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CSSSC–UNICEF (INDIA) Social Inclusion Cell
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The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta in partnership with UNICEF (West Bengal Office) has established the Social Inclusion Cell to pursue the larger goal of improving the situation of socially excluded communities, especially children and women in the state. The following are the specific objectives of the cell:
  • Collecting evidence through research on various aspects of social exclusion and Influencing policy and service delivery through wider dissemination of evidences.
  • Functioning as a ‘Knowledge Hub’ by continuously collecting, organizing and analyzing information on social exclusion and making them available to users.
  • Maintaining a network of thinkers, NGOs, Policy makers and civil society organizations involved in inclusive policy making and service delivery.
The following faculty members of CSSSC forms the core team
Prof. Sugata Marjit (Nodal Faculty,Director and RBI Professor of Economics, CSSSC).
Dr. Saibal Kar (Fellow in Economics).
Dr. Somnath Ghoshal (Fellow in Geography).
Dr. Pranab Kumar Das (Fellow in Economics).
External Members
Dr. Suman Singh, UNICEF, West Bengal.
Mr. Dilip Ghosh, Special Secretary, P and R Development, Government of West Bengal
Prof. Nirmala Banerjee, Sachetana and Former Professor,CSSSC.
Scope and Coverage

Despite serious developmental efforts many communities still remain excluded from the benefits that have otherwise accrued to a large number of Indians. It should be interesting to note that some of these communities are not the by–products of the relatively new liberal economic policies that undoubtedly created a significant transformation in the socio–economic conditions all over, with economic and social disparity exacerbated over the last decade, rather are chronically excluded from economic and social benefits. Studies in this ambit clearly delineate that the dearth of opportunities plaguing excluded households translate into its worst possible form when it comes to ascertaining the conditions of children belonging to such families.

Certain regions and communities despite geographic, economic and cultural proximity to prosperous towns in India that drew large benefits from the recent growth and development, have traditionally been neglected and left out of the process of development. Several reasons can be forwarded for this state of affairs and a large literature dealing with exclusion and child welfare has surfaced in the recent past. Some of these studies argue that a good deal of marginalization due to exclusion can be attributed to historical reasons and found in caste classification, tribal isolation, low levels of technology in farming or animal husbandry and the lack of adequate levels of literacy.

The Research Cell is an ambitious effort to understand the deeply entrenched causes behind exclusion of households and its implications for the constituent members within each such unit with a specific emphasis on the conditions of children with due weightage on the gender related issues. In other words, the sole target group for this research initiative are the excluded children and all policy propositions shall specifically deal with the elements that improve the conditions of living for the children.

In this connection the Cell shall systematically work in consultation with the government officials from the Departments of Panchayats and Rural Development and Planning and Development with occasional dialogues with other relevant departments within Government of West Bengal.

Click here for detailed activities of the Social Inclusion Cell

Initial Findings (Pilots)
Knowledge Hub and Annotated Bibliography
The core purpose of the knowledge hub is to implore on the cardinal structural trajectories of the prevalent exclusionary mechanisms and inclusive tendencies. This dichotomous relationship between the two extremities is not based on merits of mutual exclusion but on the real possibility of coexistence. The relative and not absolute nature of social deprivation calls into question the various processes that facilitate a departure from the ‘threshold’ level of ‘social exclusion’. Though in our case, the field in question will be based in the most recognizably disadvantageous terrains of the state of West Bengal, the forces which come into play in creating and sustaining such pockets of discrimination gather greater steam in the context of the larger ‘dynamics of minority exclusion in various fields’. In recent history, their marginality in terms of involvement in the public domain is met with organized politico–economic efforts to redress the deprived status of these communities and sections of people.

Through new modes of interventions, efforts are made to direct the process of development more evenly to include those who may have never got a chance to overcome their sense of alienation. But, in a country with deep history of prejudice and stigmatization, this dichotomous relationship between forces of inclusion and exclusion is not mutually exclusive, as ‘socially excluded groups often do participate but on unequal terms’.

Hence, while determining the scope of readings on this subject, apart from studying the nature of social development measures and its broader epistemic underpinnings, I have tried to schematically draw out the most identifiable parameters of social exclusion–inclusion. The following are the areas of our attention:

  • Epistemic underpinnings
  • Participation in development: Development through participation
  • Location of governance
  • Poverty and livelihood
  • Stratification and exploitation
  • Deprivation of health and education
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