Tuesday, 21 June 2016

CSDS Saga Part 4

How Left Citadel CSDS Sabotages Rules of Discipline
53-year-old Public Funded Organizations Still Doesn’t Have Clear Rules for Its Administration


The founding fathers of Delhi based CSDS ( Centre for the Study of Developing Societies) at least had the self confidence to openly admit to the world that they did not believe in externally imposed discipline and that they envisaged CSDS to be a place where people had freedom to choose not only their working schedules work but also be free to determine the content, quantity and quality of their academic output.

However, once the old generation began to retire or pass away, the old order had to give way to new. Unfortunately, most of the new recruits saw the job at CSDS as just another job—with just one big advantage—the institution has virtually no rules to enforce discipline of attendance or academic output. As the old freedoms began to be widely misused, the seniors or “Uncles”-- as they began to be derisively referred to by the younger entrants—began cautious attempts to make the CSDS faculty accept some minimal rules for ensuring basic discipline and accountability. Since three of the “Uncles” became members of the Governing Board after retirement, they began to push the faculty through Board meetings. Coincidentally, this process of making and sabotaging rules began in 2001, the year I returned to CSDS as full professor after two long stints in 1990’s as Visiting Fellow.



At the insistence of the Board of Governors, in 2001 the first ever Committee of the faculty was appointed to draft the Rules and Regulations for the Centre. The following account based on the Minutes of various faculty and Board meetings over the years reveals how through a clever sleight of hand, obfuscation and delay tactics, the Ruling Coterie of CSDS managed to evade accepting not just those rules and regulations which are applicable to all public funded educational institutions but even the exceedingly generous rules proposed/adopted by the B.O.G. 

Friday, 17 June 2016

CSDS Saga Part 3

Violation of the Constitutional Mandate regarding SC/ST/OBC Reservations


The most serious example of abuse of the government rules and legal requirements by the Ruling Coterie of CSDS is the fulfillment of SC/ST/OBC quota in faculty and administrative appointments.  This is a serious violation for an institution getting 100% of its funds by the government.  Every year the ICSSR sends a letter to CSDS stating clearly that it has to comply with a set of conditions, including the reservation policy of GOI in order to qualify for grant-in-aid.  But this warning has been studiously ignored because the Ruling Coterie considers itself above the law of the land.

This lapse has occurred despite the fact that the CSDS prides itself on being a flag bearer for social justice.  In fact, former director DL Sheth was appointed Member (social scientist) of the National Commission for Backward Classes from 1993 to 1996.  Thus the previous generation of CSDS is in large part responsible for the current reservation policy and yet CSDS flouts it with impunity. 

It is noteworthy that in the last Board meeting held on April 9, 2016 the ICSSR representatives let it be known that its grant-in-aid may be withdrawn unless concrete amends are made in this regard because its acts of omission and commission on this issue are in violation of the declared norms in Rule 10(ii) and also against the spirit of Article 46 of the Constitution. The ICSSR grant is conditional to CSDS observing all GOI Rules and constitutional commitments and yet this mandate was being fluted.  The Coterie is in panic because the ICSSR also put on hold the recent appointments of Associate Fellows made by the CSDS Selection Committee. Even these 2016 appointments did not observe the mandatory requirement of SC/ST/OBC quota.

Thus far, CSDS has only paid lip service to the reservation policy by merely stating in its advertisements for new vacancies that all things being equal, the institution will give preference to SC/ST/OBC candidates but it has continually evaded the mandatory quotas when making selections.  This speaks volumes about its commitment to social justice.  These worthies are good at writing academic tracts and holding conferences on subaltern groups but don’t find them good enough to work with as colleagues.

See: CSDS Saga Part 2,  CSDS Saga Part 1 & also See: CSDS: A Citadel of "Academic Freedom" Unmasked"

Saturday, 4 June 2016

CSDS Saga Part 2


Lawlessness in the Name of "Self-Governance" at CSDS
None Called to Account for Non Performance or Absenteeism

In Part 1 of this series, I had provided a glimpse of lawless regime operating at CSDS whereby there is no system of marking attendance, no limit on the amount of time faculty members can spend on varied assignments abroad, no need to declare the extra income earned from these parallel careers and remunerative consultancies with the likes of Ford Foundation. I had also described how the absence of academic audit of faculty members who are employed for full time research without any teaching load in effect means you can get away with doing practically nothing for years on end or using the institution for political pamphleteering instead of academic studies.

The founding fathers of CSDS had conceptualized this institution to be a haven of academic freedom where each faculty member was free to decide the content, quality and pace of his own work. However, even in the heydays of CSDS, this model threw up serious challenges. As per the version given by CSDS seniors, in the 1980's three senior colleagues,  namely Prof Ali Baquar, Prof Sudhir Kakkar and Prof Vijay Pillai had gotten into the habit of coming to CSDS just once a week on Wednesday for a couple of hours even though they held full time faculty positions at CSDS.  Therefore, they came to be sarcastically referred to as the Budhwari group.

Friday, 3 June 2016

CSDS Saga Part 1

"Self-Governance" Leftist Style
CSDS Claims all Government Benefits but Defies all Systems of Accountability

On 1st May 2016, I had published the text of my legal notice to CSDS challenging their brazen act of discrimination in denying me affiliation to the organization in order to avail of the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship awarded to me by the Indian Council for Social science Research (ICSSR). The ostensible reason provided by the CSDS for denying/indefinitely deferring my affiliation for the two-year duration of the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship is that a special committee of CSDS faculty is still in the process of drafting “rules for self governance.”  Therefore, in the absence of “norms” the institution is unable to offer me affiliation.

Had this been even half honest explanation, I would not have picked up cudgels with CSDS. (See Link: CSDS: A Citadel of "Academic Freedom" Unmasked").

It is noteworthy that today CSDS is the only one among the 32 research institutions funded by the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) which gets 100 percent of its grant-in-aid towards staff salaries and building fund from the ICSSR – an organization created by the ministry of HRD to fund social science research in India. As a government funded institution, CSDS is expected to follow rules and norms applicable to public funded institutions.[1] That includes well-established procedures of accountability, transparency, fair play, non-discrimination, and rules that are applicable to all without fear or favour.  However, CSDS has been functioning in the most lawless fashion, as the following account will show.

The malafide intent behind denying me affiliation on the specious plea that rules of "self governance" had not yet been finalised is evident from the fact that absence of "norms for self-governance" never came in the way of:
  1. Over 200 scholars, including ICSSR fellowship holders, being granted affiliation to CSDS under various heads in the last 15 years, 
  2. Recruiting several new faculty members;
  3. Starting of new programmes, projects and even a whole new “Institute” without as much as a formal permission of the Board of Governors(of this more in another part of this series);
  4. A faculty member negotiating collaboration with the Gottingen University for setting up an International Centre for Advanced Study in CSDS.
  5. Inviting Visiting Fellows from abroad for short and long periods, involving huge expense to the Centre;
  6. Faculty members going out for lucrative assignments abroad involving frequent long absences from CSDS;
  7. Faculty members applying for funding for this or that Project or Program from international donor agencies, including those agencies that are under investigation by the Government of India.

Madhu Kishwar

Madhu Kishwar
इक उम्र असर होने तक… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …اک عمر اثر ہونے تک

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