Knowledge and Practice for India as a Developing Country

19 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2013 Last revised: 4 Mar 2013

Date Written: March 2, 2013


Inequity of development outcomes such as in heath, education, incomes, access to resources, etc., is now an important issue which needs immediate attention. An assertion of this paper is that partly, these are consequences of a failure of knowledge systems and not correctable by purely macroeconomic arrangements. In our analysis, knowledge formation in Indian higher education institutions (and consequently society) is highly problematic and suffers from serious issues of practice, relevance, excessive merit, knowledge capture, aspirational dysfunction and so on. The second major issue is that, besides industry, the state and society are important (and complementary) players in knowledge formation and consumption. The development agenda and programs, such as drinking water or NREGA pose a huge demand on knowledge production, which is either unmet or is sought from the the "informal sector", i.e., NGOs, civil society organizations and so on. This supply and demand mismatch is a primary cause of poor developmental outcomes. We propose a modification to the current training of engineers and applied social scientists, and a focus on engagement between educational institutions and regional governance, as a way out.

Keywords: knowledge formation, knowledge capture, practice, science and empiricism, development, labelling and signalling, educational systems

JEL Classification: I20, I21, I28, I31, J24, J44, O32, O38

Suggested Citation

Sohoni, Milind, Knowledge and Practice for India as a Developing Country (March 2, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Milind Sohoni (Contact Author)

IIT Bombay ( email )

IIT Bombay, Powai
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076


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