A think tank can be defined as a research or a policy institute that researches various social topics ranging from economics, political strategy, military, social policies, culture, and technology. Think tanks are mostly non-governmental organizations with a few semi-autonomous agencies controlled by the government and some controlled by political parties, businesses, or the military. These organizations are mostly funded from contributions from wealthy individuals or grants from the government.
Think Tanks in India
India comes second when it comes to the number of think tanks in the country. While most government-sponsored ones are based in New Delhi, there are quite a few spread across the other big cities in the country. Some of them are environmentally inclined such as the Centre for Science and Environment and the Centre for Policy Research and World Resources Institute, while others are based on social causes like the Observer Research Foundation and Centre for Civil Society. Some think tanks have fixed focus areas, and they work towards finding solutions for the social problems in those areas.
Some of the noteworthy works of think tanks in India include the National e-Governance Plan for automating administrative processes and the National Knowledge Network for data sharing in educational and research institutions. These initiatives, if implemented properly, would be an excellent benefit for the public.
Joining Think Tanks in India
Joining a think tank will give you the opportunity to contribute towards unbiased research that can bring changes in government policies and society. You also benefit from choosing your preferred field of study as the research area is varied, ranging from education, social reforms, strategy, security, health to law and livelihood.
The best way to apply to these think tanks is through their career pages on their websites. There are very few think tanks that take campus interviews for recruiting or advertise in the job search portals. Candidates interested in applying to these think tanks should visit their respective websites and apply directly. A lot of internship programs are also conducted by these think tanks, and it is a great opportunity to kick start a career in this field. Internships help to gain hands-on experience in research with guidance from experts.
List of Think Tanks in India
As mentioned above, India has the second-largest number of think tanks right after the United States. Here is the list of ten notable think tanks, including both government and non-profit organizations:
- Association for Democratic Reforms
- Centre for Public Policy
- Centre for Development Studies (CDS)
- Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP)
- Institute for Studies in Industrial Development
- Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA)
- Institute of Economic Growth (IEG)
- Institute for Social and Economic Change
- National Institute of Advanced Studies
- Public Health Foundation of India
Think Tank Salaries in India
Most think tanks in India pay their researchers based on their performance, knowledge, and research skills. The range of salaries in think tanks varies from Rs 8,000 to Rs. 80,000 per month approximately. It all depends on the quality of work and satisfaction from the superiors. A lot also depends on the think tank that you are working for. Small non-profit organizations will not be able to pay huge salaries, but those are great platforms to learn and improve your research skills. On the other hand, well-known think tanks backed by the government or large political powerhouses will pay better salaries.
A detailed observation of researchers’ salaries in think tanks would be difficult as a lot depends on the kind of organization one is working for. An average yearly salary of a research analyst would be around Rs. 520,000, a social worker would be Rs. 300,000, and a senior research associate would be around 350,000 rupees, all in approximation.
Ways to Navigate Your Career into Public Policy
Getting yourself a public policy fellowship is a great way to kick start your career in the world of think tanks. A graduate from any field can pursue these fellowships, be it medical, law, engineering, or working professionals. Some of the popular fellowships include the William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service, the Young India Fellowship, and the Legislative Assistant to Member of Parliament Fellowship. Most of these fellowships are close to a year-long program that gives you an opportunity to work on global projects, real-time projects and helps you to learn law-making and public policy.
Internships are also a great way to venture into public policy. Most of the popular think tanks provide internship opportunities to graduates and final-year students. You can visit the websites of these think tanks or the government websites to check on the available opportunities. A Masters’ degree in Public Policy is one of the best ways to begin your research career in think tanks. It helps to develop qualitative and quantitative analytical skills and prepares you for the world of policymakers.
The demand for public policymakers in India is very high. From think tanks, government organizations to non-profit organizations, ministerial jobs, and private firms, everybody requires good researchers and social entrepreneurs.
With the rise of think tanks in the country in the last decade, the need for individuals specializing in public policy and governance has also increased in leaps and bounds. As young people take more interest in public policy, the better the chances are for social and political reforms in the country. Further, a career in research and public policy looks more explorative and lucrative than ever before in this country.
In order to get proper counseling on your public policy career options, visit Mindler and check out the various options available for you to explore in this field. Mindler provides face-to-face counseling sessions and guidance from career experts along with personalized mentoring and 24*7 support for an entire year.