Centre for Development Studies

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Centre for Development Studies
CDS Logo.png
Type Research Institution
Established 1971
Director Professor Sunil Mani
Location Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Campus Urban
Website www.cds.edu

The Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Trivandrum, Kerala, India is a premier social science research institution. Over the years it has established a tradition of interdisciplinary research on development problems in India. Its main objective is to promote research, teaching and training in disciplines relevant to development. Today, it is considered to be one of the foremost development economics research centers in the country.

The institute was established in 1971 by the noted economist Professor K. N. Raj.


Set up in 1971 by the late legendary economist Professor K.N. Raj, the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) is an internationally renowned, self-governing institution known for its cutting edge research in applied economics and topics germane to socio-economic development, impeccable pedagogy, and extensive and exhaustive training programmes. Tucked away from the maddening world of city life, CDS is housed in Prasanth Nagar, a serene, picturesque hamlet off the Thiruvananthapuram city. It is easily accessible by road, rail and air. The sprawling 10 acre campus is designed and delivered by late Laurie Baker, whose love for nature has few parallels in history. The state-of-the-art K. N. Raj Library at CDS is one of the biggest repositories of wisdom in South India with over 1,700,000 titles in economics and related disciplines and subscribing to about 260 print and 1800 online professional journals. It has a faculty strength of about 20.

Research at CDS is organised into six distinct themes:

There is a seventh cross-cutting theme, analysing the impact of globalisation on each of the six themes.

The teaching programme of the CDS includes:

All three programmes are affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The University of Kerala also has recognised CDS as a Centre for its doctoral studies. Besides, it has a number of short-duration occasional training programmes.

The Organizational Structure[edit]

The core financial support to the Centre comes from the Government of Kerala and the Indian Council of Social Science Research. Reserve Bank of India and the Planning Commission of India have instituted endowment units for research in selected areas at CDS. The Union Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has established a migration unit at CDS to study issues relating to international migration from India.

The governance of CDS rests with the Governing Body consisting of academicians from across India. It follows a unique style of decentralization in governance through various bodies assisting the Director in the management.

The present chairman of the Governing Body is Shri. K. M. Chandrasekhar. The current Director is Professor Sunil Mani.



Like teaching and training, research is one of the key pillars on which the institutional edifice of the Centre has been built over decades. By and large, the resident faculty and the M.Phil. and Ph.D. students are the driving force behind the path breaking studies that makes the Centre stand out in the crowd in the current competitive world of academics. Although, research is conducted across seven verticals in an inter-disciplinary framework, they all stick to six cardinal principles that form the kernel of the Centre’s research ethos: They are:

Research programmes should be theoretically informed and empirically validated; Research projects are mostly initiated by the faculty in a bid to find answers to the pressing questions on burning issues; Hence, most of the research projects are on topical issues; And continuing in nature; To get a larger picture, a comparative approach to research issues are often attempted; and last, but not the least, Research output is subject to rigorous annual scrutiny by eminent t external experts. The vision document of CDS, `Negotiating the Future’, spells out the contours of research programmes spread out over seven broad verticals:

  1. Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources

Pace and pattern of agricultural growth across regions in India with focus on the role of price and non-price factors in agricultural growth. Trade liberalisation and agriculture: opportunities and challenges factors, processes and determinants of agricultural and non-agricultural employment. Changes in the pattern of irrigation development and its linkages to agricultural development; changing pattern of water use in agriculture and non-agricultural sectors; pricing of water; institutional and technological issues in water management and sharing water between river basins and by states. Linkage between agricultural development and environmental degradation; macro- economic policies; natural resource utilisation and environmental protection.

  1. Gender and Development

Gender equality and development; gender analysis of public expenditure choices and the gender impact of specific macro and sectoral policies. The effects of globalisation, new information technologies, the spread of HIV/AIDS and population ageing from a gender perspective. The dimensions of the status of women in terms of both conventional indicators (like education, employment, income) and non-conventional indicators (autonomy, voice, domestic violence). The effectiveness of development policies and programmes for women’s empowerment; documentation of ‘best practices’ for women’s empowerment through specific strategies and interventions at the micro level. Gender-specific constraints/barriers (including cost of reproductive labour and property rights) and progress towards gender equality; rights-based approach to gender equality. Gender, development and participation in the public sphere. ‘Gendered’ history of development in Kerala.

  1. Industry, Trade and Technology

Emerging issues in industrial organisation: Patterns of entry and exit, firm strategies, collusive behaviour and changing nature of competition, with special emphasis on the impact of mergers and acquisition on firm behaviour. Industry specific studies relying on primary data and in-depth case studies to unravel the processes of global integration with focus on inter-firm relationships and production networks. Patterns of innovation, their sources and extent of their diffusion, their role in the changing nature of competition and returns to innovations, innovations of small firms to negotiate globalisation through knowledge clusters, networking and co-operative research and development. Systems of innovations and technological capability enhancement with specific reference to the role of different agents (and public policy) in the context of globalisation of R&D with special emphasis on the role of indigenous technologies and the management of innovations. Barriers to diffusion and extent of path dependence of technologies. Challenges posed, and opportunities offered by the ‘new economy’ relating to growth, competitiveness, employment, productivity and redistribution.

  1. Migration

Linkages between migration, economic growth, income distribution, and social change.

  1. Population and Human Development

Changing age structure of the population consequent to demographic transition and its implications for human capital, savings and economic growth. Socio-economic inequalities in health, nutrition and education in the era of globalisation and their determinants. Social, economic and health security issues for the elderly.

  1. Poverty, Vulnerability and Social Security

Multiple dimensions of poverty and well-being in the capability approach framework. Vulnerability coping up mechanisms and livelihood strategies in the context of risk and uncertainties due to natural disasters and changing economic and social policies. A design for universal social security in combating poverty in its multiple dimensions. Concept and practice of development from a human rights perspective; poverty as violation of the right to development and its implications for interpreting different concrete situations, both in the past and present. Linkages of social security in its universal coverage, human development and economic growth.

  1. Cross-cutting theme: Globalisation and Development

Social dimensions of globalisation, with focus on national and regional issues such as employment, social security and movement of people. WTO agreements and their implications for the national and the regional economies.

  1. Impact of international capital flows.

Non-tariff barriers in international trade and the national policy responses. Environment and sustainable development under globalisation

Research Units and Funds[edit]

Other than its independent, pure play research platform, the Centre has fully funded research units and endowment funds dedicated to specified topics. However, the research ethos of the Centre gives the scholars enough headroom in their pursuit of knowledge.

  • National Research Programme on Plantation Development (NRPPD)
  • Planning Commission Endowment Unit on Development Economics
  • Reserve Bank of India Endowment Unit on Economic Development
  • Government of Kerala Endowment Unit on Local Self Governments
  • Union Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs Research Unit on International Migration
  • Joan Robinson Endowment Fund
  • P.K. Gopalakrishanan Endowment Fund
  • B.G. Kumar Endowment Fund
  • A.D. Neelakantan Endowment Fund

The Campus[edit]

CDS located in a quiet residential area in the northwest part of the City of Thiruvananthapuram, called Prasanthnagar. The 10-acre (40,000 m2) campus, designed and constructed by the famous architect, Dr Laurie Baker, epitomizes his unique style and philosophy of adaptive building methods. The CDS Library is now one of the biggest in South India with over 1,25, 000 titles in Economics and allied disciplines and subscribing to about 400 professional journals.The library is in the process of being automated.



External links[edit]