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Government Exclusive or Limitless Potential? Discover Public Policy Careers!

Government Exclusive Or Limitless Potential

A career in public policy has evolved beyond the conventional confines of government employment. Previously, aspiring policy professionals primarily pursued the traditional route through UPSC or SPSC exams, which was considered the sole pathway to engage in the policy making process. However, recent years have witnessed transformative shifts in this landscape.

The government initiated lateral entries, welcoming specialists from diverse fields to contribute to policymaking as advisors and consultants. Additionally, corporations have increasingly acknowledged their influence on shaping public policies and recognised the importance of policy within their own organisational frameworks. This has led to a burgeoning demand for experts in the field of public policy, even within corporate settings.

The blog aims to explore how individuals passionate about public policy can forge lucrative and respected careers for themselves outside the realm of traditional government roles:

  • Consultants/ Advisors for various government ministries: Public policy professionals are increasingly securing consultancy roles within various ministries of the government. For example, Himanshu Burad, a recent graduate of ISPP, now serves as an officer on special duty to the additional chief executive officer and managing director at Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. His dedication and expertise are poised to make significant contributions to shaping and advancing the country’s health infrastructure. Saurabh Mishra is a consultant to the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs in New Delhi, India. In this capacity, he offers invaluable insights and assistance to the ministry’s endeavours. He has been instrumental in expanding the TULIP initiative for the urban local bodies across India. He has successfully integrated the program with key flagship initiatives of the ministry, including the Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, National Urban Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. 
  • Corporates: In response to the evolving regulatory landscape, modern corporations have established divisions for public policy specialists. This move reflects the increasing need for extensive collaboration with government ministries. Given the complexity of policies and regulations affecting corporate operations, there is a growing demand for experts capable of interpreting and navigating these intricacies. For example, Priya Pandey has demonstrated remarkable success in carving out a niche in educational consultancy. She holds a full time consultancy position at KPMG India, where she significantly contributes to projects for the Ministry of Education. Priya’s professional journey serves as a testament to her accomplishments and success in the field of education consultancy.
  • Research: Public Policy enthusiasts can advance their careers by becoming part of impactful research initiatives. Universities and think tanks often conduct extensive research on policy related topics, ranging from healthcare, education to environmental sustainability, etc. Vagisha Srivastava, a scholar of ISPP, worked as a research assistant at India Development Foundation, where she engaged in projects aimed at promoting development and addressing socio economic challenges in India. Currently, she serves as a research assistant at the Internet Governance Project at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In this role, she contributes her expertise to research initiatives focusing on various aspects of internet governance. Research roles are also prevalent in organisations such as J-PAL and Gartner, where activities span from data collection and analysis to report writing.
  • International Organisations/ Collaborations: International organisations and collaborations continually seek professionals with backgrounds in public policy, presenting opportunities for public policy enthusiasts to contribute to global initiatives.  For example, Aditya Kaudan serves as an analyst at the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in New Delhi, where he actively promotes policies to enhance the resilience of infrastructure systems against climate change and disaster risks, thereby fostering sustainable development. Similarly, Pankhuri Jain, a former scholar of ISPP, contributed her expertise as a consultant at the World Bank. With a focus on promoting adolescent wellbeing, empowerment, and resilience, she collaborated extensively with government ministries to contribute to project design, research, and writing for the World Bank’s MPower Project. ( Meghalaya Multisectoral Project for Adolescent Wellbeing, Empowerment and Resilience).
  • Prestigious Fellowships: Public Policy professionals can forge successful careers by participating in fellowships that can help create a  direct impact. It can help individuals build new insights and perspectives on various policy issues, as most fellowships provide hands-on experience through project work or field placements. Currently, Sukanya holds the esteemed position of International Climate Protection Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. As part of this role, he contributes to global efforts at combating climate change and fostering environmental resilience. 
  • Political Consultancy: Political consultancy is an evolving field in India that encompasses diverse verticals like research, policy analysis, campaigning, etc. Political think tanks in India play a vital role as incubators for novel ideas and creative policy solutions. Through rigorous research and analysis, these organisations play an essential role in shaping policies by offering recommendations to the political parties they serve. Political consultancies like Ipac, Inclusive Minds, Nation with Namo recruit policy specialists to drive their initiatives forward. Even members of parliament generally have one or two research associates who assist with parliamentary and legislative work.
  • Social Impact Organisations: Social Impact organisations like Samagra, Dasra, Sattva, etc., are increasingly hiring public policy professionals to advance their goal of creating direct impact. These firms provide social impact and, in addition, help build a knowledge base and create alliances among NGOs working on similar issues.

Hence, it can be said that the landscape of public policy has transitioned from being predominantly government-centric to encompassing a diverse array of organisations. It gives young minds a chance to make meaningful contributions to society and drive positive change. Public policy presents an exciting career path poised for significant growth, offering a plethora of opportunities for aspiring individuals eager to drive change and contribute meaningfully to society. For those envisioning themselves as catalysts for positive transformation, embracing a career in public policy is a compelling choice, given its dynamic landscape and expansive potential.

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Diksha Agrawal
Programme Advisor – Admissions

Diksha Agrawal, a Sociology graduate from Miranda House and postgraduate from Delhi School of Economics, embarked on her professional journey as a research fellow for Prashant Kishore’s Jan Suraaj initiative. Travelling across various districts of Bihar, she gained profound insights into the diverse needs of communities, igniting a deep interest in the field of public policy.

Furthering her engagement in politics and governance, Diksha served as a consultant for Inclusive Minds, political consultancy working for Indian National Congress during the Chhattisgarh elections. This role provided her with invaluable insights into the socio-political landscape of the state, reinforcing her determination to drive positive change through effective policy formulation and implementation.