The recent report by the Policy Affairs Centre created a buzz in the country when it ranked Kerala as the best-governed state through its Policy Affairs Index (PAI). Along with it, the Policy Affairs Centre (PAC) released 100 other indicators with 30 focus subjects on Indian states and Union Territories.
In a multi-complex society like that of India, where complications are diverse and unique to the circumstances, public policy discourse has emerged as a field of enquiry to build solutions to the many problems seen in society. It tries to make use of up-to-date knowledge and innovative methods to strengthen institutions and explore policy alternatives to make relevant choices for the public interest.
Just like making the most of the IT revolution at the earliest, Bengaluru has also started to capitalise on the public policy analysis domain. While more and more emphasis is shifting from public administration to public policy all over the world, top universities in Bengaluru have already rolled out courses in this discipline.
One of the early birds was IIM-Bangalore, which launched a PG programme in Public Policy and Management (PGPPM) aiming at improving efficiency and leadership skills among policy-makers and administrators/mid-career bureaucrats.
The Centre for Public Policy (CPP), a leading think-tank in the country, is also located in the same campus, producing cutting-edge research, teaching, training and capacity-building for delivery of better public services and governance.
India’s finest law school, National Law school of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru has enlarged its scope of study by rolling out an exclusive two-year residential post-graduate programme in public policy with a thrust on the law as an interface between development and public policy. With the university hosting the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), public policy students and researchers are actively coordinating with the government of Karnataka on various legislation and policy issues.
A Delhi-based lawyer, Sammit Prabhakar, currently pursuing Masters in Public Policy in NLSIU said, “It is possible for Bengaluru in the future to become a policy centre away from Delhi mainly because of the growing proximity between technology and governance.”
Private players from the IT sector like Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro and the founder of Azim Premji Foundation, is also aiming to train young minds with public spirit into high-quality policy experts and consultants through an MA Public Policy and Governance Studies in Azim Premji University.
Apart from that, The Takshashila Institution in collaboration with Mount Carmel College is also offering courses in public policy. Sources in Christ University have also said that it will roll out its MA in Policy Affairs soon.
The city is a host for a lot of other research institutions concerning public policy like National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Ramaiah Public Policy Center, Gokhale Institution of Public Affairs, etc., which makes this city very attractive and a new destination for development-related research and public policy studies.
Views expressed are author's own
Ramprasad P is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Public Policy at NLSIU, Bengaluru