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Fundamentals Of PUBLIC POLICY – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Fundamentals of PUBLIC POLICY

Event Report
Bhanvi

A Four-Week Immersive Online Introductory Certificate Training Course on Fundamentals of PUBLIC POLICY was organised by #IMPRI as a special initiative in the month of March from March (3, 4, 10,11, 17, 18, 24, 25), 2023.

The sessions were inaugurated by Fiza Mahajan, a researcher at IMPRI, who welcomed and introduced the speakers and eminent panellists. The course, over one month, involved detailed discussion on various topics. The Conveners for the course were Dr Simi Mehta, CEO & Editorial Director, IMPRI, and Dr Arjun Kumar, Director at IMPRI.

The participants for the program were from all parts of the country and came from various fields like academics, research, corporations, civil bodies, practitioners, and many more. For the complete list, visit our participants list and details page.

Introduction

Unknowingly and knowingly, public policy interacts and intervenes in all of our lives. Understanding policy becomes convoluted because it operates in such a vast realm; this course aims to declutter it by expounding public policy’s warrants, caveats, and numerous facets. Emphasizing the impact of policies on the stakeholders, their intended and unintended consequences and analysis thereof.

Week 1 Day 1 | March 3, 2023

The first day of Fundamentals of PUBLIC POLICY was taken by experts Prof Mukul Asher, and Dr Nivedita P. Haran.

The first session of the course was taken by Prof Mukul Asher, Former Professor, at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; and Visiting Distinguished Professor at IMPRI. He mentioned the grey areas that civil servants lack while formulating public policy as they lack quality data, poor economic reasoning, and poor legal backing. Then Intelligently he described the art of public policy with the help of a graph in which various indicators were highlighted such as population density concentrated in some parts of the country especially Uttar Pradesh and accordingly policies will be formulated, he pointed out the development activities near coastal areas vai Sagarmala, Bharatmala. Moving further he mentioned various challenges associated with public policy and its proper implementation due to the linguistic culture present in India. At the end, he mentioned major criteria for evaluating public policy.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The second session of Day 1 was taken by who is the Former Additional Chief Secretary, of the Government of Kerala. She began with the definition of Public Policy as what actually Public Policy means. Further, she described that Public policy is a practical exercise that is performed at several institutions and systems. She also discussed the various essential components of formulating public policy along with the process of policy-making in real life.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 1 Day 2 | March 4, 2023

The second day of the course was taken by Ms Urvashi Prasad, Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, and Shri Bhartendra Singh Baswan.

Ms Urvashi Prasad discussed the topic of Practitioners’ Experiences of Public Policy by highlighting the dilemmas associated with public policy formulation at the practical level by taking into consideration the example of COVID-19. She further strengthened the discussion by taking into consideration various Uncertainties Related to Healthcare with respect to both physical and human infrastructure. She also discussed the importance of behavioural change while formulating public policy. She concluded by saying that Policy Making is not about the right or wrong decision but it involves the intricacies of making an informed decision by choosing the right option as a plan is to choose and one has to work on this in public policy making.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The second session was taken by Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI on Data and Public Policy. He set the tone of the discussion by discussing data revolution as it has taken place in the handset of the “H-K-M-B-T” series that is in the range of hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, and trillions. He also highlighted the importance of the Impact of Data on Public Policy. He further discussed the cost associated with data with respect to Decreasing Marginal Returns and Increasing Marginal Benefits along with scope economies of scale. He also shared the titbits related to the maintenance of data and concluded  3 I Concept for People to Policy works on the grounds of an Integrated database, along with citizen-centric Insights and Identification and monitoring of the impact created by those policies.  

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Session 3 was taken by Shri Bhartendra Singh Baswan on Public Policy Drivers. He discussed the concept of Public Policy Drivers by delving into the process of policymaking that starts with consulting the policymakers who prepare a white paper that is presented in the legislation and on the contrary opposition prepares the black paper. Then he discussed the issues associated with public policy which were ideology, accountability, and Populism. He concluded by providing a solution to better implementation of public policy and various steps that need to be taken care of for the same. 

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 2 Day 3 | March 10, 2023

The day 3 of the session was taken by Dr A. Amarender Reddy, Mr V. Ramkrishnan, and Dr Munawer Khwaja.

