Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Mumbai, India

Tata Institute of Social science is a social science institute with its main campus based in Mumbai, India. TISS also operates out of campuses in Hyderabad, Guwahati and Tuljapur . Wikipedia.

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Barbora S.,Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Antipode | Year: 2017

Since 2004, media and public opinion in Assam (India) have focused on increasing instances of poaching of rhinoceros for their horns and presence of Bengali-speaking Muslim peasants, especially in and around the iconic Kaziranga National Park. From hastily made digital films, to anti-poaching motifs at Durga Puja pandals, the plight of the rhinoceros has occupied an important position in an acrimonious political discourse on Assamese culture. The innocence and dignity attributed to the animal stands in marked contrast to the lack of discussion on the large numbers of young men who have been killed in anti-poaching campaigns by the state. This article looks at the interstices of class, culture and commerce in an attempt to understand the popular deification of the rhinoceros and implications of the developmental discourse that seeks to put people and rhino in their "rightful" place. © Antipode Foundation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2013.3.2-1 | Award Amount: 6.25M | Year: 2014

SI-DRIVE extends knowledge about social innovation (SI) in three major directions: - Integrating theories and research methodologies to advance understanding of SI leading to a comprehensive new paradigm of innovation. - Undertaking European and global mapping of SI, thereby addressing different social, economic, cultural, historical and religious contexts in eight major world regions. - Ensuring relevance for policy makers and practitioners through in-depth analyses and case studies in seven policy fields, with cross European and world region comparisons, foresight and policy round tables. SI-DRIVE involves 15 partners from 12 EU Member States and 10 from other parts of the world. The approach adopted carefully interlinks the research process to both the complexity of the topic and the project workflow. First, cyclical iteration between theory development, methodological improvements, and policy recommendations. Second, two mapping exercises at European and global level. Initial mapping will capture basic information about 1000\ actual successful and failed social innovations from a wide variety of sources worldwide, leading to a typology of SI (testing the SI perspectives proposed by the BEPA report) and using this to examine the global SI distribution. Subsequent mapping will use the typology to focus on well documented SI, leading to the selection of 10 cases each for in-depth analysis in the seven SI-DRIVE Policy Fields. Third, these case studies will be further analysed, used in stakeholder dialogues in 7 policy field platforms and in analysis of cross-cutting dimensions (e.g. gender, diversity, ICT), carefully taking into account cross-sector relevance (private, public, civil sectors), and future impact. The outcomes of SI-DRIVE will address all objectives required by the Call, cover a broad range of research dimensions, impacting particularly in terms of changing society and empowerment, and contributing to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: HEALTH.2010.3.4-7 | Award Amount: 3.45M | Year: 2011

Recent health financing reforms in low and middle income countries aim to introduce affordable prepayment and subsidies for low socio-economic groups. However, while such reforms have led to increased utilization of care, often the poor and informal sector continue to be excluded from coverage. Health Inc. puts forward the hypothesis that social exclusion is an important cause of the limited success of recent health financing reforms. First, social exclusion can explain barriers to accessing health care due to disrespectful, discriminatory or culturally inappropriate practices of medical professionals and their organisations, within the context of poor accessibility and quality of care. As a consequence, removing financial barriers does not necessarily guarantee equitable access to care. Second, social exclusion can explain barriers to accessing the health financing mechanism itself. Differential access to information, bureaucratic processes, complex eligibility rules and/or crude and stigmatizing criteria for means testing prevent socially excluded groups from enrolling in financing schemes, even if they are fully subsidised. Social inclusion, by contrast, may explain why more powerful, wealthy and vocal groups disproportionately capture the benefits of publicly funded health care. In four countries/states (Ghana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Senegal), Health Inc. employs mixed methods to analyse whether different types of financing arrangements overcome social exclusion and also increase social inclusion by empowering socially marginalised groups. A multi-sectoral stakeholder analysis will also explore whether vulnerable populations participate in policy making and whether their needs are understood. Health Inc. will compare policies across contexts in order to elicit lessons. Local policy makers and population groups will then be consulted in a feasibility analysis to identify and test policy recommendations, which will be widely disseminated.

