My
deep interest in pursuing a career in Governance and Public Administration, in hindsight,
was not serendipitous. Growing up in a country with a third of its population
below poverty line, I have always been drawn to the interaction between
policies and on-ground impact. With time and education, I realized that my
interest was not limited to any particular realm of policy; everything from
foreign trade to infant mortality fascinated me. My predilection for the
nonprofit and public sector was further cemented when
I volunteered with Arya Samaj charitable trust, working to improve the
livelihoods of orphan children.

Through
my undergraduate courses, I developed a nuanced understanding of the public
sector, supplemented by a focus on the range of developmental issues plaguing India
by means of both quantitative and qualitative analyses. My stint as a Research
Fellow at India’s leading Public Policy think tank, the Centre for Civil
Society (CCS), enabled me to pursue core policy research. I undertook research on
the Right to Education Act (RTE), wherein I used quantitative methods to
evaluate the grievance redressal mechanism and identify key problems with design
and delivery, such as poor accountability, lack of coordination between
ministries, and disproportionate budget allocation.

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My
deep involvement with this project at CCS propelled me to take-up an evaluation
of the legislation’s implementation status for my senior year dissertation. Using
quantitative data from secondary sources, and qualitative primary research, I
examined the factors affecting the quality of education delivery, and areas
requiring intervention.

One
of the defining professional experiences of my journey was my time at the
Indian Political Action Committee, India’s first cross-party advocacy group.
There could have been no better education as to how policy making interacts
with politics. I also gathered hands-on experience on how demographics and
inter-departmental administrative linkages between the executive and political
parties shape the policy landscape. I studied demographics, electoral behavior,
and political trends based on stratified random sampling and used that to
conceptualize the campaign strategy for the Punjab state elections. While
working for Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, I measured socioeconomic
and political indicators of development for 33 localities by strategic
interaction with stakeholders and data analysis of demographic data. This led
to the preparation of policy briefs and manifestos, and helped finalize
resource allocation on Election Day, contributing to Amarinder Singh’s victory
margin of 38%.

My
current position at the Suryodaya Rural Development Trust has allowed me to
contribute to the transformation of rural lives by bridging the demand-supply
gap between people’s needs and the system’s provisions. Through evidence-based
research, I developed a monitoring and evaluation system to increase the
efficiency of the district administration.

My
keen interest in the Master of Public Policy Program at George Washington is
due to its interdisciplinary structure combining courses such as economics,
research methods and analytical tools. I am particularly interested in the
Program Evaluation and Analysis field. With my inclination towards research and
a drive to work in policy making, GW’s rigorous coursework will provide me the
necessary skill set to pursue my aspirations to take up research and policy
positions, work with United Nations and leading global think tanks to formulate
policy at the highest level.

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