Yechury outsources planning to IIM-A students

As reported by Archana Mohan in Business Standard, Ahmedabad March 10, 2008

In a first-of-its-kind initiative undertaken by Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), students from the institute have received the go-ahead from CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury to work with his constituency on planning the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) as well as various other schemes this year.

Members of Parliament, who are often left wondering how to go about optimum utilisation of funds under the MPLADS, could soon get the planning outsourced to IIMs’ students.

For the IIM-A student group, work under the MPLADS will consist of planning the best way to spend the Rs 2-crore fund under the scheme which MPs receive every year for implementation in one or more districts as they may choose.

Students will be involved closely with the constituency’s role in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

The students will also analyse provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, assess all funds spent by the constituency and create a system to monitor performance indicators of NGOs and local bodies.

Titled ‘Connect with Leaders’, the idea has been conceived by Krishna Chepuri, the IIM-A student who interned with the CPI(M) last year, his batchmate, Vijayendra Haryal, who pioneered the social entrepreneurship fair in the campus and first year PGP student Shrijan Pal Singh, who acted as a poll observer during the Gujarat elections.

“A group of four to five students chosen from 60 interested students from different programmes including the Post Graduate Programme, Post Graduate Programme in Public Management and Policy (PGP-PMP) and Fellowship Programme in Management will be able to interact with Sitaram Yechury through remote access connectivity,” said Singh.

The IIM-A board has already identified faculty advisors for the programme which will take shape between July and December 2008. Although the students will work for a political party, they say the ideology will not matter when it comes to choosing an MP.

“The rationale behind the project is to enable students to understand the working of the government just as we understand the working of the corporate sector. We are in talks with MPs of various parties for whom we will offer our management and analysis skills in a neutral forum,” said Chepuri.

His batchmate Haryal added that the long-term aim of the project is to create more awareness among students regarding public policy, therefore the students are willing to work without a stipend.

Things rolled into place in January 2008, when the IIM-A students met Yechury in Delhi and proposed a project where students could get an insight into the management of public policies and schemes in the Centre.

Working with senior professor Anil Gupta from IIM-A, Yechury and the students created the framework for the project and will start with West Bengal as a pilot run.

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