The Centre for Development Practice operates under the aegis of the Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Delhi which has been set up by the Government of the NCT of Delhi. The Centre is envisaged as a research, documentation, capacity building, and reflection site for the developmental sector scholars and agents, engaged with issues like rural livelihoods, education, governance and health. The Centre for Development Practice is also expected to serve as a nucleus to deepen and further AUD’s engagement with social development. CDP shall also work with the awareness that ‘development’ as a concept has multiple connotations and the complexity of its many contours and trajectories have become an area of intense contestation in the social sciences and in what has now come to be known as the ‘developmental sector’. Further, the idea and practice of development in India has been largely constructed in terms of the discourses of European modernity; we shall incessantly ask: do we need to imagine our futures differently; do we need to look for resources – resources for a habitable future – elsewhere, perhaps in non-western locations, perhaps in our own past. Needless to say, the extant practice of development has failed to address the lived experiences and the livelihoods-health-education-governance issues of a large segment of the Indian rural (and urban) poor since independence. This does not mean that developmental initiatives of the Sate and the non-State sector has not made any change in the lives of the rural (and urban) poor; but such changes, fostered by primarily mainstream notions of development, have not been sustained, deep-rooted and participatory, especially when it comes to poverty alleviation, cultural and political empowerment, and self-determination. The ‘rural’, even if in transition, continue to be seen as ‘backward’ and ‘under-developed’. CDP wishes to give birth to Development Practice as a field/discipline through:

(a) an examination of

    (i) the unexamined ‘underdevelopment of the rural’ and the

    (ii) equally unexamined ‘royal road to Development’, and

(b)    the setting up of a long-term and intimate relationship with the rural through a ten month immersion-based-training in rural contexts

wishes to give birth to a Development Sector Professional who would have the capacity to initiate transformative social action in rural India. The MPhil in Development Practice attempts to introduce each year into the development sector a cohort of 25 professionals imbued with alternative visions of development and innovative grassroots level action plans borne out of

(a)    a critical-analytical engagement with extant theories of development

(b)   rural immersion

(c)    praxis-based learning

(d)   self-reflection

(e)    engaged scholarship