Career in Public Policy

India boasts of a rich demographic dividend – a young populace that is becoming increasingly ready to be a part of the change that matters for the India of today and the India of tomorrow. In parallel, the government is slowly, yet steadily, opening its doors to engage experts from outside bureaucracy to address the challenges being faced. This paradigm shift has resulted in the enhanced emergence of public policy as a strong career option amongst the youth.

The domain of public policy invites those who are not only intellectually curious and socially committed but also inherit the drive to see the change through.

As far as career opportunities in the public policy domain are concerned, these have grown manifold over the past few years in India and across sectors. For example, in the government sector, individuals from outside civil services are being hired to help carry forward India’s governance through diverse challenges.

Both the Central and State Governments are increasingly seeking professional assistance from consultancy firms, non-governmental organisations and individual experts.

Recently, the Government hired nine private professionals at joint-secretary levels.

In the private sector too, companies are engaging a number of in-house public policy experts. Political parties and even politicians seek professional assistance in policy matters as part of their larger strategy to build a brand image.

Besides, public policy opens up many options for students in the area of research and development, with think tanks as policy advisors/analysts, political strategists, public policy consultants etc.

The remuneration, as a public policy expert, varies depending on the function/role, background, experience and skills, the domain in which one is engaged and the ongoing demand. Besides the attraction of the remuneration, the field offers arguably one of the best platforms to plan and implement change on sustainable and extensive scales.

As India traverses the path towards further development, a new class of policy leaders will be in demand – one who possess the requisite skill sets, vision and drive to bring about the much needed changes in India’s socio-political and economic landscape and with a sound understanding of the country’s complex and dynamic public policy challenges, in order to be able to design effective and customised solutions through formulation of definitive policies.

Various institutes, in India and abroad, offer courses in Public Policy. Some of India’s institutes are as under:

  • School of Public Policy and Governance Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad
  • National Law School India University Bangalore
  • TERI University, New Delhi
  • The Indian School of Public Policy
  • Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Management Calcutta
  • School of Public Policy and Governance, MDI Gurgaon
  • School of Public Policy and Governance Azim Premji University Bangalore
  • Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, Sonipat, Haryana
  • Takshashila Institution, an independent think tank and school of public policy

A good public policy programme today therefore combines quantitative skill building courses such as policy analysis, programme evaluation and the like with courses on politics and political economy, governance and institutional analysis, public administration,
anthropology and ethics to gain insights into the lived experience of people with the state on the ground.

A good post-graduate degree in public policy thus should provide students with a well-balanced synthesis of social science, humanities, management, research methods and quantitative skills. With such a holistic approach to the curriculum, public policy graduates will also be better equipped to handle policy-related jobs in consultancy firms, government and non-governmental organisations, private companies, the media, and funding agencies. Above all else, a public policy master’s will be ideal for those who are passionate about contributing to social change by engaging with the public institutions.