HIV/AIDS-related stigma is recognised as a major barrier to HIV prevention efforts and an impediment to mitigating its impact on individuals and communities. This paper reviews the existing research literature on AIDS stigma in India with the objective of documenting the current status of research, highlighting major findings and identifying key gaps remaining. Thirty publications were identified through a careful search of which a majority focused on stigma assessment and very few on stigma measurement, conceptual aspects of stigma or stigma reduction interventions. A few standardised stigma measures are available but more are required to assess causes of stigma among general population and compounded and internalised stigma among positive people. Research exploring linkages between stigma and HIV services uptake or the effect of HIV care and treatment programs on stigma levels are largely missing and need to be prioritised. In addition, more research is needed to advance conceptual understanding of stigma within the cultural context of the country including research on the neglected groups such as, transgender people. Context-specific (health care, community) interventions are needed to address various forms of stigma - enacted, perceived, internalised and layered - including structural approaches besides inter-personal and information-based approaches. A major gap relates to meager research on developing and evaluating stigma reduction interventions and needs priority focus. Overall, the review recommends developing a national agenda on AIDS stigma research and interventions to help realise the government's goal of stigma reduction.

Dave A.,Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Violence Against Women | Year: 2013

This article attempts to describe the experiences of violated women and the struggles of social workers to contest violence against women in the Indian context. It begins with a brief account of an "indigenous model": the establishment of a service for violated women in India within the police force-the Special Cell on Violence Against Women. The article traces the strategic location, vision, growth, present position, expansion, and replication of the Special Cell in India, and discusses the necessity of working simultaneously with violated women, formal systems, and social structures; its contribution to the campaign for a Domestic Violence Act; and the resultant outcomes. The arduous nature of the work required for violated women and the women's own assessment of the Special Cells were accessed through a rigorous evaluation study, which is presented in the article, providing an answer and affirmation to the question: Why work with the Establishment-the State. © The Author(s) 2013.

Joseph J.,Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Disasters | Year: 2013

The measurement of vulnerability-defined here as the asymmetric response of disaster occurrences to hazardous events-signifies a key step towards effective disaster risk reduction and the promotion of a culture of disaster resilience. One of the reasons for not being able to do the same in a wider context is related to conceptual, definitional, and operational issues. This paper presents an operationally feasible framework for conducting this task and measures revealed macro vulnerability as a function of disaster risk and hazard probability. The probabilities of hazard and its perceived disaster risk were obtained from past data and from probability distributions. In this paper, the corresponding analytical framework is constructed using the case study of floods in Assam, India. The proposed indicator will help policymakers to draw on available macro-level data to identify the regions that are vulnerable to disasters, where micro-level disaster vulnerability assessments could be performed in greater detail. © 2013 The Author(s). Journal compilation © Overseas Development Institute, 2013.

George M.,Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Journal of Public Health Policy | Year: 2015

I examine possibilities for strengthening essential public health functions in the context of India's drive to implement universal health care. In a country where population health outcomes are rooted in social, political, economic, cultural, and ecological conditions, it is important to have a state mediated public health system that can modify the causes of the major public health problems. This calls for strengthening the social epidemiological approach in public health by demarcating public health functions distinct from medical care. This will be a prerequisite for the growth of the public health profession in the country, because it can offer avenues for newly trained professionals within the country to work in 'core' public health. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: SSH.2013.2.1-3 | Award Amount: 3.09M | Year: 2014

The GLOBAL VALUE project develops an innovative framework for assessing impacts of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) on issues related to the Millennium Declaration, sustainable development, human rights, transparency, and anti-corruption. To ensure utility, we will monitor the policy debate on global and sustainable development and deliver a regularly updated catalogue of goals and indicators. We will shed light on institutional arrangements; analyse systems of governance for responsible business practices; explore responsible competitiveness; assess the complementarity of public and private sector activities; and derive recommendations for decision makers in business, policy and CSOs. For addressing MNCs, the project will deliver a modular, user-friendly and customizable toolkit, including a web-based assessment platform, a tool navigator, a user guide, and training materials. It will take into account the most relevant pathways of impact (through business operations, community investments, regional, supply chain and product related impacts) and link up with powerful management approaches (such as supply chain management, life cycle assessment and base of the pyramid innovation). The toolkit will be tested in close collaboration with leading MNCs: BATA (garment, Bangladesh), OLAM (food, Tanzania) and MONDI (paper & packaging, Russia a.o.). Research organizations, CSOs, and sector experts from these countries are members of the consortium and ensure the involvement of stakeholders and local actors. Reflexive learning workshops contribute to a continuous improvement of the toolkit. The project is carried out by leading researchers from Europe and ICPC countries, and involves relevant UN bodies in an advisory capacity. Special emphasis is put on research capacity building in and networking with ICPC countries and CSOs. By establishing an expert crowd we take business, society, and policy perspectives into account - more than 200 experts are currently part of the crowd.

