Centre for Studies in Science Policy [CSSP]
School of Social Sciences
Jawaharlal Nehru University

The photograph is that of a living-root-bridge in Meghalaya. The bridge is literally grown by guiding the secondary roots of the rubber tree (ficus elastic) to stretch across the innumerable streams that crisscross Meghalaya. One of the finest examples of sustainable innovation in the commons,  based on traditional skills and knowledge.
 

 

 

         

 

CENTRE FOR STUDIES IN SCIENCE POLICY - HISTORY
(Excerpted from A Profile of School of Social Sciences [Silver Jubilee Commemoration Volume], Jawaharlal Nehru University, 1997, pp.150-55)

The Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP) began functioning from December 1970. The guidelines for the Centre were set out in a Working Group Report, appointed by the Academic Advisory Committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in July, 1970. The report drew attention to some of the factors which needed to be kept in view before taking decision in respect of the nature and scope of the area of studies to be pursued and an operational strategy for the development of science policy. The Centre was then known as "Centre for Interaction of Science and Society".

The Centre began with the appointment of Professor B.V. Rangarao. Later two more faculty members were recruited in 1972. With this core faculty the Centre started delineating areas for research and gathering material for teaching. Other research and technical staff were recruited, often on contract basis. Initially, students were recruited directly for the Ph.D programme. Most of them being pure science post graduates with no background in social sciences or in science policy studies. It was decided to initiate the following Core Courses.

(i) Science Policy
(ii) Science and Society
(iii) Growth of Modern Science in India
(iv) Research Methodology

In addition to these, seminar courses were organized every year, their themes varying each year. The focus of research work of the Centre was guided by two major objectives:

(i) To develop a conceptual framework and the methodological tools necessary to study, analyse and communicate the dynamics of Science and Technology in our culture and society ;
(ii) To study Science and Technology as instruments of policy and action in agriculture, public health, communication, etc.

Major efforts in this direction culminated in the following projects:

(i) A study of Indian Drug Industry (its findings were received by the Hath Commission on Drug Industry);
(ii) Social Indicators for Science and Technology;
(iii) A Biographical Dictionary of Scientists of India Volume I (1800-1900). It is a source-book meant for historians, scientists, policy makers and other social scientists interested in the study of growth of science and technology in India.

Student Profile
The areas chosen for research by students were as varied as their disciplinary backgrounds and specializations. However, a common theme was technology assessment and implications of technology. Areas like rural development, bio-technology, fertilizer industry and broadcasting systems were studied. In all, roughly a dozen M.Phil dissertations and half a dozen doctoral theses have been completed in the Centre.

Documentation Unit
Since the data and documents needed for science policy are scattered, the Centre has built up its own Documentation Unit over the years; R&D Statistics, annual reports of various national and international agencies, newspapers clippings form the major component of this collection. Information pertaining to various science policy areas like education, agriculture, energy etc, are processed, classified and documented.

Reorganization of the Centre
From 1980 the Centre came under the Chairmanship of the Dean and admissions were frozen. In 1983, the Centre was revived as an academic and administrative unit when a regular Chairperson, Professor M.L. Sondhi joined as Professor from December, 1993 and Dr. P.P. Gupta joined as a Visiting Professor for a period of one year from June 1993.

 

Past Faculty
Ashok Parthasarathi, PhD

Professor Ashok Parthasarathi was Professor and Chairperson of CSSP. Formerly he was a science and technology (S&T) adviser to the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and former Secretary of several major S&T ministries of the Government of India.

  Parthasarathi, A. (2005). Rural Industrialisation Programme: Looking at Khadi and Village Industries Commission. Economic and Political Weekly, 4763-4767.

  Parthasarathi, A. (2004). Science and Its Applications to Societal Security. Current Science, 87, 1174-1175.

  Parthasarathi, A., & Joseph, K. J. (2004). Innovation under Export Orientation. In India in the Global Software Industry (pp. 83-111). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

  Parthasarathi, A. (2002). Tackling the Brain Drain from India's Information and Communication Technology Sector: The Need for a New Industrial, and Science and Technology Strategy. Science and Public Policy, 29(2), 129-136.

  Parthasarathi, A. (2002). More than a Marketing Story. Economic and Political Weekly, 37(4), 353-354.

  Parthasarathi, A. (2002). Priorities in Science and Technology for Development: Need for Major Restructuring. Current Science, 82(10), 1211-1219.

  Parthasarathi, A., & Joseph, K. J. (2002). Limits to Innovation with Strong Export Orientation: The Case of India's Information and Communication Technologies Sector. Science Technology & Society, 7(1), 13-49.

  Parthasarathi, A. (1990). Science and Technology in India's Search for a Sustainable and Parthasarathi, A., & Singh, B. (1992). Science in India: The First Ten Years. Economic and Political Weekly, 1852-1858.

  Equitable Future. World Development, 18(12), 1693-1701.

  Parthasarathi, A. (1987). Acquisition and Development of Technology: Some Issues. Economic and Political weekly, 22(48), M131-M138.

  Parthasarathi, A. (1979). India's efforts To Build an Autonomous Capacity in Science and Technology for Development. Development Dialogue, 1, 46-59.

  Parthasarathi, A. (1971). Brain Drain from Developing Countries. Nature, 230 (5289), 87-90.

  Parthasarathi, A. (1969). Sociology of Science in Developing Countries – The Indian Experience: A Sequel. Economic and Political Weekly, 4(31), 1387-1389.

