The third batch of the PGP attended a workshop organized for them at Discovery Village in Nandi Hills. The cohort included 15 students, the majority of whom are mid-level career professionals from different parts of the world as well as India. Having a wealth of experience from academia, industry, and civil society made for a fascinating exercise in policymaking.
The workshop was focused around solving how to double Indian exports in a hypothetical world. Having students solve for a macroeconomic problem gave the class an idea of the constraints, scale, and power vested in policymakers. Anupam Manur, a fellow at The Takshashila Institution and Ameya Ashok Nayak, a non-resident fellow at Takshashila, helped the students in answering the question.
Anupam and Ameya introduced the students to Eugene Bardach’s eightfold path. The students divided into groups of five to apply the framework to Indian exports. Over an intensive three day event, the groups made and revised their policy proposals, recommending alternatives by looking at different sectors that could contribute to Indian exports. The wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences of the students were visible through the different policy recommendations they came up with.
One of the groups, Invictus, focused on leveraging India’s agriculture sector to boost exports. Exim Wonks looked at how they could achieve the same goal by tripling the value of the machinery and equipment sector in India’s exports. Finally, team Pratham recommended that the best way to improve Indian exports was to provide incentives for the textile and apparel sector to grow. The students will now need to break up their groups and work individually on making these suggestions into policy briefs for their capstone projects.
The workshop also featured a candid fireside AMA session with Anupam and Ameya. The students used the platform to enquire about working in India’s policy sphere. During the workshop, the class also shared their thoughts about the postgraduate program. They expanded on why they wanted to transition into a career in public policy and how their learnings in the PGP experience gave them the skills and background to make the switch. Much of the class also shared their thoughts on how the PGP helped them make sense of the news and as PGP students, what prevalent problems they wished to solve in the country. This included varying issues that contemporary India faces such as making education more accessible across the country, as well as making a dent in corporate policy and how public-private partnerships will be shaped going forward.
The experience of attending the workshop was quite intense, with a whole module of the curriculum being taught over three days. However, acquiring a working knowledge of policymaking and Bardach’s eightfold path and the surroundings of the Nandi Hills made it quite enjoyable. The third and final workshop for the postgraduate program will take place in October, and will serve as a forum to display the culmination of skills that the students have acquired over the course of the program.