The centre is going to undertake research on the following specific issues in its upcoming year -
Establishing an Ecosystem for Renewable Resources-based Energy Generation in Uttarakhand: The rationale for this action research lies in the fact that despite technological developments and economic viability for several applications, ‘new’ renewables (i.e. biomass, geothermal, PV, small-scale hydro, solar thermal electric and wind) have been tapped only to a small fraction of its potential. The hypothesis under this research proposes that “when an ecosystem is created – primarily in the form of institutional linkages – both understanding and trustful relationships are developed facilitating project implementation. This can be enhanced by third party intervening in critical processes.
Employment Security, Organizational Sustenance and Productive Workplace in Rudrapur-Kashipur belt: Soon, many industrial organizations will become unviable when subsidies granted by Uttarakhand government end, creating massive job losses and negatively impacting local economy. The hypothesis of this action research proposes that “creation of `productive workplaces’ through labour-management collaboration saves jobs, helps introduction of new technology, products and services and thereby averts organizational demise”.
Agri Value Chains (AVC) as the transformers of livelihoods from farm to non-farm, particularly for small and marginal farmers and the landless: Structural transformation in rural India from farm to non-farm is a key to un-bottling rural growth potential. Literature and experience indicate that organizing farmers is the key to building a successful and economically viable value chain. The hypothesis here states that “New generation FPOs registered as producer companies will have a greater positive effect on their members’ livelihoods as compared to older generation cooperatives effect on their members’ livelihoods, due to superior alignment of incentives.”
This action research envisages looking at the earlier Farmer Producers’ Organizations (FPOs) such as Oilseeds Growers’ Cooperative Societies (OGCS) and more recently formed FPOs in two out of three states - AP, MP and Meghalaya registered as Producer Companies. If upheld, this hypothesis would provide a strong rationale for the government, financial institutions and NGOs to work more intensively with Producer Companies.
Innovative teaching methods supported by health &nutrition programs significantly enhance learning abilities of underprivileged children who have no or little access to education: While enrolment has gone up after implementation of RTE Act, dropout rates and learning outcomes have dropped alarmingly, with 46.3% of all children in Class V not able to read a Class II level text, and only 11-20% of Class V students able to do division in two major states.
This action research has two components: (1) The hypothesis here states that “when schools impart non-formal education including innovative teaching methods like teaching life skills and arts and performing arts to poorest children with no or little access to mainstream education, their learning abilities are at par with the best counterparts in regular schools. And (2) “Introducing health and nutrition programs enhances attendance and learning abilities irrespective of the above”.
Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRI) including urban local bodies (ULBs) of small towns, as enablers of livelihoods, particularly for the landless: The focus area is the livelihood options for the rural landless who migrate to cities. As they are unskilled and unconnected they have to start at the very bottom and many of them get engaged in "rag-picking", or informal urban solid waste management. The hypothesis is that “An intervention to upgrade rag-picking to more comprehensive solid waste management is beneficial for the urban poor. Where urban local bodies support these interventions, livelihood enhancement is higher.