There has long been a need for a major award in the social sciences, something to parallel the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards in the sciences, and finally the ICSSR (the Indian Council of Social Science Research) has stepped in and instituted the Amartya Sen Award for “Any citizen of India/Overseas citizen of India (OCI)/Person of Indian Origin (PIO) below the age of 55 years, engaged in research and who has made outstanding contribution–theoretical and/or empirical–towards the advancement of knowledge in any field of social sciences, is eligible for the award.” The naming of the awards after Prof. Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate in Economics, is in itself another recognition of the exceptional contributions that Prof. Sen has made to the social sciences in India and up to ten awards will be given each year. These awards were announced by Kapil Sibal, then Minister for Human Resource Development, as part of a five-point agenda to rejuvenate social science in India crucial for sound policy decisions. “Unless we are able to lift the quality of research in India in social sciences, we will not be able to get the kind of data which are fundamental for policy makers to take decisions.”
It is therefore a distinct pleasure that one of the first set of awardees is our colleague Vakulabharanam Vamsicharan, Associate Professor in the School of Economics. Vamsi earned his Ph D in economics from UMass in 2004, and has been at UoH since 2007. His research interests center around the nature and changing dynamics of inequality in the contemporary economies of India and China, on globalization and agrarian change in India, and consumption and wealth inequality during the period of economic reforms in India and China.
Our alumna, Kalpana Kannabiran, Director of the Council for Social Development in Hyderabad is another of the awardees. A founder member of the Asmita Resource Centre for Women, Kalpana has worked on rights of indigenous communities and with community based disability rights groups in rural areas. Her work has focussed on understanding the social foundations of non-discrimination, violence against women, and questions of constitutionalism and social justice in India. Kalpana’s MA in Sociology was from UoH, and her Ph D from JNU.
(The University of Hyderabad connection to the awards is stronger- another of the awardees, Surinder Jodhka, Professor of Sociology at JNU, started his career here at UoH, and Amartya Sen is the one recipient of an honorary doctorate from our University who has not yet visited our campus to pick up the degree … )
But this is not all. In the Centre for Health Psychology, Thomas Kishore has been selected for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Award given by the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists (IACP).
A Ph D from the Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, Kishore was at the National Institute of Mental Health, Kolkata prior to his joining the UoH a couple of years ago. The award is given to the Fellows of the Association who have contributed to the field of Child and Adolescent Mental health in India and will be presented at the next National Annual Conference of the IACP.
Great news to get as the academic year 2012-13 closes. Bravo all!