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Centre for Development Studies, Kerala

CDS was established in 1971 by the noted economist K. N. Raj, who was one of the founders of the Delhi School of Economics. At Delhi school of economics he hired my very old friend B. S. Baviskar as a sociologist, encouraging the engagement of sociology and economics. Raj was a Keynesian, who did not approve of Indian liberalisation, (rightly) fearing its impact on the poor. Here is a nice Raj quote borrowed from Wikipedia:  “I think that most of the things that welfare economists talk about are those that are obvious to all of us, especially the common people. In fact, even a pure philosopher and religious thinker like Sree Narayana Guru, who achieved a social transformation in Kerala, spoke about the very same things that welfare economists speak about today: education, health care facilities, even small-scale industries… Many people like me practised welfare economics without knowing that it was welfare economics, because we were anxious that economics should help the poor. But people who take economic theory literally would say that this is not our problem.” 

I was fortunate to be affiliated with CDS for three months during the autumn of 2010. CDS is an autonomous research institute aiming to promote research, teaching and training in disciplines relevant to development.

Kerala is one of the ‘leftist’ States in India, having had a strong regional democratic communist party, with the result that it has high levels of literacy and exemplary health records, with less inequality than in other parts of modern India.

CDS has a faculty of about 26. Its core activities are research, teaching and training. The 10 acre campus was designed and constructed by the famous architect, Dr.Laurie Baker, who was encouraged by Gandhi to remain in India after his UK training and build housing for the poor, which he did. The CDS Library is now one of the biggest in South India with over 125,000 titles in Economics and allied disciplines and subscribing to about 400 professional journals. The current Director is Professor Pulapre Balakrishnan.

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