Fundamentals of Public Policy – Cohort 2.0

Event Report
Reetwika Mallick

Centre for the Study of Finance and Economics, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, conducted, Fundamentals of Public Policy – Cohort 2.0, a One-Month Immersive Online Introductory Certificate Training Course from March 01 – March 30, 2024.

The chair of the program was  Prof Mukul Asher, Former Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI

Convenors of the program were Prof Vibhuti Patel, Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI;

Prof Gummadi Sridevi, Visiting Professor, IMPRI; Professor, School of Economics at University of Hyderabad; Dr Simi Mehta, CEO & Editorial Director, IMPRI; Dr Arjun Kumar, Director, IMPRI, New Delhi.

Day 1: Navigating India’s Policy Landscape

The inaugural session of Fundamentals of Public Policy – Cohort 2.0 embarked with Professor Mukul Asher’s comprehensive discussion on navigating India’s policy landscape. Prof. Asher delineated the need for public policy education in the session. Prof. Asher traced India’s journey in the economic and developmental policy sphere. Emphasis on digital infrastructure and its future promises were extensively discussed by Prof. Asher.

The crucial role played by the Finance Commission in India was enumerated by Prof. Asher, while discussing the role of sound fiscal management in the Indian policy landscape. Towards the end of the session, an engaging question and answer session alluded upon the complex interplay between economic, social, and environmental factors in shaping policy outcomes. Concluding the session, Prof. Asher expressed optimism for the future of public policy in India. 

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Mr V Ramakrishnan, navigated societal progress through the lense of strategic policy formulation and governance. The session elucidated the complex relation between  economics, social well-being, and effective policy-making. Mr. Ramakrishnan delineated strategic direction as a necessary component in policy formulation and implementation. Overcoming the gap between theory and practice in the policy sphere was discussed extensively by the esteemed speaker. 

In the session, Mr V Ramakrishnan listed the elements of effective policy implementation. Mr V Ramakrishnan also provided relevant examples enumerating each component of policy implementation. The session was concluded on a pragmatic note of application of the principles discussed in the session in order to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice.

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Day 2: Science and Data in Public Policy 

For day 2 of the program, Prof Mukul Asher led the session on social security policies for the aging population of India. The influence of demographics on economic growth, governance and geo-politics was discussed comprehensively by Prof. Asher. Untangling the demographic trend of India, Prof. Asher enumerated the growth of elderly population in India over the coming years. 

Prof. Asher shared the pragmatic steps in the policy sphere of the Indian government towards catering the needs of the aging population. Prof. Asher also highlighted the possible areas where the stakeholders can implement policies to aid the elderly population. Concluding the session, Prof. Asher emphasized on the socio-economic impact of the aging population and ways to address them. 

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Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, on the second day’s second half of the session uncovered the promises and perils of data in public policy making in India. Outlining the five crucial characteristics of data, Dr. Chattopadhyay explained each characteristics with relevant examples. Quality data for constructive policy formulation is necessary, Dr. Chattopadhyay explained. 

Explaining the meaning of public policy, Dr. Chattopadhyay explained extensively the characteristics of public policy to create capacity to provide personalized services. The esteemed speaker provided examples of desired policy outcomes by using evidence based policy tools. Dr. Chattopadhyay acknowledging the hindrances in data collection and analysis, enumerated the importance of collecting relevant data. Dr. Chattopadhyay concluding the session emphasized on the need for democratization of data usage. 

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Day 3: Studying Public Finance 

Professor Mukul Asher began day 3 of the program with a comprehensive session by unraveling fiscal challenges and discussing economic issues and remedies. Prof. Asher shared India’s contribution to world GDP over the years to highlight the importance of fiscal management.Prof. Asher also enumerated the approaches of the government in ensuring prudent fiscal management. 

