Good governance needs trained people

Addressing the dearth of public policy professionals inside and outside government

“More than a quarter of India’s $1,200 billion gross domestic product,” Mukul Asher writes in his DNA column, “is intermediated through the public sector. Increasing size and complexity of the economy, and economic, social and political challenges facing the country require an urgent shift towards better public policies and management.”

And the way to go about that, he argues, is to transform the public policy education in India: India needs good public policy schools, certainly. But what is interesting is that he argues that “it is essential that professional public policy education be made accessible to those who have not yet joined public service, or do not intend to join but work in related areas such as media, non-profit sector and business firms requiring understanding of public policy processes.”

Think of ‘government relations’ or ‘regulatory affairs’ people in those Indian corporations that have such people these days. It is quite likely that these would either be fixers skilled in the art of moving files through the bureaucracy, lawyers, or, very occasionally, a management graduate. As much as India needs well-trained people in government, it needs well-trained public policy professionals in the private sector. [Related Post: Dear Mr Nilekani]