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NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.


Department of Dalit Studies

The Department of Dalit Studies (DDS) has made great strides in research, training and advocacy for the rights of the Scheduled Caste communities in India ever since it was carved out as a separate ‘Dalit Unit’ three years ago. In particular, DDS has been fulfilling its mission to be at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of the marginalized groups in India by engaging in research on issues related to socio-economically vulnerable communities, especially Dalits, conducting training programmes for social organizations as well as grassroot social activists and publishing the monthly Hindi magazine Hashiye Ki Awaz, which is becoming the mouthpiece of the people relegated to the margins of society in India.
DDS has engaged in several issues related to marginalized communities in India. First, it has been actively engaged in research, training and advocacy on the issue of the implementation of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and also participated in a rally and dharna in support of the demand for more efficient implementation of SCSP. DDS also conducted training programmes at three locations in Delhi and in four states of North India to create awareness about accessing schemes under SCSP for the socio-economic upliftment of Scheduled Caste communities. DDS is also conducting the first study of operational contract workers of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in order to champion the cause of labour rights of most vulnerable workers, who often belong to marginalized communities in India.
Department of Human Rights & Law 
Department of Human Rights and Law, (DHRL) focuses on securing human rights through training, networking and advocacy. Since its inception, though the department is engaged in securing better protection and promotion of human rights particularly for people belonging to the oppressed groups of society. Through a process of synergy, it has been able to widen its range of activities. The department works towards the empowerment of marginalized groups through capacity-building on a wide range of human rights issues. As part of these overall goals, the department has been working with people’s movements, especially in the area of development induced displacement, like displacement caused by mining and projects in the energy sector, creation of infrastructure and special economic zones; and the consequent depletion of livelihood of especially the marginalized groups resulting in hunger and even hunger deaths. The department is also involved in the issue of right to life, livelihoods and shelter for victims of demolition of slums in various places of the National Capital Region. It works with various urban grassroots organizations and movements on the human rights concerns of the urban poor. The department also participates and supports various local organizations and initiatives in the area of human rights inquiry and advocacy in atrocities against dalits, tribals, minorities and other marginalized communities.
Department of Rural & Urban Studies 
Development of rural and urban sectors as an integrated concept is a broad subject of growth and development, and has been of paramount concern in India for its national development. This has its basis in social, economic, political, and cultural approaches to problems linked to transformation and change in rural areas, urban areas, and regions. It is one of the most important factors for the growth of the Indian economy.
The Department of Rural and Urban Studies (DRUS) plays an important role in responding to the socio-economic and political challenges faced by a newly emerging India. The mandate of this Department is to constantly scan and analyse the regional and national issues, and come up with various activities, programmes and, relevant research, evaluation and assessment studies, which then supports the task of advocacy of the Institute.
Department of Tribal Studies
Department of Tribal Studies (DTS) is one of the dedicated departments of the Department of Research of the Indian Social Institute. The DTS focuses on issues and problems pertaining to tribes across the country in a three-pronged strategy, namely research, capacity-building and various levels of advocacy. The issues range from human development and human rights to displacement, migration, trafficking, women, education, land alienation, identity, religion, philosophy, to conflict and peace, democracy, inclusion of the marginalized sections of society, constitutional provisions for scheduled tribes, and so on. The DTS collaborates with other departments of ISI and also various NGOs and organizations which believe that another world is still possible for the vulnerable groups. The DTS also seeks alliance with national and international bodies working on the issues of Indigenous Peoples in view of protecting and promoting tribal culture, ethos, ecological practices and tribal rights that call for protecting the Mother Earth on the face of indiscreet and rampant ecological degradation.
The department, in collaboration with the staff of the other dedicated research departments carries out a major capacity building programme on Social Integration through Holistic Development in eight states. The department actively engaged in advocating the cause of the adivasis especially with regard to migration, displacement, land alienation, trafficking, tribal rights violation etc.
Department of Women's Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had once said, ‘You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women’. The Beijing Declaration at the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) point 13 says, ‘Women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace.’
There are many examples of how much women can achieve when given the opportunity. In India there are women political leaders, astronauts, athletes and writers, who are role models for young women. But poverty and social inequalities still prevent many women from fulfilling their potential. The principle of gender equality is contained in the Indian Constitution, legal system and government policies. However, there is still a wide gap between these principles and the reality of the status of women in many communities across India. This is shown by low female literacy rates and high maternal mortality rates, particularly in rural areas. Attitudes need to change at the level of the family. Parents need to ensure that girls as well as boys receive health care, education, training, opportunities and access to resources.
The Department of Women’s Studies (DWS), Indian Social Institute, is committed to the mission of providing a dignified and decent human existence to women, by enhancing their capacities in terms of awareness-generation, participation in decision-making processes, raising questions to development paradigms and searching for alternatives. In line with the Institute’s vision towards a gender just society, its focus on women, especially rural women, is further advocated through women-based studies and training on themes, such as, women’s rights, gender justice, and gender sensitiveness.
Research Desk
The Research Desk (RDK) was formed in January 2013 to address and initiate research on the dedicated specific issues related to subaltern groups, which do not fall under the five dedicated Research Departments. The institute envisages the Desk to emerge as “Department for the Subalterns Studies”. Since its inception, the Desk is in a process to address the issues of different subaltern groups like Vulnerable Tribal Groups and the Half-widows in Jammu and Kashmir.
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