Policy Career Talks @ CVV – December 2020

Talk on Urban Policy and NGOs

On 5 December 2020, a policy career talk on ‘Urban Policy and NGOs’ was organised for the first-year M.A. PPG students of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) by the faculty of MA PPG and CVV’s Outreach and Placement Cell. Shri Sreenath Namboodiri (Assistant Professor, School of Ethics, Governance, Culture and Social Systems (EGCS)) gave the welcome address and introduced the speaker Shri Sharad Mahajan. Shri Mahajan is a practising architect-planner from Pune and has worked extensively in the field of slum housing, urban environment, and thematic mapping. He has worked on a spectrum of multi-disciplinary areas ranging from pure architectural projects to rehabilitation projects in disaster-hit areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra. He works closely with various urban local bodies in preparing the mandatory environment status reports, slum rehabilitation projects, slum sanitation projects, among others. He also works with various government agencies both at the city and state level along with parastatal agencies like MHADA, SRA, as well as private organisations and individuals. He is the founder of Mashal, an NGO.

In his talk, Shri Mahajan spoke about the transition of NGOs since the 1950s to the present day. In the 1950s NGO’s followed the Gandhian ideology in their focus, structure and working patterns. In the 1970s there was a transition to a leftist liberal approach in the focus and working patterns that led to the privatisation of public interest by the NGOs. Post the 1991 LPG reforms, there was a shift to a focus on issues of private interest and public good simultaneously. After that, there was a transition to the present-day model of NGOs where in order to practice what is preached, NGOs need to be ethical and professional in their functioning.

The speaker elaborated on the various initiatives undertaken by Mashal. The initiative of the ‘Slum Atlas’ for Slum Mapping and Data in Dharavi was emphasized along with the various housing initiatives undertaken by the NGO aimed at increasing the participation of people in the housing sector.

Further, he explained the importance of the FCRA 2010, in gaining funds for NGOs and the need for a structured model to utilise contributions efficiently while fulfilling the social goals of the NGO. Highlighting the changes which were brought about by the CSR Act 2015. He spoke about the work done by Mashal during the COVID-19 pandemic to support sex workers and migrants and the CSR activity of the NGO wherein in collaboration with ‘John Deere’, a tractor company, balwadis were constructed for the children of migrant labourers.

While addressing questions from the students, Shri Mahajan said that agility and integrity are necessary for those who intern at NGOs. The session closed with a vote of thanks by Dr. Nithin Ramakrishnan (Assistant Professor, School of EGCS).


Talk on Public Policy Career Opportunities in the Education Sector

On 20 December 2020, a policy career talk was organised by the faculty of M.A. PPG and the Outreach and Placement Cell for the first year M.A. PPG students. The session began with a welcome address by Aswathi.

The speaker for the day was Siddhesh Sarma, Co-Founder and Chief Programs Officer at Leadership for Equity (LFE).  Shri Sarma started his work in education through the Teach for India Fellowship in 2011 and worked as a Curriculum Writer for Bridge International Academies. He is a representative of SCERT Maharashtra on two NCERT Committees, and has over five years of experience as a consultant with the School Education Department, Government of Maharashtra. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Teach for India, Pune.

Shri Sarma spoke on ‘Public Policy Career Opportunities in the Education Sector’. He began with the varied understanding of policy. The perspective of policy as a principle of action, set of all actions and a deliberate system were highlighted. He explained the various approaches to understanding policy and the four paths to approaching work in policy, with examples.

He then provided a critical analysis of the major pathways for students in the field of public policy such as in consultancy firms, as think tanks in multilateral organisations or as professors, or other teaching fields (Consultancy/Advisory Councils—national and international); and at the government level as government policymakers such as political or administrative leaders. He also mentioned the pros and cons of every field based on individual skills and interests.

The programme ended with a question-answer session, where the speaker highlighted the importance of policy education at the high school level. In his concluding remarks, he spoke about the mindset required for policymakers. The session ended with a vote of thanks by Aswathi.