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Careers In Public Policy – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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career in public policy

Event Report
Reet

Careers in Public Policy, an Online National Monsoon Workshop Program, a Three-Day
Immersive Online Introductory Career Counselling & Awareness Certificate Training
Workshop was conducted on on 22nd, 23rd and 24th August, 2023 by IMPRI, Impact and
Policy Research Institute, New Delhi in collaboration with PPI, Public Policy India.

Day 1| Careers in Public Policy

Professor Mukul Asher led a comprehensive exploration of public policy education in
India, uniting students, academics, and policymakers. The session commenced by
highlighting the significance of Sanskrit literature in India’s literary history, underlining the
role of diverse knowledge sources. It stressed the crucial connection between knowledge and
openness in public policy, urging civil servants and stakeholders to maintain openmindedness for effective policymaking.
The discussion extended to the selection of individuals for public service roles and the
alignment of culture with the values of a developed nation. It emphasized the impact of
media in the digital age and the need to distinguish credible information from
misinformation. Karl Popper’s “Paradox of Tolerance” was introduced, underscoring
empathy and judgment in maintaining a tolerant society, aligning with the theme of
balanced decision-making in public policy.
Swami Vivekananda’s vision for India was discussed, emphasizing modernization while
preserving traditional values. The concept of the “great convergence” between advanced and
developing nations highlighted the need for global knowledge and adaptability.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle served as a reminder to be cautious about biases and
perceptions in public policy. The session concluded with an exploration of the new
governance framework, emphasizing a shift towards outcomes and results, requiring a
unique mindset and skill set.

Professor Asher invoked Swami Vivekananda’s call to “Arise,
awake, and stop not till the goal is reached” as a motivator for those pursuing careers in
public policy. This session fostered a forward-looking perspective on public policy
education’s influence on India’s future. The insights gained will be widely shared to inspire
individuals in the field and inform policymakers and educational institutions adapting to the
evolving landscape, encouraging further dialogues and collaborations for India’s public
policy education.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Mr. Yash Agarwal delved into the realm of public policy in India, shedding light on its
structure and exploring various career opportunities within the field. The discussion was
divided into two main segments: understanding the structure of public policy and examining
career prospects.
In the first segment, the policy-making process was simplified into five crucial pillars
represented by the acronym “IDIMA,” which stands for Ideation, Design, Implementation,
Monitoring, and Evaluation. These pillars play essential roles in policy development and
execution. Ideation involves recognizing a need or problem, while design focuses on framing
the policy framework. Implementation concerns the actual execution of the policy,
monitoring tracks its progress, and evaluation assesses its impact. Policy advocacy, or
lobbying, was also discussed as a vital part of the process, primarily linked to ideation and
design.

The second part of the session focused on career opportunities in public policy in India,
highlighting the evolving nature of the field. Various career paths were explored, including
research, public sector roles, legislative positions, private sector opportunities, policy
consulting, social impact work, and positions within supra-national entities like the United
Nations and World Bank. Specializing in a specific vertical within public policy, such as
gender, healthcare, or environment, was emphasized.

Understanding the diverse functions and roles in public policy, ranging from research to legal aspects, was also discussed. Attendees were encouraged to gain early experience in different spaces, functions, and verticals before specializing. This approach enables a comprehensive understanding of the field. Mr. Agarwal stressed the importance of self-assessment to identify and address skill and knowledge gaps, ultimately excelling in the world of public policy in India.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Day 2| Careers in Public Policy