Dr A. Amarender Reddy initiated his session on the topic of Agriculture, Rural and Economic Policy by drawing a comparison between agriculture at the time of the British Era to its evolution in modern times. During his discussion, he also briefly discussed the three farm laws and their implications on the trends of agriculture thereafter along with their impact on farmers’ income. In the end, Dr. Reddy suggested some solutions to balance out this situation. One of the important amongst them was to reform the Minimum Support Price Mechanism. He also suggested that insurance systems shall be adjusted with the crop insurance schemes.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The second session of the day was taken by Mr V. Ramkrishnan on Enhancing Productivity & EoDB. He initiated the conversation by covering broad aspects of the economy such as industry, agriculture, food, space, defense, etc. He also emphasized the necessity to look after productivity as Productivity is essential for cost control and all-around development of business by drawing live examples of Japan, West Germany, the UK, and South Korea to show how an increase in the same has led to economic growth. He parallely draws a comparison between the direct relationship between quality and productivity as with effectiveness and efficiency, a business can have both. At last, he concluded by giving a gist of productivity as it is better use of land, and better production of capital, cash, and human resources.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The last session of the day was taken by Dr Munawer Khwaja on the Relevance of Tax Policy for the Achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He discussed the relevance of taxation in compliance with the SDGs as tax for SDG is the initiative by the United Nations bringing taxation to the centre of the SDG agenda. It talks about taxation for resource mobilisation to implement SDGs. It focuses on how tax policies can be designed in a way to shape consumer and producer behaviour in a way that is suitable for SDGs. In brief, he also discussed some of the interventions of taxation policies to achieve SDG goals along with the prescribed challenges for the same and ways to tackle them.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 2 Day 4 | March 11, 2023

Day 4 of the session was taken by Prof. Jandhyala B. G. Tilak and  Mr T. K. Arun.

Prof. Jandhyala B. G. Tilak began his session by stating that Education has a large set of positive externalities so it is imperative for policymakers from all spheres to indulge in formulating policies with regard to education. Further, he discussed History of the Evolution of Education Policy in India by drawing a conclusion between before and after independence policies of education. Moreover, he also mentioned the Kher committee in 1949, which included the idea of providing universal basic education for primary and upper primary level for a 10-year period among its many recommendations. He also discussed in detail the various achievements India’s Education Policies have achieved so far which entailed the eradication of gender and social inequalities to some measure, improvement of the quality of higher education, major nationally acclaimed institutes contributing to the improvement of socioeconomic and technological advancement fostering self-reliance, ICT technology, etc.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Session 2 was taken by TK Arun on Political Economy and Public Policy in India. He began his session with a general and overall introduction by building up the concepts before delving into the topic of discussion. He stated politics as well as the concept of interaction of politics and economies. He took examples of the US promoting a green economy and leading the green transition, TESLA being provided subsidies to expand sales to show political economy working within countries, and the example of the US forcing an export ban on very advanced tips and semiconductors that will allow China to strengthen the lead it is already establishing in AI to show political economy impact in the International Market. He further discussed policy-making associated with politics in India by stressing the definition of a political party and concluded his session with an interesting sentence – “This is not the only kind of political economy we should be worried about”.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 3 Day 5 | March 17, 2023

The day 5 of the session was taken by Dr Amar Jesani and Prof Rafiq Dossani.

Dr Amar Jesani discussed the topic of Health and Public Policy and started the session by throwing light on Healthcare Policy- Historical and Philosophical Foundations for Universal Healthcare Policy. He also discussed primary determinants of health and well-being along with market conditions of health policies on healthcare. Further, he highlighted the Evolution of strategies for university along with access to healthcare. He concluded the session by discussing the healthcare system in India and its various failures and measures that need to be taken care of.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The second session of the day was taken by Prof Rafiq Dossani on Climate Change Mitigation & Role of the USA & China. He initiated the session by covering Diplomacy in climate change mitigation by emphasising decarbonization or energy transition,  energy security, free-rider problem, externality, ordinal number, electrification, public good, climate change adaptation, soft power, etc. Then he threw some light on climate change with respect to the interests of the nations along with its impact on the economy of the nation. He concluded his session by providing a way ahead by collaborating with various technology initiatives as well as formulating various commitments for the reduction of emissions and by keeping climate financing as the top priority.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 3 Day 6 | March 18, 2023

Day 6 of week 3 was taken by Ms Ingrid Srinath, Mr Sandeep Chachra, and Prof Vibhuti Patel.

Ms Ingrid Srinath began her session on Philanthropy and public Policy by giving a brief introduction to Philanthropy. Then Miss Srinath moved forward to explain how philanthropy influences public policy as it seeks to influence public policy through priorities, laws, regulations, local, state, and national governments, and various other means. He then talked about how philanthropy is treated in terms of Public policy in India. She further elaborates that philanthropy is a product of both serious distributive injustice and a necessary response to unjust or inadequate social institutions. She concluded the session by quoting Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation who said, “Philanthropists need to engage in repairing the very mechanisms that produce, preserve, and promote our privilege. 

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The second session was taken by Mr Sandeep Chachra on Social Security & Public Policy. He began his session by giving a brief remark that distinguishes between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor along with its historical; background. He further mentioned the definition of Social Security provided by the Beveridge Committee Report (1942). Then he discussed The constitutional provisions contain certain ingredients that cater to the realization of socio-economic rights along with the Directive Principles. He concluded the session by highlighting the key challenges in the social security sector.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The third session for the day was taken by Prof. Vibhuti Patel on Gender & Public Policy. She started with the reservation policy which is affirmative action to compensate for historical injustices. The Indian constitution provides provisions that allow the Union government and the states and territories of India to set reserved quotas or seats, at a particular percentage in Education admissions, employment, political bodies, promotions, etc., for “socially and educationally backward citizens.” She also highlighted the first population policy of India which came in 1952. She further highlighted about health policies of 1950, 1983, and 2002. She also discussed the various policy measures taken at the national leve;l to promote gender equality and concluded her session by highlighting several policies such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, etc, were made to protect women.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 4 Day 7 | March 24, 2023

 Day 7 of the course was taken by Mr Manoj Misra, Mr Tikender Singh Panwar, and Mr Yash Agarwal​​.

