Policy in Action- State Capacity

The Centre for Policy Research turns fifty this year. As we celebrate this special milestone, we present some snippets of our impact on the Indian policy sphere over the years in various areas of research.

This edition of Policy in Action is dedicated to our work with State Governments. Within the framework of India’s federal structure, State governments are at the cutting edge of policy design and implementation. This has become particularly pronounced in the last decade as States have taken the driving seat in the country’s governance.

CPR’s partnerships have ranged from monitoring and evaluation of select policies, partnerships to actively supporting States in designing implementation frameworks and policies, to capacity building and direct grassroots engagement.

Here’s a snapshot of our key work with State governments’ over the years:

Urban Governance

  • CPR partnered with the Government of Odisha to carry out a pilot study in the Dhenkanal district on urban-rural convergence. This approach has now been expanded to 20 districts in the state. The urban-rural convergence model, a product of research conducted by the Scaling City Institutions for India Initiative (SCI-FI), has received significant traction in national policy, owing to the uniqueness and replicability of this approach. It also supported the preparation of the Odisha Rural Sanitation Policy 2020, one of India’s first state-level rural policies.
  • We assisted the Government of Punjab to draft the Chief Ministers’ Slum Development Program also known as the Basera Mission along with various rules for the implementation of proprietary rights to the urban poor in the state. The SCI-FI initiative, the vanguard of this project, also assisted with training and compiled FAQs on the operationalisation of this mission by city officers.

Public Finance Management

  • CPR’s Accountability Initiative partnered with the Government of Meghalaya to support the Planning and Finance Department in a range of policy research activities including contributing to expenditure and budget transparency, and the development of the state’s first ever gender and youth budget.

Social Policy

  • The Accountability Initiative undertook a study on the challenges of achieving SDG targets in Meghalaya, and provided insights on critical social-sector SDG outcomes, including health and nutrition, education, rural and urban development, and other sector-specific policy suggestions for the state government to stay on track for meeting its SDG targets.
  • As part of our partnership with the Government of Meghalaya, CPR also facilitated technical resource support on Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC). Emerging from a participatory process and deep consultations with functionaries at all levels of the health system, new guidelines, Understanding Comprehensive Primary Health Care: The Meghalaya Way was launched by the Department of Health in December 2022. Meghalaya is the first state to release its own state specific CPHC guidelines, which set the framework and way forward for transformative, comprehensive health care delivery and coverage for every citizen of the state.
  • In collaboration with the Rajasthan Governments’ Chief Minister of Rajasthan’s Economic Transformation Advisory Council (CMRETAC), the Accountability Initiative mapped data generation, use, and processes across Education, Health and Family Welfare and Panchayati Raj departments. Subsequently, a study on data use by the government was conducted which recommended methods to manage data flows thereby using it for effective decision-making.
  • In partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, CPRs State Capacity Initiative studied approximately 5000 urban youth, using the Gram Sachivalayam Ward Sachivalayam (GSWS) data structure. This study sought to provide a demographic and economic characterization of the urban youth of the state and was the basis of a report which used these data to understand the relationship of the economic condition of urban youth to the pattern of welfare schemes and other support provided by the government. Another survey of approximately 15,000 beneficiaries of Ammavodi, YSR Cheyutha, and Nadu Nedu (a program to build infrastructure in government schools) assessed the efficiency of delivery, and the impact of these benefits on perceptions of citizens about the state. This study blended government data on delivery with the GSWS database and developed a method to carry out evaluations using the GSWS data structures.
  • CPR’s research in Andhra Pradesh has documented inconsistencies in data structure and described plausible routes through which leakage may be occurring (following appropriate masking and data privacy protocols) in the welfare delivery system created through the GSWS structure. Our analysis was conducted in three key areas: the fidelity of the existing database, and data gaps therein; the resolution of data on children attending school and demographic data used in the Ammavodi scheme that delivers a cash benefit to mothers of school-going children; and the calculation of beneficiaries (as a check on government calculations) for YSR Cheyutha which provides cash benefits to women between the ages of 45 and 59 from certain communities (OBC, SC, ST, Minority).

State Capability Enhancement and Design Support

  • CPR has worked closely with Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs), the primary training ground for state civil servants, across several states to reimagine and deliver novel training programmes. The first partnership was with the Meghalaya Administrative Training Institute (MATI) in 2021, followed by the Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) and most recently with the Administrative Training Institute, Nagaland. These efforts are led by the States Capacity Initiative.
  • In a knowledge partnership with the Government of Meghalaya’s State Capacity Enhancement Project, the Meghalaya State Capability Forum was established. This Forum convened cutting edge global and national knowledge, and insights on deep conversations with the State’s political and bureaucratic leadership. As part of this partnership, Mekhala Krishnamurthy and K Rahul Sharma of the States Capacity Initiative co-authored a paper on Meghalaya’s approach to building a dynamic organisational learning culture at all levels of government titled ‘Valuing Evaluation: Building Capacities for Evaluative Thinking and Learning in Indian States’ for NITI Aayog’s publication on M&E @ 70: Strengthening India’s Evidence Systems for Accelerated Reforms and Inclusive Growth.
  • The Government of Tamil Nadu constituted the Human Resources Reforms Committee (HRRC) in 2022 to study the status and propose reform measures to enhance the performance as well as the social inclusiveness of the public sector workforce. Through this period of nine months the States Capacity Initiative provided research and analytical support as the Research Secretariat to the HRRC. Its work involved conducting extensive fieldwork and interviews with government officials occupying diverse positions in Tamil Nadu, desk research to collate the latest knowledge and practices on human resource development, data analysis of existing human resources data to identify critical trends in recruitment, retirements, and social inclusiveness, and the drafting of the report itself.
  • In partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, CPR is working to build a Data Analytics Unit (DAU) with the goal to empower departments to use their data more effectively. The States Capacity Initiative, which is at the forefront of this partnership, has also been involved in developing statistical models across departments to help the government to process a large volume of data. The findings of these models are then communicated to high-level officers to provide action-based insights to relevant bureaucrats within the department.

To know more about CPR’s work with State governments, you can visit our website at https://cprindia.org/research-area/

Stay tuned for our next pop-up edition of Policy in Action, coming soon!