To help develop ‘Socially Inclusive Society, Economy, Politics, Governance and Development’.
The issues of social exclusion and discrimination along with its consequences on economic and social development have generally found lesser space in the mainstream social science discourse. At the same time, there has been a growing demand among the social groups for group-specific policies. A lack of understanding on these issues has constrained the capacity of government and civil society organisations to develop appropriate policies for socially excluded groups. The primary focus of IIDS, therefore, is to develop a scientific knowledge-base on the issues of social exclusion and discrimination through intensive research which is interdisciplinary in nature. It undertakes research on thematic areas like problems of marginlised groups, issues of social exclusion and discrimination and its deprivation, human development, poverty, issues of governance, policies for inclusive development and other development concerns of various marginalised groups.
IIDS has six research units set up on the basis of thematic areas and social groups.
The Economic and Social Status Studies Unit undertakes research on the economic and social problems of the marginalised and discriminated groups, namely, scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs), denotified and nomadic tribes, socially and educationally other backward classes (OBCs), religious minorities and social groups within these minorities, differently-abled persons, and other similar groups. This unit includes a number of themes that comprises poverty, employment, health, education, housing, political participation, and many others related to the lives of these groups.
The Social Exclusion and Discrimination Studies Unit undertakes studies on the nature and forms of social exclusion and discrimination in multiple spheres associated with the institution of caste and untouchability, ethnic and religious identities, and other group identities. The spheres mainly include economic discrimination in market and non-market institutions. Market discrimination covers labour, factors and products, land markets, wage labour, as well as regular salaried, farmers, and private entrepreneurs engaged in production and business. Non-market institutions mainly include government institutions and agencies engaged in education (schools and higher educational institutions), primary health centres, public distribution system, and urban housing. This also includes discrimination in government programmes and schemes. The other main themes are discrimination in social/cultural spheres, political institutions, atrocities, and violence.
The Gender and Social Exclusion Studies Unit focuses on the interface between gender and institutions of caste, ethnicity, and religion—and its implications on access to livelihood opportunities, education, health, and political participation.
Research on Collective Action includes collective efforts by marginalised groups through civil rights movement, NGO movement, women’s movement, leadership in various spheres by marginalised and discriminated groups, and movement in literature and visual arts. The studies on Governance include working of political institutions with respect to the participation of marginalised groups in panchayats, the Parliament, bureaucracy, and similar institutions of governance.
The Equal Opportunities Policy Studies Unit undertakes studies on policy for inclusive development with the main focus on various policies: general and group-specific affirmative actions, reservation, and other group-specific policies. This also includes evaluation of government programmes and schemes related to livelihoods, poverty, social protection, economic empowerment, human development and human rights, special component plan, atrocities, and anti-untouchability act. Besides the general policies, the focus is on affirmative action policies against discrimination. The policy research cover policies of Central and State governments, international organisations like World Bank, FAO, ILO, UNDP, UNESCO, DFID, and funding agencies and NGOs.
The Dalit Literature and Arts Unit undertakes studies on literature and visual arts by marginalised and discriminated groups, promotes research, and publish literature of the marginalised groups. It also translates Dalit literature written in various Indian languages into Hindi for wider dissemination.