In the session, the weaknesses of India’s economy were also outlined and feasible steps towards reforming them were highlighted. The impact of judicial pronouncements on India’s trading sphere was discussed in length by the expert speaker. Concluding the session Prof. Asher emphasized upon fiscal diagnostic as an essential tool in   the changing global geo-economics and geostrategic environment.

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On day 3 of the program, Dr. Radhka Pandey discussed India’s fiscal legislation, and unraveled various fiscal consolidation tools of the government. Dr. Pandey explained the different ways of deficit calculation of the government in the session. The components of interim budget of 2024-25 was enumerated by Dr. Pandey. 

The need and role of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM 2003) in maintaining fiscal prudence was highlighted by Dr. Pandey. Dr. Pandey also delineated the notion of off-budget liability as a  means to bypass the deficit targets by the government. The concept of sustainable debt and the conditions determining debt sustainability formed a crucial part of the discussion. Dr. Pandey, concluding the session reiterated the need to maintain fiscal prudence by the government. 

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Day 4: Industry led Development

The 4th day of  the program revolved around the evolving global trade architecture and industrial policies. The esteemed speaker for the day, Mr Aashish Chandorkar addressed the evolving dynamics of the global economy. Mr. Chandorkar discussed the role of industrial policy in economic trajectories and economic growth of a nation. Mr. Chandorkar traced the evolution of rule based order in the international trading sphere and also enumerated the impact of such an order. 

Highlighting a balanced approach, Mr. Chandorkar emphasized on maintaining a parity between the trade-offs in economic interests with broader societal and environmental concerns. The potential pathways for India in maintaining a dominant position in the global trade was discussed by the esteemed speaker in the session. The session concluded with Mr. Chandorkar’s explanation of India’s trade policy and its potential implication on the economic trajectory. 

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Mr.  V Ramakrishnan for day 4 of the program dealt with transforming the manufacturing sector of India. The necessary components for a strategic transformation of the sector was laid down by Mr. Ramakrishnan. The pivotal role of the MSME sector along with the challenges faced by the sector was enumerated in the session. 

In the session, Mr. Ramakrishnan listed the innovative relevant approaches to realize the potential of the business models in India. The session’s discussions were centered on elevating public policy discourse to support SME manufacturing, emphasizing the importance of data-driven decision-making and stakeholder collaboration.

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Day 5: India’s Foreign Policy

The expert speaker for day 5, Ambassador Shashank articulated India’s foreign policy and action. Ambassador Shashank traced India’s journey towards an India centric policy approach. Ambassador Shashank enumerated the deep seated link between the foreign policy and economic empowerment of a country. The nature of India’s partnership was delineated by Ambassador Shashank in the session.

Reflecting on the domestic  public policy and planning in India, Ambassador Shashank delved into the intricate dynamics of India’s relationship with China. The session also delved into the broader implications of India’s public policy approach for its global reputation. Contemporary challenges including the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was highlighted by ambassador Shashank in his address. Concluding the session, ambassador Shashank encouraged the audience to reflect on the depth and breadth of India’s foreign policy vision.

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Day 6: Political Economy and Macroeconomic Frameworks

An engaging session by Mr. TK Arun marked the beginning of day 6 of the program. Mr. Arun untangled the complex relationship between political economy and public policy in India. Mr. Arun explained the economic models adopted at various stages of India’s economic development in the session. India’s pre-independence economic conditions were underlined and a comparison was drawn on the limited ability of the government spending even after more than seventy decades of independence. 

The state’s efforts to strengthen the domestic capitalist class along with strengthening other sectors of the Indian economy was discussed in the session. In the session Mr. Arun emphasized on the need to develop a comprehensive and collaborative  approach to address the challenges faced by the Indian farmers. 

Fiscal deficit and its impact on economic growth of India was outlined by the esteemed speaker. Another factor influencing economic growth, the global forces, was addressed in the session. The challenges and opportunities in the technological domain for Indian political economy were dealt comprehensively in the session. Mr. Arun concluded the session by highlighting on the impact of climate change on India and the need to identify and address the challenges emerging from environmental emergencies. 

