Ihad the privilege of progressive convent schooling and higher education in thereputed Calcutta university. I chose Economics since the subject engaged withthe choices we make and the consequences of it. I was intrigued by it, andcould always find the connection to reality while going through the theories.This helped me to perform exceptionally well in my postgraduate course.
But inmy 4-year long stint as a development professional, I was faced with an urge tounderstand policy formulations. As a professional I have worked to implementand optimize the public policies. For instance, I have and have been workingfor government agencies and leading non-profits in the domain of nationalvocational skill policies, rural governance policies, and education policies. Ihave stood witness to how policy goes through a transformation from the glassdoor of the capital to the last village. It excites me to get involved withdifferent interpretations of the same policy in different layers ofadministration and general people of my country. Thoughstudying Economics laid the foundation of my general aptitude, but aprofessional training focused on policy analysis under the guidance of worldclass academicians will empower me further. A discipline as canonical as economicsis now confronted with the need to incorporate an interdisciplinary perspectivefor it to better explain popular narratives of poverty, inequality andsuffering. In my career spanning over five years, I have had the opportunity towork in tandem with policymakers, development practitioners, civil societiesand the government.
I have used my leadership and research skill to strengthensome of the interventions encompassing education, health, livelihood andservice delivery of public infrastructure. I started my career in2010 as a part-time economics lecturer in an undergraduate morning collegeaffiliated to Calcutta University. Along with it, I was also working full timefor HSBC. In 2012, I left both, the teaching and the lucrative corporate job becauseI realized I have skills for writing and an inclination towards social work. In2013, I joined a national level NGO (Reach India Trust) in Kolkata as aresource mobilization executive and later, worked as a program manager in thesame organization. I managed three verticals simultaneously. I addressed lastmile implementation challenges, closely documenting the experience andexpectations of the beneficiary communities.
It was my first tryst with largescale interventions addressing poverty, inequality and conflict. During thistenure I also piloted SMART Skilling center as a Corporate SocialResponsibility, meant for marginalized (slum & migrating) youth.Joining the Government,to further address the gaps and understand the institutional practices were thenext conscious step. In 2014, I joined the Institutional Strengthening of GramPanchayat (local government) project funded by the World Bank in the State ofWest Bengal in India as an Assistant M&E Manager. In 2017, I joined STiREducation as M&E manager, where my role entails embedding monitoring toolsand conducting impact studies. It gives me the opportunity to work with statepolicymakers to implement the teacher development program using my testedleadership skillI learned a policy isonly as good as implementation. The merit of a policy document cannot be judgedin isolation. Professional experiences taught me that writing a full proofpolicy is a utopian concept.
A policy gets enriched or devastated by theconflict of interpretations at different layers. These learning inspired me to study publicpolicy to figure out ways of writing policy documents which rather uses thestrength of public interpretations than shying away to be leak proof. Inmy country, a large number of people depend on the government for the basicservices. For instance, 250 million children go to school in my country. For180 million students out of them, the government decides curriculum, teachertrainings, assessments, school uniform and Stationaries and also pays for them.A positive change in the policy will change their future, and turn around mycountry.
That is the scale of impact I aspire for. Public policy-making inIndia is mostly characterized by anticipating needs, impacts, or reactions thusimpeding economic development. I have chosen this course at the Blavatnik School of Government because it delvesdeep into analyzing public policies from around the world with a focus on developingthe skill of critical and analytical thinking. It also gives me the opportunities to learn skills from policypractitioners. I do believe a thorough understanding ofpolicy formulation will broaden my ability to think through solutions. Ihave travelled the length and breadth of my country working with all sorts ofprofessionals in public space and people of my country. India is a tremendouslyculturally diverse country. I have experienced, that policy interpretation hasa close relation with culture, demography.
I will be thrilled to share myunderstanding of the above.Myperspectives of economics and knowledge in statistics will come handy toexplore the subjectivity of the domain. My extensive experience withnon-profits made me a collaborator rather than a competitor, I trust my abilityto listen, empathize and empower. Despite difficulties, I have witnessed thetriumph of human spirits in the toughest of circumstances in the spaces likeeducation and governance. I will bring my learning and stories. Theimmediate plan after the course, would be to look for a role that will help meconnect my newly acquired knowledge of policy formulation with action, tocontinue on the path I had already chosen four years back. As an enterprisingand driven development professional I want to explore a role thatsystematically solves a third world country problem. I am compassionate about rural wellbeing andstrongly believe decentralization is the key to better administration and alsoa way to better manage any large scale rural development intervention.
Ruraldevelopment also checks migration to some extent and paves the way forestablishing a conducive environment for social infrastructure like educationand public health. I aspire to become a domain expert in thefield of local governance and learn the best public policy practices prevalentaround the world that can strengthen local/rural governance in developingcountries. I want to use my past experience in governance and my master’s inpublic policy analysis to lay the foundation for a future where I am working inan advisory role to provide concerned government departments with extensive andcomprehensive guidance using the tested tools and knowledge. I belong to adeveloping country which is second most populated in the world with multipledevelopment concerns plaguing and stagnating its economic and humandevelopment. My empathy, persuasion and patience are going to be my biggestvirtues to push the reforms in my chosen area of local governance.
I have fair working knowledge of functionaland institutional aspects of local/rural governance. Mylong term goal is to work for international development institutions and largethink tanks. The course will give me the edge and the opportunity to networktowards achieving that goal. During the course, I aspire to gain the ability tocritically think through a deep rooted problem in terms of public policyimplication, and ways to reform it. After reading thoroughly about the concernedcourse I feel encouraged to take up the challenge of delving deep in analyzingthe three key things involved in a policy formulation; the problem, the playersand the policy which only gets more complex given the Indian context ofglobalization, growing population and lack of education. As part of an internationaldevelopment institution or a dynamic think tank, I want to work on a largescale Indian Intervention in tandem with policy makers.
I aspire to activelyparticipate in the entire public policy, cycle encompassing agenda setting,formulation, implementation and evaluation.