My impetus for pursuing Honors in Governance and Public Administration was never a chance occurrence. Growing up in a country with one-third of its population below poverty line, I was captivated by the evidence of impact govt. policies and schemes created on innumerable aspects of life – from infant mortality to foreign trade. My predilection for the nonprofit and public sector was confirmed when I volunteered with a charitable trust, working on improving the livelihoods of orphan children, during my high school years.
Through my undergraduate courses, I gained insights into public sector nuances along with a focus on the range of developmental issues plaguing the country, which were supplemented by rigorous quantitative and qualitative analysis. My selection as a Research Fellow at India’s leading Public Policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society (CCS) enabled me to pursue research pertaining to policies and hone my analytical skills. It was a moment of pride for me being among the top 5% selected international applicants. I undertook the research on Right to Education Act (RTE) where I quantitatively evaluated the grievance redress mechanism and identified key problems, such as missing accountability, lack of coordination between ministries and disproportionate budget allocation.
My research at CCS inspired me to plan my dissertation to evaluate the implementation status of RTE through conducting case studies of primary schools. By reviewing the literature of UNICEF, UNESCO, examining educational statistics of India and interviewing directorate of education, school staff; I discerned the factors affecting the quality of education delivery and areas requiring intervention.
Through my unique professional experience at Indian Political Action Committee, I not only witnessed that policy-making of all kinds takes place in a political setting but also gathered hands-on experience on how the demographics of an area, future prospects, linkages between administrative departments and political parties shape the policy processes. I studied demographics, electoral behavior and political trends based on stratified random sampling and thereby conceptualized the campaign strategy. While working for Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, I measured socioeconomic and political developments of 33 localities by strategic interactions with stakeholders and data analysis of the demographics. This aided in preparing policy briefs, manifesto and finalizing resource allocation on Election Day, eventually increasing Amarinder Singh’s victory margin by 38%.
My current work at Suryodaya Rural Development Trust has allowed me to contribute in transforming the lives of rural population by bridging the gap between people’s needs and the system’s provisions. Through action-research, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, I developed monitoring and evaluation system to increase efficiency in district administration.