India's rapid growth since the early 1980s has the potential of radically transforming the country. Other than China, never before in history have such a large number of people been affected by such rapid rates of growth. The entrepreneurial energies of a vast young and dynamic workforce hold tremendous promise for the country. Nonetheless the very promise of this growth is also introducing new challenges and stresses. Uneven growth across states, social groups, and sectors risks a popular backlash. Resource, environmental, and human capital limitations threaten to undermine the sustainability of long-term growth. Stagnating productivity in agriculture has troubling implications for rural India, still home to more than two out of three Indians. The research program in this cluster will attempt to understand these challenges and their implications for India's economic growth. The initial focus will be on Human Capital Challenges, Health, The Market Economy, Marginalized Social Groups, and Migration.
Governance & Politics
The vibrancy of India's private sector contrasts starkly with a public sector that continues to struggle to deliver basic public services and is widely perceived to be inefficient and corrupt. The Indian state's weaknesses pose a formidable challenge to the country's future. There are two research projects in this cluster: Performance of State-Level Institutions and Rule and Reform in the Giants: China and India Compared.
International Security & Foreign Policy
The implications of global realignments of power and a troubled neighborhood are key foreign policy challenges facing India. The two projects underway in this research cluster are: Implications of China's Rise for the US-India Relationship, and Indian Public Opinion on Foreign Policy. A US-India dialogue meeting co-convened by the Center and the Observer Research Foundation in December 2006 has resulted in a rapporteur's report, and an edited volume is under preparation.
Media & Communications
Despite India's media explosion--vibrant, in multiple languages, in print and broadcast--we know little about the degree of media concentration, inequality in media consumption and its implications on social attitudes and expectations. Research in this area will examine the Indian media's effects on politics, in particular its role as an institution of accountability.
The Dalit Studies Program
A singular challenge facing contemporary India is how to extend the benefits of economic growth and development to its historically marginalized social groups. This problem is particularly acute in the case of India's Dalits (or Scheduled Castes), who comprise about one-sixth of the country's population and historically were at the bottom of India's complex social hierarchy that constituted the caste system. Recognizing the deep deprivations suffered by this social group, the Indian constitution enshrined affirmative action guaranteeing this group political representation, education, and government jobs in proportion to their share in the population. CASI has recently launched a research program to better understand the problems facing Dalits in contemporary India. The research program has two main legs. The first is an international conference in December 2008 that will bring leading thinkers on the subject. An additional important purpose of this conference will be to build trust and relations between CASI and the Dalit community. The second is a research program on Dalit entrepreneurship that will seek to understand the major constraints to Dalits participating in the private sector.
CASI Study on Dalits in Uttar Pradesh Detailed in Mint
An article in the December 2, 2009 edition of Mint discusses a CASI study on Dalits in Uttar Pradesh that seeks to show an improvement in Dalit living conditions since 1990 based on economic progress.
CASI Receives Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation