommendations or become a part of the policymaking process. We want to record reality and the reality will then speak for itself,” he said.