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International Conference on Bihar & Jharkhand: Shared History to Shared Vision

ADRI Silver Jubilee 2016-17

Call for paper

International Conference

Bihar and Jharkhand: Shared History to Shared Vision

March 24-27, 2017/ Patna

Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), an ICSSR-recognized institute, invites scholars to present a research paper at the International Conference on ‘Bihar and Jharkhand: Shared History to Shared Vision'.

A 200-word abstract and your brief CV (maximum 1-page) can be e-mailed to: by August 31, 2016.

Please write ‘Abstract/Conference-3' in the subject line of your email and send your files as attachment. We will inform you of the outcome by September 30. We shall not be in a position to reply to your queries in case your abstract is not selected.

Themes: 1. Bihar and Jharkhand: What Transcends Political Separation; 2. Impact of Colonialism on Bihar and Jharkhand; 3. Ecology, Environment and Natural Disasters; 4. Challenge of Governance: Growth, Development and Social Justice; 5. Tribal Scenario: Status Quo and New Directions; 6. Protest, Resistance and Extremism; 7. Mobility in the Region over Time; 8. Heroes and Unsung Heroes; 9. Hindi Heartland: The Cultural Construct. 

We will publish the selected papers and would be happy to sponsor participants' travel and local hospitality for attending the conference.

Concept note

Bihar and Jharkhand, right from ancient times, have attracted scholars' attention for various reasons. The region that presently encompasses these two states holds histories that shape them even today. The region is remembered for its numerous achievements in ancient period, like the establishment of the first democracy of the world in Lichhavi, or the place where Buddhism first emerged, or the great centre of learning in Nalanda. Even during the colonial period, the two states played a stellar role in India's independence struggle, starting with the Champaran struggle of Mahatma Gandhi. But this image of the two states, a land of glorious past, has now been overtaken by another one - underlying its serious social and economic disadvantages and the complex socio-political forces that guide its destiny. Admittedly, the two states have experienced some positive changes in the recent past, but both have a long way to go before they can emerge as regions of prosperity and enlightenment.

Some of the socio-economic and cultural differences within the region cumulated in the partition of the region in the year 2000 and the formation of the two separate federal states. However, shared histories of development and decline continue to impact the region in the present time. The borders have separated the region politically but have not disunited the states socio-economically and/or culturally. As neighbouring states with shared pasts, the borders are porous, both literally and symbolically.   

Bihar is one of the regions that have very limited natural endowments, thus, making the task of development demand extraordinary human effort. Before its partition in 2000, the state had enormous mineral wealth in its southern part, now Jharkhand; but even after the division, the present Bihar has large tracts of fertile land in its Gangetic plain. But, thanks to its agrarian history, dictated largely by the infamous ‘Permanent Settlement' regime introduced by the colonial administration, the growth potential of its land resources is far from being fully realised. Educational backwardness and infrastructural poverty - the result of state's indifference during pre- as well as post-independence period - are the two crucial needs that have turned the agenda of development even more challenging in present Bihar.

The story of Jharkhand is not much different, as its natural abundances have been unable to meet its people's aspirations. No reassuring answers have appeared on the way out of this dismay. Its industries are churning out wealth that is revitalizing the capital, but it has left much of labour unattended. Such an opaque vision of development will only reinforce frictions in society. The state seriously needs to mull what would satisfy its people, and create a model of its own, if necessary. It also needs to ask how it's preparing to cope with identities.

The polity of both Bihar and Jharkhand is sharply divided along class, caste and tribal identities. Unlike some other states, the political process here has deep roots that had started parallel to India's independence struggle and various radical mobilisations. And, there were also caste-based mobilisations that probably started with certain social objectives but later acquired strong political implications. Some have witnessed an element of political democratisation in recent socio-political trends, while others underlined disconnect between democracy and development in that very trend.

Jharkhand and Bihar are now at a crossroad and one wonders which path they would tread in the near future. In their conference presentations, scholars will be invited to deliberate on above-mentioned shared histories of development, agitation, decline and divergences, muse on the present and speculate about the future of the region, based on recent state-specific experiences.

Call for paper

International Conference
Social Statistics in India

June 24-27, 2016
Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), an ICSSR-recognised institute, is celebrating its 25 years in 2016. As part of the year-long celebrations, a series of seminars and conferences have been planned.

The organisation has produced some of the high quality research in the field of development economics and political economy since its inception in 1991, particularly in the context of Bihar. Some of the luminaries in the field of economics and social sciences, including Professor Amartya Sen, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Professor Barbara Harris-White, Professor Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Francine R Frankel, have delivered the institute's Foundation Day Lecture in the past. 

We invite scholars to present a paper in the International Conference on Social Statistics in India. Abstract and your brief CV (1-page) can be e-mailed to: by October 31, 2015. Please write ‘Abstract/Conference-2' in the subject line and send your file as an attachment in the MS-Word (1997/2003) format. Please use Times New Roman in 12 point size, with 1.5 spacing while typing. We discourage hard copy submissions.

Upon selection, you would be required to send the complete paper by December 31, 2015.

Sub-themes of the conference are as follows: Conceptual Base of Social Statistics; Institutional Base of Statistical System in India; Issues in Professional Competence; New Benchmarking in Social Statistics in India

We will publish all the selected papers.

We will be happy to sponsor participants' travel and local hospitality for attending the conference.

  Concept Note

India is fortunate to have a statistical system that has a long history. 'Statistical Abstract of British India' was published as early as 1862, and the first population census was conducted in 1881. Several initiatives were taken thereafter, and when India became independent in 1947 it had a statistical system that was much more informative than those in other developing countries. Later, to strengthen state planning (the core of India's development strategy then), the country's statistical system was expanded and professionally strengthened through various steps. However, over the years, certain limitations of the system have increasingly become serious, thereby limiting not only its contributions to the decision-making in administration, but also its role as the most important source of data for research. 

An important initiative in strengthening the existing statistical system in India was the creation of National Statistical Commission in 2006 with an expansive mandate- one of which is to ‘evolve measures for improving public trust in official statistics'. This issue of the lack of adequate trust in official statistics is particularly serious for social statistics that relates to the status and progress in human development in the country. The dissatisfaction arises from several angles. For one, the quality of data is sometimes unreliable, with the method of collection being improper. In the face of resource constraints or inadequate supervision, the field personnel sometimes replace observation with judgments to generate unreliable data. Secondly, social statistics are generally available at the national or state level butthe information on sub-state/district level is very limited. This stands in the way of analyzing intra-state variations in development, a wide phenomenon in many states of India. Finally, there have also recently emerged new areas whose link to development is substantial, but they do not fall within the country's social statistics system parameterized long ago. The status of environment is one such area, as is focused data on gender disparities. Indeed, in the wake of an already visible information explosion and increasing role of knowledge capital in many societal actions, the ambit of social statistics needs to be extended further.       

Unfortunately, opportunities where users and collectors of social statistics could discuss these limitations are very limited. The proposed conference is expected to create one such opportunity, where the participants would identify the limitations of social statistics in India, explore the sources of these limitations and, finally, suggest pathways to overcome them.


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