Regional Science emerged as a discipline in the 1950’s when some economists collectively were dissatisfied with the low level analysis of regional economics and felt necessary to elevate its standards. Late Prof. Walter Isard along with his fellow researchers and supporters vehemently promoted the scientific and objective analysis of regional economics and regional development in different parts of the world.
The Regional Science Association, India was initiated by Prof. Chittaranjan Pathak on September 07, 1967 at the Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal, India when he organized the First International Regional Science Conference at IIT, Kharagpur, which was attended by the Late Prof. Walter Isard, the then President of the Regional Science Association International. The Association in India functioned independently since then. The first President of the Regional Science Association, India was Late Prof. V. N. Prasad with Prof. C. R. Pathak and Late Prof. A. N. Bose as the secretaries. Over the years, the Association has grown from strength to strength, but is still a relatively compact organization, having 340 Life Members and about 195 Annual Members. It reaches out to 170 University Libraries. The main functions of the Association include organization of annual conferences and publication of its journal in the title of Indian Journal of Regional Science (IJRS). Premier Institutes, Universities and learning centres across the country have hosted the Regional Science Conference over the years.
The first Regional Science Conference was organised by Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur on 8-9 September 1967 with national and international delegates. The main topic of the conference was, ‘the application of regional science methods and techniques in attacking Indian planning problems’. The conference was inaugurated by Professor Walter Isard, Chairman of the Regional Science Association (International), Professor Eiji Kometani, Vice-President of the Japan Section of the Regional Science Association. Professor M.S. Thacker, the then member of the Planning Commission, Government of India also preside the conference.
This conference was a great success and led to the formation of Regional Science Association, India with the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Dr. V.N. Prasad as its first President; and Professor S.N. Sen, the then head of the Department of Economics, who later became the Vice-Chancellor, University of Calcutta; Dr. V.L. S. Prakasa Rao, the then head of the Department of Human Geography, University of Delhi, & Professor L.R. Vagale, the then head of the Department of Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, as its Vice-Presidents. Dr. A.N. Bose, the then Industrial Economist of Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organisation, Calcutta along with Dr. Chittaranjan Pathak were the secretaries.
Over the years, the Association has grown from strength to strength, but is still a relatively compact organisation, having 340 Life Members and about 135 Annual Members. It started publication of the bi-annual Indian Journal of Regional Science in 1968-69, aimed at publishing good quality research papers selected through a peer review process. It reaches out to 170 University Libraries. The Association holds its annual conferences on a regular basis. Premier Institutes, Universities and learning centres across the country have hosted the Regional Science Conference over the years.
The Association launched Indian Journal of Regional Science in 1968-69 after the successful first conference at IIT Kharagpur. The first volume was contained some of the papers presented in the First Seminar of the Regional Science Association, India. The journal was launched as the association’s academic vehicle to facilitate publishing quality research papers of the members of the Association. The journal is published in two issues per volume in single year – June & December. The Association encourages its members to conduct research with high standards.
The Association had successfully organised the Silver Jubilee Conference at IIT Kharagpur in 1992 to celebrate and published the papers presented at the conference in two issues.
So far the Association had successfully organised 50 Annual Conferences in various Universities and Institutionsacross India, some of them being IIT's, IIM's, Universities of Mumbai, Baroda, Calcutta, Tripura, Dharwad, Institutes like School of Planing and Architecture (SPA), NIRMA etc. The 49th Conference was merged with the World Congress organised at BITS Pilani K.K. Birla Goa campus on the 29 May-1 June, 2018. The Golden Jubilee conference was held at Institute for Excellence in Higher Education, Bhopal, India on 20-22 February 2019.
The Indian Regional Science Association is a full member of the International umbrella organisation, the RSA International, since 2017. Every member of the Indian Association is now a member of the International (RSAI) with a fee of 2 Euros, that opens up a world of benefits and opportunities to the regional science community.