Since its establishment in 1979, IRMA has charted its roadmap to become a high performing knowledge institution. In its endeavour to pursue this goal, IRMA has been able to raise funds to create centres and centres of excellence. To begin with, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India funded IRMA to create five centres to support various academic and research activities to create and disseminate knowledge.
Considering the challenges faced by the rural sector in India, the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, is engaged in design, formulation, implementation, audit and evaluation of its rural development programmes for the sustainable and inclusive development of rural India. The Ministry also feels the need to associate and network with professional institutions to improve overall performance of programmes. IRMA being a premier rural management institute with the aim to cater to training and capacity development needs of the rural sector organizations as well as to provide critical inputs in policy making to the Ministry funded setting up of five centres as per the MoU signed. As per the stated objectives of the MoU, the centres are expected to meet the following objectives:
- Survey the best practices and innovations in formulation and implementation of rural development policies in the States and undertake their documentation and dissemination through workshops, conferences, seminars, symposiums, colloquia
- Undertake a comparative study of framework of governance across different states that show different levels of performance with framework of governance and recommended changes in governance for improving performance.
- Building capacity of the field level implementing agencies including districts and sub-district units for preparation of perspective plans under various flagship programmes of government in a convergence mode.
- Support the Ministry in leadership development of key functionaries in the Centre, States and the Districts by undertaking appropriately designed training and development programmes
The following centres have been in operation since 2013:
- Centre for Sustainable Livelihoods (CSL)
- Centre for Public Policy and Governance
- Centre for Rural Infrastructure and CSR
- Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprises (CSEE)
- Grameen Gyan Kosh (GGK)
In addition to these five centres, Verghese Kurien Centre of Excellence (VKCoE) has been set up, with initial support from GCMMF, in memory of its founder chairman Padma Vibhushan Dr. Verghese Kurien. This centre has been functioning since 2015.
With the idea of encouraging policy-oriented research, the Think Tank Initiative has been in operation since 2008 and the RBI Endowment Unit since 1986.
In its recent endeavour, Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI) has been instituted at IRMA in the month of December 2018. The broad objectives include:
- Explore financial inclusion space through continuous research and academic engagement with its network partners and society
- Create and disseminate knowledge through conduct of workshops, round tables, conferences and symposia
- Emerge as “think tank” in the sector and release policy briefs
- Emerge as a lead entity to undertake evaluation of strategies, processes and impacts of financial inclusion and release results for wider dissemination
- Engage in training and capacity building of identified stakeholders to ensure sustainable interventions