India boasts of not only a young demographic dividend, with almost 65 percent of its population below 35 years, but also of being the largest democracy in the world. An important element of democracy is the participation of its citizenry that goes beyond merely casting a vote. In addition, citizens participate in change initiation and implementation too. Over the passage of time, and with information technology taking an unprecedented pace, youth has been demanding its rightful place to take part in the nation building exercise though engaging with public policy.
Public policy is fast emerging as a new career choice for young Indians. This domain is an important and necessary amalgamation of various disciplines, and their experiential learning, along with vital soft skills, of which communication forms the basis. The choice of options this career offers covers exciting possibilities in both the public and private sectors, with the latter including options for entrepreneurship too.
A number of institutes offer courses in public policy; The Indian School of Public Policy offers a first of its kind programme in policy, design and management, with the first batch starting in August,. The first cohort is expected to be an interesting mix of students that hail from different professional backgrounds, with diverse expertise. In lieu of facilitating an interaction with some of the selected candidates and senior advisors of the ISPP, an informal meet was organized on June 8 in Mumbai.
The objective of the event was to serve as a platform to meet and interact with ISPP founders, Dr. Niranjan Rajadhyaksha (ISPP Academic Advisory Council Member; Research Director and Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute), and Dr. Yugank Goyal (ISPP Governing Council Member; Associate Professor, O P Jindal Global University). Tushar Kanade, Consultant, FTI Consulting, who has earlier worked with the Government of Maharashtra, was also present at the event. Another important objective was the facilitation of interaction with peers, who will serve as the founding batch of the ISPP.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Rajadhyaksha talked about the required skill sets for a public policy professional. He emphasized not only on multilateral knowledge cutting across domains, but also on personal skill sets required, with emphasis on the importance of the Constitution, and the ability to understand datasets. Mr. Kanade emphasized the changing nature of this profession and the growing demand for public policy professionals in various domains. Dr. Goyal dwelled on the philosophical roots of the discipline of public policy as a practice-based discipline.
The candidates posed a gamut of questions ranging from the conflicting roles of various government departments which impact public policy, the need for specialization in public policy and how will careers change or emerge on public policy spectrum in India.
It is important to note that the subject not only serves as a springboard for a career that enables broadening of horizons, expansion of personal and professional skill sets, but also the empowerment of the self, as well as others – vital to be the initiator and implementor of change that so needed in current times.