Isn’t it peaceful when everything is in order? But, how does one maintain this order? If you are thinking about lawmakers and police officers, you are half correct. But it’s not just lawmakers who maintain order but there are various other government administrative officials who continuously work on drafting and analyzing policies so that everything runs smoothly. Preparing the annual budget, drafting initiatives for women empowerment, taking care of the needs of the farmers, planning for nature conservation and focusing on imparting quality education are some of the areas that these officials work on that form the part of public policy fellowships.
How to pursue Public Policy if you are a graduate?
Spoiler Alert – You don’t necessarily need a master’s degree in Public Policy to enter this domain.
If you are a graduate in Engineering, Medical, Law or a young working professional, you can still fulfil your dream of becoming a change maker. This route does not necessarily involve getting a master’s degree. Excited to know the possible ways to get into Public Policy? Well, get ready for a smooth read.
Public Policy Fellowships
The most popular way which is both thrilling and challenging at the same time, a fellowship involves a group of people coming together for a common purpose i.e making a positive difference in the society. The fellowships can be pursued by any graduate, irrespective of their field of study. Now, let me tell you about the different Public Policy fellowships:
William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India
This fellowship is an immersive, 10-month volunteer service program which places young professionals with development organizations. The selected fellows work on sustainable development projects in the fields of education, livelihoods, and public health. Fellows have the opportunity to work on global projects, both in India and the United States.
The application for this fellowship begin from October 1, ever year.
Young India Fellowship
The Young India Fellowship is a one year multidisciplinary postgraduate diploma programme in Liberal Studies. The Fellowship trains young professionals and graduates in the country to become socially committed agents of change. Fellows learn more than 20 diverse subjects from some of the finest teachers and practitioners across the globe. In addition, the curriculum also demands that the fellows work on a real time project, experiential learning module.
The application for the Young India Fellowship begin in August, every year.
Teach for India
If you love teaching and want to use your skills for the unprivileged, TFI is just the answer. This two year fellowship is an opportunity to serve as full time teachers to children belonging to low income communities located in some of the country’s most under-resourced schools. This gives individuals the experience of working with key education stakeholders like teachers, principal, parents and understand the ground realities of the education system in India. These young individuals can then attain positions of leadership in government administration and help develop policies to deliver better education.
The application for this fellowship begin in August, every year
SBI Youth for India
This 13 month fellowship aims at enhancing rural development and is divided into three phases: familiarization, implementation, and sustenance. Here, young professionals and graduates first carry out ground level research to know what the pressing matters in their locality are. This research is then followed by developing and implementing a project which caters to these problems and finally handing over this project to an able person from the locality. Some of the areas that the fellows work on are – rural education, electrification, agriculture, water, sanitation.
The application for SBI Youth for India begin in first half, every year.
Legislative Assistant to Member of Parliament Fellowship
This 11 month fellowship, offered by PRS India, is a unique and an exciting opportunity for young Indians to learn law-making and public policy while working with a Member of Parliament (MP). The primary role of the fellows is to undertake extensive research support for the assigned MP for their parliamentary work. This includes drafting parliamentary questions for the MP, preparing the MP’s speeches for zero hour debates, assessing the performance of Ministries, raising matters of public importance, drafting private members’ bills etc. In addition, the fellows are also expected to attend various workshops organized by PRS on issues relating to health, agriculture, climate change, Education, Budgets and Public Finances, etc.
The applications for this fellowship commence in January, every year.
Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associates Program
Set up as an association of Haryana Government and Ashoka University, this program gives you a chance to directly work with the government and ensure smooth implementation of the social development schemes crafted by the government. After 2 weeks of training, the selected associates are placed in one of the 22 districts of Haryana for a 12 month period. The Associates are expected to put forward their thoughts and provide inputs at the ground level for effective local planning, execution, community interaction and outcome management of their assigned district. They are expected to work on state-wide modules like Public Grievances, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat Mission and district-initiated projects which the associates develop themselves after analyzing the ground problems in their district.
The applications for this program commence in June, every year.
If you are a person who is ready to undertake exhaustive research, working with Think Tanks would be very exciting for you. Public Policy think tanks do in-depth analysis of current policies and put forward their own findings. It is one of the best methods to gain hands on experience in policy analysis. Some of the best public policy think tanks that you can work in are:
1. Delhi Policy Group
2. Centre for Policy Research
3. Pranab Mukherjee Foundation
4. Centre for Civil Society
5. Carnegie India
6. Brookings India
7. Observer Research Foundation
8. National Council for Applied Economic Research
9. The Takshashila Institution
10. PRS Legislative Research
Think tanks keep posting opportunities to work with them as and when they arise. Generally, the job role demands knowledge of data collection and analysis, good presentation and communication skills among others. Some organizations might demand a particular educational background. For ex. PRS Legislative Research might open opportunities specifically for Law students.
This method of getting a taste in public policy is ever gold. Although the think tanks do provide internship opportunities, but why not learn Public Policy while directly working with the government itself?
Yes, almost all divisions of government ministries provide internships to graduates or students in their final year of graduation. To give you an idea you can apply for internships in Niti Aayog, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and so on.
An important thing to keep in mind is that these Ministries require you to apply in advance. For instance, if you want to intern with Niti Aayog in October, you need to send in your application in August, i.e. two months in advance. The advance period to apply for internship with Ministry of External Affairs is four months. Similarly, this time period is different for each Ministry.
The duration of these internships is between 3 and 6 months.
I know, changing your career route is scary because it’s much easier to walk on a fixed path. One can’t even be sure of whether they will like the change or not. So, I would suggest that do your research on Public Policy, read and try to analyze current policies in operation and try to find inefficiencies in them, attend conferences and seminars, talk to people working in this field, in order to get a better understanding of the term Public Policy.
Also, remember – it’s never too late to make a change!