The Takshashila Institution awarded the Gomtibai Govindji Prize to Bhagirath Iyer and Sandeep Menon for distinction in the study of public policy. The Gomtibai Govindji Prize has been instituted by her family to recognise the overall best performing student in Takshashila’s Graduate Certificate in Public Policy programme. The prize comprises of a cash award and a citation. Both Bhagirath and Sandeep are from the tenth batch of the GCPP (February—April 2015).
Bhagirath is a finance professional, with over 10 years of experience in microfinance and investment banking. In one of his previous engagements with an investment bank, he is credited to have structured the first securitisation of small-ticket MSME loans in India. Apart from his professional interest in finance, investments and the SME sector, he is also co-founder of Make Love Not Scars (MLNS), a voluntary organisation that helps survivors of acid attacks and works actively to create awareness about acid attacks and other forms of gender-based violence. Bhagirath holds a post-graduate diploma in rural management from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA).
According to Bhagirath:
The GCPP helped me in getting an introduction to how government and the bureaucracy work and how a citizen can actively help in bringing about social and policy-level changes. The two workshops that are part of the GCPP course were helpful in understanding the various pressures and challenges that policy-makers face and the considerations behind how a policy proposal is evaluated by policy-makers and political representatives.
Sandeep is a Digital Business Leader, Governing Council Member of MICA, Startup Advisor and Board Member, and a prolific writer. He is the VP and Global Head of the Digital Agency business at Cognizant, a big 5 technology & business consulting firm.
In the past he has managed significant businesses for the IBM Corporation and was also country leader for the Novell Corporation in India. His initial training was in media and advertising. In 2011, he was chosen as one of 12 young leaders by the British government, and trained on facets of economics and nation building in the Chevening Gurukul Leadership programme at the London School of Economics.
According to Sandeep:
The GCPP programme was intellectually enriching and an eye opening experience. In today’s world of social media, it is possible to influence people on matters of public interest through forceful articulation without necessarily having a deep understanding of public policy. Post the GCPP course, one finds oneself suddenly aware of the nuances and challenges within which the system operates and being a far more pragmatic and scientific participant. The GCPP course also has tremendous value, in creating spaces where thinking people can gather and discuss ideas in an in-depth fashion.
The Graduate Certificate in Public Policy is Takshashila’s flagship educational programme. The 12-week course is networked and largely online, and meant for working professionals and full time students to take from around the world. The course is offered three times a year and the twelfth batch of the course is set to begin in September 2015.