Mr Manoj Misra discussed the topic of Environment and public policy. He discussed the focal point of Environment and Public Policy i.e. natural & manmade; Dynamic or Static; Living or Nonliving. He further mentioned the History of Environmental Consciousness, along with various Key Environmental Conventions and Agreements. He stressed various environmental issues such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, Water Scarcity, Environmental Pollution, COVID-19 as an Environmental Challenge, Indian Environmental Policies, etc.In conclusion, the session stressed the need to revise and update national environmental policies to align with evolving environmental challenges. It emphasised recognizing the interconnectedness of environmental policies with sustainable development goals and global implications. Additionally, the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in environmental policy advocacy and implementation was highlighted.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

The second session was taken by Mr Tikender Singh Panwar on  Cities, Local Governance, and public Policy. He provided a historical perspective on the development of cities in India, highlighting the evolution of urbanisation, governance structures, and urban design. He begins with ancient civilizations, such as Mohenjo-Daro, emphasising that even in these early times, urban planning and architectural skills were evident. He further discussed Colonial Influence, the Post-Independence Era, Refugee Settlements, and Current Challenges related to urban policy planning. He also highlighted the inadequacies of urban governance in India, with a focus on how city planning is often controlled by central governments rather than local authorities. In conclusion, Mr. Panwar underscores the need for a paradigm shift in urban governance that prioritises the well-being of all residents, rather than catering solely to economic interests. He encouraged a focus on sustainability, inclusivity, and the empowerment of local communities in shaping the future of Indian cities.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Session 3 was taken by Mr Yash Agarwal​​ on  ​Early Careers in​ Public Policy. He mentioned various career opportunities available in the field of Public Policy. Further, he highlighted that impactful careers in public policy are not limited to working for the government or as civil servants. He emphasised that the private sector in India is increasingly playing a significant role in shaping policies, providing ample opportunities for individuals outside of government positions. He also discussed career paths for students, along with relevant skills required for indulging in public policy.  His session provided valuable insights into early careers in public policy. His comprehensive discussion covered diverse pathways into the field, networking strategies, the importance of soft skills, and the role of data analytics.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Week 4 Day 8 | March 25, 2023

The last day of the course was taken by Ambassador Shashank and Mr Himanshu Shekhar.

 Ambassador Shashank discussed the topic of India’s Foreign Policy. At the outset, Ambassador Shashank highlighted the unique circumstances that India faced when it gained independence. During the struggle for freedom from British colonial rule, India’s leaders had primarily focused on the freedom movement itself. Consequently, the matter of foreign policy came to the forefront rather abruptly after India achieved independence. He further mentioned that the  Cold War brought significant shifts in the global landscape and impacted India’s foreign policy. Ambassador Shashank stressed that India’s foreign policy must always take into account the welfare and interests of its entire population. It is essential that the policies and decisions made at the international level are in sync with the values and principles that India holds dear as a democratic nation. In the conclusion  Ambassador Shashank reiterated that India’s primary goal in its foreign policy endeavours is to prioritise the well-being and interests of its citizens. 

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Last session on Media & Public Policy was taken by Mr Himanshu Shekhar. He commenced the discussion on ‘Media and Public Policy’ by emphasising the importance of reshaping public policy frameworks. He underscored how it is crucial for the media to spotlight the necessary changes to enhance India’s resilience and expedite its recovery from crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.  He further emphasised the role of media in the formulation of public policy in real life as they act as a mirror to various atrocities as well as the proper impact of various policies implemented. He further stressed that The media bears a critical responsibility in redirecting its attention toward advocating for a comprehensive reevaluation of existing public policy frameworks. He concluded the session by underscoring the media’s vital role in reshaping public policy, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key points highlighted include the need to address hunger,climate-related challenges, and the pandemic’s impact. The media’s responsibility extends to advocating for policy reforms, disaster risk reduction, and improved public health communication.

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Conclusion

This course focussed on public policy in India and its warrant, caveats, facets and its impact. Participants in these eight sessions will gain a unique understanding of the complex challenges of contemporary governance from a variety of perspectives, such as economics and agriculture, foreign policy, urban management and policy, climate change, environmental policy and disaster management, the role of media and civil society, and contemporary threads such as feminism in policy making.  It provided the tools and know-how to comprehend and handle India’s critical public policy issues

The courses ended with active participation from the audience who raised pertinent questions throughout the sessions and contributed towards making this program a success.

Acknowledgment: This event report is written by Bhanvi.

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