Indian executives investigate wide range of policy issues during seven-week Maxwell stint
Indian executives investigate wide range of policy issues during seven-week Maxwell stintOctober 29, 2003Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
There are 30 Indian nationals currently doing a seven-week stint at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. All are civil servants. But lumping them together belies the great variety of their experiences and interests. For example, Ashok Barnwal has conducted elections and worked with indigenous peoples; Ganeswara P. Rao has served as deputy chief operations manager for freight movement for the Indian Railways; and K.N. Murthy is a forest conservator who wants to learn about global forest policies.
They are all participants in Maxwell’s second annual residency by public policy students from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB). IIMB, created in 1973, is regarded as one of the best schools of management in India. It was selected by the Indian government to lead an effort to enhance policy making and managerial competencies in the public sector.
Participating in “Issues in Public Policy: An International Perspective” at Maxwell is part of participants’ master’s degree programming. “We are all mid-level civil servants,” says Sharada Subramaniam. “When we move up and enter the policy formation stage, this knowledge will be very useful for us.”
Subramaniam is a third-generation civil servant who has served in various auditing positions in different areas of the country. Her last position before entering the IIMB program was as director of finance for the Coffee Board of India, which exposed her to international commodity trade, price stabilization, risk insurance, export strategy and marketing.
Other participants include Gauri S. Trivedi, a teetotaler who has supervised liquor sales for the government to ensure steady revenue streams and “good, healthy liquor.” Trivedi has been studying public policy initiatives in reference to decentralized government and environmental issues while at Maxwell, and has also examined the situation for single mothers, such as herself, in the U.S.
Another student, Praveen Sood, spent 13 years with the police in the city of Bangalore, ending up as deputy inspector general before advising police forces in the African nation of Mauritius. At SU, specializing in the handling of juvenile crime, Sood explains his motivation for entering the IIMB program: “I spent 16 years making day-to-day policy. Now I want to formulate policy on broad issues concering the police force.”
Sood and his colleagues have learned much about U.S. and international policy while at Maxwell and on trips to the General Accounting Office, the World Bank and the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. Many have also sought to teach their American instructors; for example, Trivedi has pointed out how frustrated Indian bureaucrats are with U.S. policy. “They feel let down on a number of issues, including trade and security,” she says, adding that she hopes that she and her classmates will be able to bridge such gaps in the future.