The Indian General Elections 2019 are just around the corner, and the social media are abuzz with the latest political campaigns. The media is making sure to feed you with the daily updates of praiseworthy achievements of the ruling party and the mudslinging by the opposition.
Between all this hullaballoo, I’m sure some of you might crib about the state of affairs of the Indian government and would have suggestions to make things better!
Well, there are pathways that empower you to bring a change from within, and one of them is Public Policy. If you wish to be directly involved with public policy formulation and research, a career in Public Policy can indeed be a rewarding one.
Get ready to become the think tank of your country!
What is Public Policy?
It is a master’s level degree program that provides training in policy analysis and program evaluation. A Master’s in Public Policy or MPP program equips you with the skills needed to understand political, social and economic issues on a broader spectrum and frame and assess policies to address them.
Since efficient and smooth governance is an important necessity and involves anything from placing traffic lights, to sanitation drives or spending crores on Defense expenditure; Public Policy scholars are the ones who do all the planning.
A study of Public Policy can help you critically analyze the working of the government and help in ensuring efficient control.
Let me clarify with an example:
There was a need for providing LPG (cooking gas) to millions in our country. Many women had suffered from lung diseases from smoke from wood, dung, etc. being burned in our traditional chulha. The general public may have felt the need for it, but the ultimate decision to create such a policy could only be handled by a public policy expert.
This was systematically done through the introduction of The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana under the Petroleum and Gas Ministry to provide free LPG to many families.
Identifying a need for this policy, creating such a policy which benefits our people at large, and finding ways of distributing this service is what comes under the purview of Public Policy.
Recommended Read: World of Humanities: 6 Upcoming Careers You Need to Know About
What Will You Study in Public Policy Programs?
A Master’s programme in Public Policy aims to groom future policymakers and public leaders with the competence to perform effectively in challenging environments. You don’t just develop quantitative and qualitative analytical skills but also get exposure to the real world policy-making process, and enhance your managerial skills.
To give you a greater understanding of India’s public affairs you will study about:
- Statistical and Data Analysis
- Qualitative Research
- Public Policy Process and its Economics
- Socio-Cultural Theory in Public Policy
- Political Philosophy
- Policy Analysis and Assessment in the Global Scenario
A master’s course in Public Policy demands an undergraduate degree in any discipline as a primary qualification. However, students with a Public Administration, Political Science, Statistics, Economics or other Humanities background are the top contenders for this course.
Some universities also demand work experience in the government sector or research organisations.
Recommended Read: Scope of Liberal Arts In India: Where Your Degree Can Take You!
Is there a Difference Between Public Policy and Public Administration?
Though both seem to overlap, there is an essential difference in the emphasis of their curriculum.
Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) programs provide training in policy analysis, while Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) programs provide coursework in program implementation.
In other words, MPP programs place more emphasis on policy analysis, research, and evaluation; while MPA programs stress on the implementation of public policies and the design of effective programs and projects to achieve public policy goals.
For instance, with the rise of dengue cases in Delhi, Public Policymakers will need to focus on designing policies on dengue prevention, but the Public Administrators are the ones who shall implement these policies, like spraying pesticides in streets or controlling the spread of dengue mosquitoes.
In recognition of the overlapping coursework and subject matter, some universities have begun offering combined degrees, such as Master of Public Administration and Policy or Master of Public Policy and Administration.
Read More: Career in Public Administration in India
Leading Colleges For Public Policy in India
- Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, Haryana
- St Xavier’s College, Mumbai
- NLSIU, Bangalore
- Azim Premji University, Bangalore
- TISS, Mumbai
- ISB, Hyderabad
- IIM, Bangalore (Management Programs in Public Policy)
- IIT, Bombay (M.Tech in Public Policy)
- Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phule University, Jaipur
- Stella Maris College, Tamil Nadu
- Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru
- TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi
- Adamas School of Social Sciences, West Bengal
What Do Public Policy Makers Do?
A Masters programme equips you to perform effectively in complex policy environments. It is interdisciplinary in approach and enables you to address contemporary political, economic and social issues in a coherent and comprehensive manner.
Some of the essential functions of a Public Policy Maker are-
- Identifying issues and exploring areas for developing policies
- Creating new policies in order to address existing problems
- Evaluating the effects of existing policies and government programs
- Lobbying or Convincing
- Monitoring effects of changes in public policies
- Performing market research
Recommended Read: How to Prepare for UPSC Civil Services: A Beginner’s Guide
Scope of Public Policy in India
There is an increasing demand for Public Policy graduates in the public sector, research organisations, non-profit organisations, consulting firms, international organizations, and the government.
Graduates can go on to become ambassadors, founders of non-profit organisations or social enterprises, and consultants at international organisations. They may also aim to be at the helm, holding leadership positions in private firms, as well as driving research and scholarship in various organisations.
Here are a few areas where Public Policy graduates are in great demand-
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Diplomats or Ambassadors
- United Nations- It has requirements for policymakers in almost all its organizations.
- Research and Development
- Education Sector
- Government and PSUs
- Think Tanks
- Private Sector- Multinational organisations need policy and governance experts, not just MBAs and marketing gurus. More so because welfare functions where the state used to be the sole player once are now being performed by a new class of investors called social entrepreneurs.
- Manufacturing/Construction Sector
Whether your focus is on your local community or the society and the nation at large, a career in Public Policy is just the right choice if you want to make a difference to the world around us.
Did this article make you excited to pursue your master’s degree in Public Policy? Share with us in the comments below!