Dr. Nivedita P. Haran, a distinguished bureaucrat, provided valuable insights into the
evolving landscape of public policy, emphasizing the role of emerging tools and the crucial
importance of empathy in public service.
The session began with a focus on the introduction of new tools available to policymakers in
public policy and public service. Dr. Haran stressed the vital role of public servants in
effectively executing government policies aimed at enhancing the quality of life, economic
growth, GDP increase, and reducing inequality.
Dr. Haran discussed various tools reshaping public policy, such as the Direct Benefit
Transfer (DBT), digital payment platforms, and drone technology, all of which have
streamlined policy processes.
Leveraging technology for governance, she highlighted the advantages of GPS surveys,
transparency through tamper-proof land records, and the role of social media platforms in
reaching citizens and disseminating information.
Data collection and monitoring, now made more scientific and transparent through
dashboards, were noted as pivotal components of effective policy-making. Dr. Haran
discussed the potential of big data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) in governance and
project implementation, creating new career opportunities in public policy.
The importance of empathy in public service was emphasized, acknowledging that while
technology can handle technical aspects, face-to-face interactions require personal
understanding. Dr. Haran urged public servants to prioritize addressing complaints and
grievances promptly.
Dr. Nivedita P. Haran’s session provided a comprehensive overview of emerging dimensions
in public policy, focusing on innovative tools, technology-driven governance, and the
enduring significance of empathy in public service. It reinforced the importance of blending
technological advancements with the human touch to create policies that genuinely benefit
society.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Ms. Urvashi Prasad explored the diverse avenues and burgeoning opportunities within
the field of public policy. Ms. Prasad highlighted the nuances, challenges, and transformative
potential of this domain, offering valuable insights for aspiring policy professionals.
Ms. Prasad commenced the session by elucidating the extensive range of career prospects
within the realm of public policy. Beyond traditional roles within government, she
emphasized the significance of roles in think tanks and research organizations. Ms. Prasad
underscored the importance of comprehending that public policy can be a demanding field,
often marked by slow progress.

It necessitates the consideration of multiple stakeholders and
the potential unintended consequences of policy decisions. To illustrate this point, she
referenced an example wherein incentivizing institutional deliveries led to an unintended
rise in cesarean sections. In this section, Ms. Prasad delved into the complex terrain of unintended consequences in public policy. Using the instance of cesarean sections, she expounded on how well-intentioned policies could inadvertently lead to undesirable outcomes, such as unnecessary surgeries. She stressed the importance of a holistic perspective when making policies, requiring careful deliberation of pros and cons while considering the diverse stakeholders involved.
Acknowledging the multifaceted nature of policy-making, Ms. Prasad emphasized the
necessity of balancing dimensions such as equity, efficiency, and cultural and political
factors. She also highlighted the wealth of opportunities for young professionals to engage
with various levels of government and collaborate with diverse stakeholders in influencing
public policy. She stressed the importance of staying connected to the ground-reality and
acquiring on-the-ground knowledge to ensure policies benefit the maximum number of
people while minimizing harm. Ms. Prasad concluded by encouraging the audience to pursue
careers in public policy, both within and outside the government, emphasizing the immense
impact that dedicated individuals can have.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Shri Amit Dubey initiated the session by discussing the significant investments made by
the Indian government in artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum research, positioning India
as a prominent player in AI innovation. He recognized the transformative impact of AI and
its potential implications for employment, particularly in relation to the vast amounts of data
collected by tech giants like Facebook and Google to fuel AI systems. The session explored
AI’s diverse applications, its potential impact on various industries, and raised questions
about AI’s potential self-awareness.
Mr. Dubey delved into various AI applications, from AI-generated content to its influence on
industries like publishing, modeling, law enforcement, and HR interviews. He highlighted
AI’s potential to enhance human creativity, disrupt industries, and encourage humans to
maximize their cognitive abilities. The discussion also focused on the challenges of
traditional education systems, emphasizing the need for skill development to compete with
AI in the job market.
The session touched on the use of AI tools for bureaucrats, demonstrating how AI can be
used for tasks like article generation and addressing questions about AI’s role in
bureaucracy, privacy concerns, and data collection. It clarified how AI understands the
human brain through language, expressions, and emotions rather than direct access to the
brain.
Mr. Dubey stressed the importance of engaging with policy experts when formulating
regulations and discussed AI’s integration into daily life, from music creation to voice
cloning. The session raised questions about AI-generated prosthetic limbs and the challenges
of policing the metaverse, emphasizing the need for new guidelines and frameworks to
address emerging metaverse-related issues. The speaker highlighted the importance of a
dedicated metaverse regulation framework and accountability mechanisms to address
potential issues. In summary, the session provided a comprehensive exploration of AI’s
evolving landscape and its multifaceted impact on various aspects of society.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Day 3| Careers in Public Policy

Mr. Sandeep Chachra, drawing upon his three-decade career, underscored the central
role of community engagement in shaping effective public policies. He stressed the
importance of empowering communities through agenda-setting, highlighting the need for
communities themselves to determine policies that directly impact their lives. The speaker
emphasized the significance of participatory action research in empowering communities to
set their own agendas, ensuring that policies are inclusive and representative.
Public interest litigations were discussed as catalysts for influencing public policies. Mr.
Chachra showcased case studies where strategic legal interventions led to progressive policy
changes, exemplified by the landmark Badulla Mukti Morcha v. Union of India case in the
1980s, which focused on eradicating child labour.

