India has experienced impressive economic growth over the last two decades. Yet the gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening. Our research support addresses this and many other challenges.
In India, as well as in other countries, economic issues are complicated by climate change. One project explores the links between climate change and migration from delta areas. It aims to inform government policy in this crucial area.
Reducing violence has also been an important priority. It is the focus of a new multi-funder initiative, Safe and Inclusive Cities, which addresses the safety of involuntarily displaced residents in the city of Cochin.
IDRC-supported research in India has also focused on women’s rights, security, and access to justice. In Punjab state, for example, research led to improved services for women victims of crime and better treatment of women in custody. We also help strengthen women’s ability to resist forced marriages, and help them access better economic and social conditions through an improved state-run daycare system.
Economic opportunities for Indian workers
India is a focus country for the multi-funder initiative Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women. This five-year program aims to generate new evidence for women’s economic empowerment and growth. In India, research will assess the effectiveness of the world’s largest government initiative — the Mahila Samakhya Programme — to empower women and improve their economic position.
Other IDRC employment-oriented research includes an initiative to help women entrepreneurs make a bigger contribution to the Indian economy. Our research funding supports enhanced labour standards to protect the lowest-level workers in the Indian economy, and ensure their enforcement.
Improving food security
The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, a joint initiative of IDRC and Global Affairs Canada, is addressing the economic damage and nutritional losses associated with high rates of food spoilage. The initiative works with communities and farmers to improve food processing and increase millet consumption. Its goal is to reduce under-nutrition in rural areas.
Improving food security has been a longstanding goal of our support in India. In the late 1990s, we funded rural telecentres — community centres offering access to the Internet, computers, and other technologies. Hundreds of thousands of villagers started using the telecentres to access fish and agricultural markets, and find other income-earning opportunities.
593 activities worth CA$145 million since 1974
Our support is helping to:
enhance research quality at 43 public policy institutions in India
create jobs for marginalized workers by boosting entrepreneurship
adapt to the impacts of climate change in the Arkavathy sub-basin in southern India and the Darjeeling watershed in the northeast
improve health and livelihoods through increased millet production and technologies
determine whether mobile phones, small loans, and business training can strengthen women-owned microenterprises