The Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) was established as an autonomous research centre in 1980. The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India) recognized it as a national institute in the year 1986 and included the centre in its network of institutions. Conducting inter disciplinary research in analytical and applied areas of social sciences, encompassing socio-economic and other aspects of development, constitute the predominant activities of the centre. Its sphere of research activity has expanded beyond the state of Telangana covering other areas of the country as well.
The Centre has been registered under Section 6(1) (a) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976 which enables the Centre to accept contributions from the external agencies for carrying out research work. The CESS has also been approved by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Director General of Income Tax (Exemptions), Calcutta under the rule 6 of the Income Tax Rules Section 35(1) (iii) of the Income Tax Act 1961.