Institute for Social and Economic Change

Established in 1972 by Professor V K R V Rao, ISEC is an All-India Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Training in the Social Sciences

Dr. R S Deshpande – isec

Dr. R S Deshpande


Dr. R S Deshpande

Professor R S Deshpande is currently Honorary Visiting Professor, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore. He was formerly Rajiv Gandhi National Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), and before that Director of ISEC. Dr Deshpande holds a Bachelor of Science, and Masters’ Degree with a Ph.D. in Economics. Initially, he worked as a faculty member at ISEC till 1988, and thereafter shifted to Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE), Pune as Reader in Economics. At GIPE he also worked as Registrar of the Institute. During his tenure at GIPE, he brought in significant research project grants to GIPE to add a new Girls Hostel and Extension to then existing Library. In 1998, he returned to ISEC to join as Professor and Head of Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Centre. At ADRTC, he steered the mega study on “Farmer at the Millennium” and completed many research studies. He was a continuous Policy Supporting academician to both Govt of Karnataka and Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India. His specialisations include, Agricultural Development Policy, Watershed Development, Political Economy of Agrarian Changes, WTO – Agriculture & Trade, Rural Policy and Poverty, Economics of Drought-prone Areas and Rain-fed Regions, Economics of Irrigation, Economics of Caste, Policy Analysis and Applied Econometrics. Professor Deshpande is a recipient of PNASF Gold Medal for his contributions to Agricultural Policy and Sir M Visvesvaraya Global Leadership Award in Karnataka for Excellence in Education. He was the sole architect of Karnataka’s Agricultural Policy 2006 and Chairperson of Mission Group on Agriculture and Rural Development of Govt of Karnataka. He was among the first two awardees as “Fellow of the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics”, along with Prof Y K Alagh in 2011. Professor Deshpande received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, where he was educated. He was a member of Search Committees for Vice Chancellors for five Universities and Directors for ICSSR institutions. Prof Deshpande was the President of the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Platinum Jubilee Conference, held at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana in November, 2015.

Professor Deshpande authored 17 books and more that 110 research papers published in national and international journals. Among his books are: Agrarian Crisis and Farmer Suicides, Where Water Seeps, NGOs and farmers’ Movements in India, Moon in the Mirror: Farmers and MSP in Karnataka; are a few. He supervised Ph D theses of 11 students and has been principle advisor to another 18 students. His students are placed at very high positions in Academics. Professor Deshpande was invited as visiting Professor to the University of Ottawa, Canada; Saskatchewan Institute of Policy Planning, Regina, University of Paris, France, Lund University, Sweden. He worked as a consultant to a few organizations that include the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Land Equity Australia etc.

Prof Deshpande served as Director of ISEC from 21st August 2008 to 20th August 2013. In his tenure as Director of ISEC, he generated significantly strong corpus funds and added a spacious Girls Hostel, New Faculty Block, Library Extension, Beautiful garden and a Digital Library. Apart from these he was instrumental in developing ISEC Landscape, renovating the Office Buildings, Rainwater and Solar power harvesting. Number of PhD fellowships increased during his tenure so also research projects and funds. Prof Deshpande initiated a unique Social Science Talent Search Scheme for bringing forth the talents in Social Sciences.

Professor Deshpande has contributed significantly as a member of the many policy bodies which include Advisory Body of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, WTO Cell of Government of Karnataka, Committee on Farmers’ Suicides appointed by the Government of Karnataka, Mission on Agriculture and Marketing, GoK etc. He currently holds Dr Nanjundappa Chair Professorship at CMDR, Dharwad and Professor Emeritus, at CMR University, Bangalore, in honorary capacity. He is member of many Boards of Studies, Governing Boards of Institutions/ Universities and prestigious Government Committees. Apart from all these he is a poet and an artist.


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