News Article | November 4, 2015
Site: www.nature.com

Leading Indian scientists have voiced concerns during the past week over religious intolerance and the killings of three noted advocates of rational thinking. The action is an unusual occurrence in a country where scientists rarely step out of their research domains to comment on social or political issues. It follows an outcry by leading writers, who since September have been returning their national awards in protest against what they see as the government's failure to curb religious intolerance in India. Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in 2013, communist politician Govind Pansare in February of this year and literature scholar Malleshappa Kalburgi in August. All three killings have been blamed on members of extreme right-wing Hindu groups. The killing of Kalburgi triggered the protests from the writers, which intensified early this month after a mob in a town near New Delhi killed a Muslim man who was rumoured to have slaughtered a cow (Hinduism considers cows to be sacred animals). On 22 October, a group of scientists followed up the writers' protest by launching an online petition to India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, protesting against the killings. It gathered 268 signatories. The petition was followed on 27 October by a statement from the Inter-Academy Panel on Ethics in Science, a body set up by the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi; the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; and the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad. The statement pointed out that the Indian constitution mandated that “its citizens abide by and uphold reason and scientific temper”. “Yet,” it continued, ”we note with sadness and growing anxiety several of [sic] statements and actions which run counter to this constitutional requirement of every citizen of India,” and which should be “nipped in the bud”. Indira Nath, a member of the panel and an immunologist at the Indian National Science Academy in New Delhi, says that the panel wants to: “bring back rationality and scientific thinking to the mainstream. It is an apolitical statement and not directed against the government of the day.” A day later, more than 100 scientists from leading Indian science institutes, including national award winners, three fellows of the UK Royal Society and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, signed a second statement expressing deep concern over the “climate of intolerance and the ways in which science and reason are being eroded in the country”. The scientists lamented what they called “active promotion of irrational and sectarian thought by important functionaries of the government”. Thiagarajan Jayaraman, who is chair of the Centre for Science, Technology and Society at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and a lead signatory on the second statement, mentioned the example of a statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2014. Modi said that the Hindu elephant-headed deity Ganesha was an example of knowledge of transplantation in ancient India, and that the birth of some mythological characters in the ancient Indian text Mahabharata reflected knowledge of advanced genetics and stem cells. Naresh Dadhich, a physicist at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, and one of the petitioners to the Indian president, says that “the government has failed to check or discourage the anti-rational environment”. All three advocates who were killed were “widely regarded by the scientific community as part of efforts to promote science among the public”, Jayaraman adds. Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, says that he plans to return a national award in protest. “Science is about reason and rationality. If three rationalists can be killed, scientists too can be killed.” On 29 October, a group of Indian historians joined the fray by releasing their own statement protesting against religious superstition. Groups of artists and sociologists have also issued similar statements.

