Policy in Action – Bengaluru 2019

Participating Policymakers


Binoy Viswam (Rajya Sabha)

Mr. Viswam is a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) from Kerala. He is a senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader who has been with the party since he turned 18, and is currently the president of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Employees' Federation. He also serves the CPI in his capacity as its Central Secretariat Member.

Prior to his nomination to the Parliament, he has been a Forest Minister in the Government of Kerala and was elected multiple times to the Kerala Legislative Assembly from Nadapuram constituency, Kozhikode. During his time as an MLA, he has served as Member (Estimates Committee), as Chairman (Assurance Committee) and was one of the five members of the Constituency Delimitation Committee.

A well-known youth leader in his younger days, he has served as Vice President of World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), and also as the Head of its Asia Pacific Commission. A lawyer by profession, he has also worked with the Nottingham University, UK as a creative writer.

K. Kavitha (Lok Sabha)

Ms. Kalvakuntla Kavitha is a Member of Parliament and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party member. She is the first woman parliamentarian from Telangana and represents the Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency.

She completed her engineering from VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad and later did her MS in computer sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi. After graduation, she worked as a software engineer in the United States before returning to India to join the Telangana movement. To support the cultural renaissance of Telangana, she also set up Telangana Jagruthi that has now transformed into a strong socio-cultural organization with thousands of dedicated members.

In Parliament, Ms. Kavitha is a member of the Estimates Committee, the Standing Committee on Commerce and the Consultative Committee, Ministry of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Ninong Ering - MP (Lok Sabha)

Mr. Ering is a Member of Parliament from the Arunachal Pradesh East constituency and a former Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs in the UPA government. He is a member of the Indian National Congress.

He began his political career as a member of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1989, where he served two terms. He has also served as a Minister of State in the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and as the Deputy Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

He is currently a member of the Committee on Ethics, the Standing Committee on Science & Technology, and the Standing Committee on Environment & Forests. He has also been associated with not-for-profits working in the sphere of health and sanitation.

Supriya Sule (Lok Sabha)

photograph-of-ms-supriya-sule-mpMs. Supriya Sule is a member of the Nationalist Congress Party and currently an MP in Lok Sabha. She has been representing the Baramati constituency of Maharashtra since 2009. Before getting elected to the Lok Sabha, she was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2006 to 2009, also from Maharashtra.

In Parliament, Ms. Sule sits on the Standing Committee on External Affairs as well as the Committee on the Empowerment of Women. In 2011, she launched a statewide campaign in Maharashtra against female foeticide. Recently, she has been honoured with "Mumbai Women of the Decade Achievers Award" for her outstanding contribution to social service.

She was educated at Jai Hind College in Mumbai where she earned a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology.

V Muraleedharan (Rajya Sabha)

Mr. Vellamvelly Muraleedharan, the eighth State President of the BJP in Kerala, is an Indian politician who serves as an MP in the Rajya Sabha. He is a graduate in English Literature from Govt. Brennan College, Thalassery and began his political career at the time of Emergency. In 1978, as the Taluk President, he led ABVP in Thalassery. Thereafter, he became the Kannur District Secretary in 1979 and the State Joint Secretary of ABVP in 1980.

Elected to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Maharashtra, Mr. Muraleedharan is a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs and also sits on the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Railways. In addition to this, he is also a member of the Court of Indian Maritime University, Chennai.

Government of NCT of Delhi

The Government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi is the governing authority of the national capital territory and its 11 districts. Fellows at the Policy in Action Program, Bengaluru (2019) will be supporting the work of three departments in the Delhi government: (1) Health & Family Welfare; (2) Urban Development; and (3) Industries. These three departments are currently handled by Mr. Satyendra Kumar Jain who is a Cabinet Minister in the Delhi Government and a Member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The Department of Health & Family Welfare is responsible for healthcare services in the capital and caters to the health needs of nearly 160 lakh people in Delhi, while also accommodating for the migratory population from neighbouring states. The Department of Urban Development plans for various infrastructure facilities and essential services, such as water supply, sewage disposal, sanitation and is responsible for urban poverty alleviation, and providing funds to as well as coordinating among urban local bodies. The Industries Department is the nodal agency to plan, promote and develop industries in Delhi. Encouraging modern hi-tech as well as export-oriented small scale industries is a major area of focus for the department.



Live Projects

The Bengaluru cohort was tasked to work on issues identified by the participating policymakers. Below you’ll find a list of the specific projects the fellows worked on.
Project 1: Improving the effectiveness of the minimum wage law

a) Discuss the origin and importance of minimum wages as well as the methodology used to compute minimum wages in India. Compare this with the methodologies used in other countries and those advocated for by multilateral organisations.
b) Study the enforcement of minimum wages across states in India, giving special attention to the informal economy. List shortcomings and offer policy recommendations for the same.
c) Evaluate the effect of employment projects (such as MNREGA) on minimum wages. Study the issues that affect their implementation and discuss policy recommendations, if any.
d) Draft a Private Members’ Resolution to raise the issue in Parliament.

Project 2: Reservations for the Economically Weaker Sections

a) Analyse the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019. Study government reports and case law/ judgements to understand associated issues.
b) The Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category will be defined by the government on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage. Evaluate the challenges, if any, in correctly targeting EWS citizens and affording the benefits of reservation to them. Assess the viability of this move in the current scenario and evaluate its potential impact on organisations, educational institutions and members of the general category.
c) Undertake a comparative analysis of similar models of affirmative action in other countries, and explore alternatives. Study and comment on the efficacy of these alternatives in the Indian context.
d) On the basis of the above, make arguments for or against its implementation.