The session underscored the pivotal role public policy professionals can play in leveraging legal mechanisms for positive change. The discussion delved into policy formulation, emphasizing the multifaceted skill set required for this phase. The speaker highlighted the need for policy professionals to possess competencies in data gathering, analysis, historical context, and the evaluation of international best practices. Policy formulation necessitates the synthesis of complex information and in-depth research, as exemplified by Mr. Chachra’s experience working on labor codes in India.
Policy adoption, a critical phase in the policy-making process, was identified as demanding
negotiation skills, consensus-building, and a commitment to the greater good. The urban
homeless shelters case was cited as an example of policy adoption driven by public interest
litigation, underlining the importance of collaboration between communities, activists, and
policy professionals. The evolving role of policy implementation was discussed, highlighting the opportunity for public policy professionals to contribute to this phase. Effective policy implementation involves overcoming challenges, adapting policies as necessary, and ensuring intended goals are achieved. Policy professionals can work with vulnerable communities to address climate change and its impacts.
The importance of policy evaluation was stressed in the policy cycle. Evaluating the impact of
policies and gathering feedback from affected communities ensures that policies are
continually refined and improved to meet evolving societal needs.

In conclusion, the webinar offered a deep understanding of the collaborative nature of public
policy and community engagement. It emphasized the potential for policy professionals to
influence public policies guided by principles of justice, equity, and inclusivity. The future of
public policy was envisioned as a collaborative effort between policy professionals,
communities, and diverse stakeholders to drive positive change and create policies that serve
the greater good of society.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Mr. Yash Aggarwal’s session served as an insightful guide for those aspiring to build a
meaningful career in the public policy sector in India. The discussion covered crucial
principles and strategies for navigating the constantly evolving landscape of public policy.
The session began by addressing the impact of automation on the workforce, highlighting the
growing importance of human-centric skills in an age where technology is reshaping
workplaces. Skills such as communication, critical thinking, stakeholder management, and
empathy, often referred to as the “human element,” were emphasized as fundamental for
success in the evolving job market.

The ability to effectively communicate, think critically, and empathize is now more vital than ever, as these skills cannot be automated. A key theme was the importance of aligning one’s career with genuine passions. Attendees were encouraged to explore various fields and sectors through internships to discover their true interests. Specialization in an area of genuine concern was presented as a significant competitive advantage. Following one’s passion leads to job satisfaction and provides a unique edge in the professional arena.
Creating and maintaining a strong online presence was another pivotal aspect of the
discussion. Mr. Aggarwal introduced the concept of “surface area” to enhance visibility and
facilitate collaboration and support. Cultivating an online presence through personal
websites and active LinkedIn profiles was encouraged. Effective networking strategies, such
as reaching out to professionals and articulating potential contributions in collaborative
efforts were highlighted. The concept of proactive career development was a central theme. Attendees were urged to take the initiative by reaching out to individuals and organizations aligned with their interests, as proactivity in career development is essential in a competitive job market. The session concluded with a three-step process for building strong credentials: awareness of essential credentials, effective presentation of existing credentials through well-crafted resumes and profiles, and the creation of new credentials through practical experiences.

This process is critical in building a strong foundation for a successful career in public policy.
In a dynamic job market, the ability to adapt, develop soft and technical skills, and align
one’s career with passions is paramount. The session empowered individuals to confidently
explore their interests, enhance their online presence, create opportunities, and build a
strong foundation of credentials, ultimately guiding them toward successful careers in
public policy.
To read a more elaborate session report: click here

Acknowledgment: This event report is written by Reet.

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