I have been engaged in the realm of economic development for long. My training as an economist and academic researcher bolstered the theoretical underpinnings necessary for being a meaningful contributor to the cause of economic development. Working at the World Bank helped me put those theories in to practice and introduced me to the real challenges that underlie developmental successes (or failures) in developing countries – the institutions (as the New Institutional Economist in me would call it). And India is no different. The challenge of bureaucratic hurdles, lack of institutional capacity, disconnect between theoretical will and practical actions – are only some of the challenges that make actual economic development much more challenging, in ground zero. The ongoing transition from being an academic to a policy practitioner has been enriching and demystifying so far!

I had always considered Indian polity too opaque and prohibitive to absorb politically agnostic individuals. However being a student of political economy, this practical disconnect would bother me.  This is exactly where The Swaniti Initiative came in. It was the right institutional platform that enables politically agnostic policy driven individuals to be systemic “change agents”.

The journey has been very enriching so far. It has been a pleasure to be a Fellow for a Member of Parliament who is vibrant and passionately striving for change. In terms of scope of work, my horizon has been broadened as well. This assignment presents one with cross-sectoral problems of a constituency. The challenge is to identify areas with scope of intervention in the short-run, draw up a plan of action, bring together all stakeholders and initiate implementation – all within a limited period of time. The challenge is also to ensure that the initiative can be easily monitored and scaled up.

My engagement for Kendrapada in the Policy Team of Mr. Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda has just begun and I am looking forward to an enriching journey. Watch the space for further updates!