Project 3: State of policies and funds allocated for irrigation projects in Telangana

a) Analyse the various government initiatives aimed at developing irrigation in India and identify shortfalls, if any.
b) Undertake a study of the irrigation policies and budgetary allocations to irrigation and related projects in Telangana over the past five years; analyse trends, if any.
c) Through stakeholder consultations and literature review, identify the problems faced by the state in expanding irrigation, and the impact on farmer welfare.
d) Draft recommendations basis the above analysis.

Project 4: Institutional support to MSMEs in India

a) Undertake a comprehensive study of the major institutional mechanisms in place for assisting MSMEs in India, including laws, policies and government programs under the purview of the central government. Evaluate their implementation and effectiveness.
b) Undertake a comparative analysis to understand how the MSME sector is supported in other countries. Assess the viability of implementing some of these initiatives in the Indian context.
c) Draft suitable recommendations for the central government to improve support to MSMEs.

Project 5: Promoting the tourism sector in Arunachal Pradesh

a) Identify the growth potential of tourism in Arunachal Pradesh as well as the structural problems that hold back growth.
b) Analyse policies, laws, and best practices of other states and countries to promote tourism. Assess the viability of implementing some of these initiatives in the context of Arunachal, given its topography, level of development and socio-cultural context.
c) Identify policy interventions that can address bottlenecks to growth in this sector, and make recommendations to that effect.

Project 6: Skill development and employment generation in Arunachal Pradesh

a) Study the demographic profile of Arunachal Pradesh and map education, skilling and employment opportunities in the state; identify demand-supply gaps in the labour market.
b) Analyse the major central and state government initiatives with respect to skilling and employment generation in Arunachal and identify reasons for their success or failure.
c) Undertake a comparative analysis of interventions in other states and identify best practices that may be implemented in the context of Arunachal Pradesh.
d) Make suitable policy recommendations basis the above analysis.

Project 7: Human trafficking and sexual exploitation in India

a) Study the issue of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in India and identify its different forms, prevalence, contributing factors and consequences.
b) Critically analyse the laws and policies meant to prevent such trafficking, including India’s obligations under international conventions and identify shortcomings, if any. Study data (conviction rates, etc.) as well as examples from recent history and case law to identify problems in implementation.
c) Compare measures taken by other countries and understand their effectiveness.
d) Suggest suitable policy recommendations to reduce trafficking, increase conviction rates and improve rehabilitation of victims.

Project 8: Creating a supportive policy environment for Indian fishermen

a) Study the demographic profile of the major fishing communities in India, including educational status, economic background, caste etc. Critically analyse the problems they face in the socio-economic sphere (access to opportunities, substance abuse etc.).
b) Examine the main commercial constraints faced by Indian fishermen. In particular, look at government regulations, control by intermediaries, impact of climate change, and threats faced when fishing in territorial waters. Evaluate the impact of these constraints on their livelihood.
c) Examine national level schemes and policies currently in place to support fishing communities in India and evaluate their effectiveness.
d) Basis the above, suggest suitable policy recommendations.

Project 9: Appointment of Judges - judicial reform in Kerala

a) Study the judicial system in Kerala, specifically appointments to the higher judiciary.
b) Given the recent controversy, analyse the degree of transparency and accountability in appointments. Use available data and stakeholder consultations to understand if there is favouritism in appointments. Study procedural loopholes, avenues for discretion, if any.
c) Undertake a comparative analysis and study other judicial systems to identify measures that may be taken to improve transparency and accountability.
d) Suggest suitable policy recommendations.

Project 10: Creating a startup policy for Delhi

a) Evaluate the existing startup ecosystem in Delhi and identify opportunities and challenges for startups in the Indian capital.
b) Study startup policies of different states, analyse available data and speak with stakeholders to evaluate their efficacy. Identify best practices that may be adopted by Delhi.
c) Put together the key principles that should inform the startup policy in Delhi. The policy should create an enabling ecosystem for startups, and may focus on infrastructure, incentives, regulatory support, etc.

Project 11: Effectiveness of government interventions to improve health outcomes in Delhi

a) Undertake an analysis of the health facilities available in Delhi and identify major issues faced by people in terms of access and affordability.
b) Study the effectiveness of different interventions undertaken by the government of Delhi in the past four years and identify potential areas of improvement.
c) Study best practices from other states/cities that may be implemented in Delhi for improving health outcomes. Assess the viability of implementing these initiatives in the context of Delhi, given its population density, level of development, governance structure and availability of funds.
d) Make suitable policy recommendations.

Project 12: Improving water management in Delhi

a) Evaluate the performance of the following water policies of the Delhi government against the stated objectives: (i) 20 kilolitre Lifeline Water Scheme and associated water tariff policy; (ii) Water and Sewer Development Scheme (reduction in rates and incentivisation of metering); (iii) Decentralised Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) scheme of the Delhi Jal Board; and (iv) Garden and Park Development Scheme (for greening and STP making).
b) Suggest policy changes/interventions required to improve the performance of these schemes.
c) Suggest any additional policy measures that the Delhi government may consider to improve water management in the city.



Class profile


Total class size (Bengaluru 2019): 59


Educational background


Age profile