The Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), an autonomous research institute, was registered as a scientific and educational charitable society under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, in the Union Territory (UT) of Chandigarh in July, 1978. The CRRID Society was collectively conceived by a group of like-minded friends drawn from different disciplines and backgrounds to promote research, publication, development, training and similar creative activities in the northwest region.

It is among the 27 research institutes in the country supported by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, and enjoys the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the northwestern states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and the UT of Chandigarh. CRRID was accorded the "national status" in 1984 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, in recognition of its contribution to the cause of social science research in the broader national perspective.

Since 1984 both the Government of India and the Government of Punjab have been supporting CRRID in its endeavors by providing regular financial grants on a matching basis through the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, and the Department of Planning, Government of Punjab, Chandigarh. In 1986, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, approved the setting up of a Population Research Centre at CRRID with 100 per cent grant from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

In addition to the above, CRRID has been granted recognition by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRD). It has been granted exemption u/s 80-G, 35 (I0 (iii) and 10 (23c) (iv) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 by the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

The Centre, founded by Shri Rashpal Malhotra, as its Director, had the rare distinction of having a veteran diplomat, thinker and administrator, Shri P N Haksar, as Chairman of its Governing Body and also Editor-in-Chief of its International Quarterly, Man and Development. After the passing away of Shri Haksar in 1998, a leading economist and then leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Professor Manmohan Singh was elected Chairman of the Governing Body and also President of the Society. He continued to guide the policies and programmes of the institute as its Chairman till he was elected to the highest office of the Prime Minister of India.

Currently internationally renowned mathematician and former Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Prof. R.P. Bambah is the Chairman of the Governing Body of the Centre. The Centre has grown from strength to strength with the dedication of its research, library, administrative, computer and other staff in building up an environment conducive to research, education, development and training activities being conducted over the past 25 years.