News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

On the morning of 4 February, Harish Tikedar, Ganesh Soni, and Mohammed Isafil Ansari waited in a queue to use the community toilet in the Indira Nagar slum in eastern Mumbai. All of a sudden the floor collapsed, plunging Tikedar, Soni and Ansari into the septic tank 15-feet below. Two others who also fell – Sirajjudin Turat and Ramakant Kanojia – managed to hold on to the sides until they were rescued. “I was submerged up to my shoulders in the slush,” says Turat. “I could feel it pulling me down but somehow held on to a slab. Then some people pulled me up and I passed out.” The five men who were pulled out were unrecognisable, covered in faeces. They were all taken to a nearby hospital but Tikedar, Soni and Ansari did not survive. In Mumbai’s slums, the simple act of relieving oneself is fraught with danger, especially in the slums of M-East ward where population density is high, and the few public amenities are crumbling. M-East is the poorest and most deficient in civic services of Mumbai’s 24 administrative wards. It has expanded over the last 15 years but has remained on the periphery of the city’s consciousness and governance systems. The differences between the civic amenities available in the smattering of middle-class apartment blocks and the slums, which dominate M-East, are stark. Most of the 100 square feet slum houses do not have sanitation and water facilities, either because applications for individual toilets and taps are pending approval or because the slum is on encroached land, which means that the civic body will not provide any services there. For sanitation, people in Mumbai pay two to three rupees (£0.02-0.04) to use a community toilet, which generate revenues of 3.6bn rupees (£47m) a year, according to a recent report by the Observer Research Foundation. The poorest of the poor pay more than 10m rupees (£120,000) per day for the most basic necessity, yet the facilities are rarely maintained despite complaints. Some 78% of community toilets in Mumbai’s slums lack water supply, 58% have no electricity, and many don’t have proper doors or facilities for women to dispose of sanitary napkins. The statistics are worse in M-East. “The chief minister [of Maharashtra] should order a structural audit of all community and public toilets. All those found deficient must be demolished and reconstructed,” says Dhaval Desai, author of the Observer Research Foundation report. “The long-term solution is to allow slum dwellers to construct individual toilets inside their houses. About 83% of the people we interviewed said they would spend the money, but the BMC [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation] denies permission on technical grounds.” Most of the slums appeared after 2005, which makes them illegal. “That slums post-2005 are not given water is a sham,” says Rais Shaikh an elected representative to the BMC from M-East, and leader of the Samajwadi party. “All of them get water; by what means is an open secret. If it wants, the BMC can find a way to provide basic rights.” The majority of slum residents are forced to depend on the thriving informal market, operated by a network of local strongmen that supplies water through tankers and via the unfinished pipe system laid by the civic body. The cost depends on demand and supply, from as high as 40 rupees (£0.48) to as low as five rupees (£0.06 ) for a 40-litre can. When the municipal corporation imposes water cuts in the summer, the cost rises considerably. Where there is a gap in sanitation services, NGOs step in to construct community toilets, or local MLAs (member of legislative assembly) and MPs contribute money from area development funds. A coterie of contractors usually takes up the construction and management of these community toilets. But they have no accountability to either the BMC or residents, and repeated complaints about sinking floors and full septic tanks go unheeded. The community toilet that collapsed in the Indira Nagar slum was only 10 years old and was built using the local MLA’s area development fund. The contractor was arrested and booked under the Indian Penal Code on charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, but he was eventually set free. He was not available for comment. The accident is not an isolated one. Across Mumbai, seven people have died and one was left disabled in similar incidents in the last three months. “There must be guidelines that the BMC enforces for construction, otherwise this kind of death will become routine,” says Razzaq Shaikh, who helped rescue the two survivors. “After an incident, the MLA or MP comes visiting, often with a cheque. But what’s the point? We know life is cheap in Mumbai, but so cheap?” The benchmark for toilets, adopted as part of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan [Clean India Mission], is one toilet for 25 women or 30 men. In M-East, however, the average is one toilet per 190 people, according to surveys by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. “The availability of toilets and tap water is so abysmal that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is laughable,” says Amita Bhide, dean of the institute’s School of Habitat Studies and head of its M-East ward project. “The state and the BMC has to intervene and be innovative, not sit on applications for individual toilets because there aren’t sewer lines to link to.” Regular water supply is also a perennial election promise, but despite politician’s campaigning, nothing seems to change in Mumbai’s poorest slums. “All political parties come here using the water issue as their trump card,” says Syed Lateef. “All of them say that when they come to power, water issues will be resolved. Water pipes have been installed and reinstalled, but we don’t get water. We buy it.” A version of this article first appeared on scroll.in and has been republished with permission. Follow the author @urjourno and @scroll_in on Twitter. Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow @GuardianGDP on Twitter, and have your say on issues around water in development using #H2Oideas.

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