PRS workshop for engaging MLAs across India

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There are a little over 4000 MLAs across all states in India.  For the citizen, a law passed by his state legislature is as relevant and important as one passed by Parliament.  And MLAs also have no research support available to them to understand and reflect on policy issues before voting for them in the state assembly.  To make matters worse, the sittings in many state assemblies are abysmally low as can be seen from this graph showing some states. For a while now, several MPs have been urging PRS to initiate some work with MLAs.  We started a Policy Guide series some months ago -- essentially a 2-page note on policy issues of contemporary relevance that would be useful for MLAs.  We started sending these out to MLAs in several states, and some MLAs called PRS back for more information and research. As a way to increase the engagement, PRS decided to hold a workshop for MLAs.  For this, we partnered with Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, and held our first workshop for MLAs from Jan 3-6, 2011.  In the first edition of the workshop, we had 44 MLAs participating from a dozen states across India.  The response was overwhelmingly positive (see short videos of MLA feedback here), with requests from MLAs to hold more such workshops for other MLAs as well.  Several also wanted longer duration workshops on important policy issues.  We see this as a small beginning for a sustained engagement with our MLAs.