  Parthasarathi, A. (1969). Sociology of Science in Developing Countries: The Indian Experience. Economic and Political Weekly, 4(34), 1277-1280.


Prof. K.J. Joseph (Ministry of Commerce Chair Professor, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, Kerala), Visiting Professor, 2001-2003.

Prof. Nasir Tyabji (Visiting Professor, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi), Senior Fellow, 2001-2005.

Rohan D'Souza, PhD (JNU)
Dr. Rohan D'Souza is presently working as Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan. He worked as Assistant Professor at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP), JNU during 2003-2015. He also worked as Associate Professor at the Department of History, Shiv Nadar University, India during 2014-15. He is the author of "Drowned and Dammed: Colonial Capitalism and Flood Control in Eastern India (1803-1946)", Oxford University Press, 2006. His edited books include "The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia" (Oxford University Press, 2011) and "Environment, Technology and Development: Critical and Subversive Essays" (Orient BlackSwan: Hyderabad, 2012). His interests and research publications cover themes in environmental history, conservation, ecological politics, sustainable development and modern technology. Rohan D'Souza has held postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University (Agrarian Studies Program) and University of California, Berkeley (the Ciriacy-Wantrup Fellow). He was a senior research associate at the Centre for World Environmental History (University of Sussex) and visiting fellow at the Resources Management Asia-Pacific (Australian National University). He was awarded the Short Term Chair at the University of Tokyo, Japan as Visiting Professor of Contemporary Indian Studies by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 2012.

  D'Souza, Rohan (2014) Filling Multipurpose Reservoirs with Politics: Displacing the Modern Large Dam in India. In: Large Dams in Asia: Contested Environments between Technological Hydroscapes and Social Resistance, SpringerLink, pp 61-73. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2012) (ed). Environment, Technology and Development: Critical and Subversive Essays. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2012). No More Time for Delays. Hindustan Times, 26 August 2012. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2011) (ed). The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. (with Deepak Kumar and Vinita Damodaran). More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2006). Water in British India: The Making of a ‘Colonial Hydrology’. History Compass, 4/4. May, 2006, pp.621-8. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2006). River as Resource and Land to Own: The Great Hydraulic Transition in Eastern India. In: Asian Environments Shaping the World: Conceptions of Nature and Environmental Practices, National University of Singapore (Singapore), March 2009. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2006). Drowned and Dammed: Colonial Capitalism and Flood Control in Eastern India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2004). Rigidity and the Affliction of Capitalist Property: Colonial Land Revenue and the Recasting of Nature. Studies in History, 20(2), pp.237-72. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2003). Supply-Side Hydrology in India: The Last Gasp’, Economic and Political Weekly, 38 (36), pp.3785-3790. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2003). Damming the Mahanadi River: The Emergence of Multi-Purpose River Valley Development in India (1943-46). Indian Economic and Social History Review, 40(1), pp. 82-105. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (2002). Colonialism, Capitalism and Nature: Debating the Origins of the Mahanadi Delta’s Hydraulic Crisis (1803-1928)’, Economic and Political Weekly, 37 (13), March 30th, 2002, pp. 1261-72. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4411933>

  D'Souza, Rohan (1998). Re-Evaluating Multi-Purpose River Valley Projects: A Case Study of Hirakud, Ukai and IGNP. Economic and Political Weekly, 33(6), pp.297-303. More

  D'Souza, Rohan (1998). ‘The Politics of Flood Control’, The Ecologist Asia, 6 (5), September-October, pp. 36-37. More

M.L. Sondhi, M.A. LLB. (Punjab)
Professor Sondhi worked on Conflict and Peace Studies for over thirty years. He was a founding member of the group of conflict resolution experts, who came together in London in 1965 and argued for a paradigm shift from competitive to cooperative processes. Previously Professor Sondhi was elected a Rhodes Scholar (Oxford University) and served in the Indian Foreign Service in various capacities including Secretary of the Indian Delegation to the UN General Assembly, and represented New Delhi in the Indian Parliament.

A. Vasantha, Ph.D (Delhi University)
Professor A. Vasanthan joined the Centre in 1972 as Assistant Professor and later became Associate Professor in 1983. Her major research interests and publication were in the field of science policy studies (including history of science in India),Women and Science, Science Education and Scientific Community in India.

B.V. Rangarao, M.Sc. (Calcutta), Ph.D. Nuclear Physics (London)
Professor B.V. Rangarao joined the University as a Senior Fellow and later became Professor in December 1970. His interests varied from Drugs and Pharmaceutical industry, Science Policy, Atomic Energy etc. He retired in 1984.

Dhirendra Sharma, Ph.D (London)
Dr. Dhirendra Sharma joined the University as Pool Officer and was appointed as Associate Professor in the Centre for Studies in Science Policy in 1974. He was later transferred to the School of Languages in 1984 till his retirement in 1992.

 

Articles on CSSP
'Revival of the Centre for Studies in Science Policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi' by Nirupa Sen, Current Science, 25 June 2001, 80 (12)
http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Downloads/article_id_080_12_1479_1480_0.pdf

'Science Policy Studies: Rebirth of an Academic Centre' Economic and Political Weekly, July 5, 2003
http://www.epw.in/system/files/pdf/2003_38/27/Education_Science_Policy_Studies.pdf

'Confronting the Nuclear Power Structure in India', Dhirendra Sharma
http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/96ce/7_Sharma.pdf