The emerging career – public policy

Democracy seeks active participation by the citizenry; this enables individuals, communities and societies to be a part of significant, forward moving and positive change. Policy is an important aspect of this journey.

It is also important to draw attention to a new found desire, especially amongst the youth, to create sustainable and effective policy impact on the world. This warrants future decision makers to be equipped with a strong understanding of public policy. At the same time, governments are becoming increasingly open to draw fresh talent, ideas and designs from outside the bureaucratic ranks. The need is urgent and agreed upon. And so, young minds nourishing policy space is an idea whose time has come.

From the career perspective too, this is an exciting time to be a public policy professional in India. The domain helps an individual embark on an unfathomable career, and make a resounding impact. A career in public policy opens doors for work in a plethora of organizations, across domains, at the national and international level, public and private sectors.

In India, the public policy domain has grown manifold over the past few years. Public policy and public administration used to be seen as courses taken up by mid-career bureaucrats. However, today more so than ever before, the Indian government has been hiring individuals from outside the civil services to help carry forward India’s governance through the challenges of the 21st century. Both the Central and State Governments are increasingly seeking professional assistance from consultancy firms, non-governmental organisations and individual experts. In recent years, private and non-profit organisations increasingly require greater engagement with government regulators and thus, there is a greater demand for professionals skilled in public policy to take up these roles. Political parties and even individual politicians seek professional assistance in policy matters as part of their larger strategy to build a brand image among the electorate. Besides, public policy opens up many options for students in the area of research and development, teaching, career in think tanks and independent research centres. Some of the many roles in which individuals can see themselves after completion of a course in public policy are as policy advisors, programme officers, policy analysts, political strategists, public policy consultants, et cetera.

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