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Continuing the engaging discussion, the second session of day 6 was led by Professor Mukul Asher on India’s foreign policy and macroeconomic frameworks. Prof. Asher unweaved the symbol of Indian currency, representing India’s cultural heritage and future aspirations. The objective of macroeconomics in achieving economic stability and growth was enumerated by Prof. Asher. 

Calculating national product as an indicator of economic development of a country was explained by the esteemed speaker. The complex interactions of different layers of economic agents  in a capitalist economy was explained by Prof. Asher comprehensively. The basic macroeconomic concepts like expenditure and income accounts; different measurements of price level and inflation were delineated by Prof. Asher. 

Moving the session forward, Prof. Asher explained the different approaches for ensuring short run stabilization. Towards the end of the session, India’s GDP was dissected by the expert speaker. Concluding the session, Prof. Asher acknowledged the importance of understanding the growing complexity of macroeconomic policies in the globalized world.

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Day 7: Sustainability and Urban Policy

Prof. Chetan Vaidya led the day 7 of the program, giving insights into urban policy and the challenges and solutions associated with the urban policy. Explaining the notion of urban, Prof. Vaidya highlighted the strict criterias used for such identification purposes. Prof. Vaidya traced the government approaches towards urban development over the years. 

Key policy issues listed by Prof. Vaidya included recognising towns for implementing developmental projects; the overlapping of responsibilities of various authorities in urban development; fiscal planning; addressing challenges of climate change among a host of other challenges. Concluding the session, Prof. Vaidya reiterated the multifaceted nature of urban development.

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The contemporary challenge of climate change and ensuring sustainability in policy design and implementation was discussed by Prof. Anil Gupta. The need for acknowledging and understanding the complex and multi-faceted challenge of climate change is necessary to address the issue, according to Prof. Gupta. The significance of green development was delineated by Prof. Gupta. The need to understand various causes of disasters including natural and anthropogenic was underlined by  the esteemed speaker.

Prof. Gupta gave insights on Climate-related Disasters and Sustainable Development. Global collaboration on addressing climate change challenges was discussed by the expert speaker. Approaches by Indian government towards sustainable development were listed by Prof. Gupta. Prof. Gupta deliberated on the challenges in translating policy interventions into actionable plans at the local level. Porf. Gupta underscored the importance of collaborative efforts, research, and policy innovation to achieve sustainable development goals.

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Day 8: Empowering Citizens Through Policy Approach

Professor Randhir Singh Rathore delivered  a comprehensive lecture on integration of skilling into education. The complex  cross-section of education, employability, and livelihood generation was untangled by Prof. Rathore. The session also laid down the challenges and opportunities in educational systems in terms of imparting relevant skill sets. 

Governmental approach towards integrating vocational education with mainstream education was enumerated by Prof. Rathore. Efforts towards standardizing skill development by the government was explained by the esteemed speaker. The innovative approaches and digital initiatives for enhancing employability of students was discussed by Prof. Rathore. Concluding the session, Prof. Rathore reiterated the importance of skilling initiatives for ensuring socio-economic progress. 

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Women-led development and public policy for promotion of gender equality was comprehensively discussed by Professor Vibhuti Patel. Prof. Patel highlighted the transforming ability of education in empowering women and providing them with economic independence and social inclusion. The policy approaches towards social protection of vulnerable groups was laid down by Prof. Patel.

The impacts of gender responsive labor codes in ensuring equal participation of women in the labor force was underlined by the esteemed speaker. POlitical participation of women and the productive consequences of gender-based budgeting was comprehensively discussed by Prif. Patel. Concluding the session, Prof. Patel emphasized the importance of an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable society for all. 

To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Read more at IMPRI: 

Qualitative Action Research Fieldwork Program- Cohort 2.0

Acknowledgement: Written and posted by Reetwika Mallick, intern at IMPRI.


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