- hindi lamp
About the LAMP Fellowship
The Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship is a unique and an exciting opportunity for young Indians to learn law-making and public policy. LAMP Fellows are mentored by a Member of Parliament (MP) and work full-time with the assigned MP during a given year, starting from the Monsoon session of Parliament till the end of the Budget session. The primary role of a LAMP Fellow is to provide extensive research support to her/his MP for their parliamentary work. This includes drafting parliamentary questions for the MP, preparing the MP's speeches for zero hour debates, raising matters of public importance, drafting private members' bills etc.
When Parliament is not in session, LAMP Fellows engage with policy makers, experts from various think-tanks, academicians from several leading universities, and leaders from diverse public policy institutions through participation in workshops on important policy and development issues. LAMP Fellows also participate in field visits during the inter-session period for a practical exposure to governance at the ground level.
Life at LAMP
Meet our Fellows
Sripriya Srivatsa Iyengar
The LAMP Fellowship is one of those rare journeys that one has to jump into without any preconceived notions or expectations. Everyday you encounter something or someone new. For me, it has been a glorious year spent with intelligent people and exciting experiences. The challenges along the way only made me a stronger, more aware person. How much you takeaway from the Fellowship is entirely up to the you. Speak up, don’t be afraid to ask questions and make the most of the innumerable resources available to you!
Akash Kumar Singh
What motivated me to join the LAMP Fellowship is that the fellowship provides an opportunity to not only ideate ideas but directly implement those ideas. Whenever I went with new ideas, my mentor MP enthusiastically used to take up the idea and take forward in forms of parliamentary interventions, bills, suggestions to ministries, and so on and so forth. I was able to introduce bills and interventions which were in my mind before joining the fellowship. As a LAMP Fellow, I was fortunate enough to develop a strong bond with my mentor MP. Direct interaction with policymakers and government resources enables fellows to improvise their ideas and ensure accountability in governance. Meeting fellows coming from a diverse academic background and different parts of the nation is an amazing experience in itself. Apart from being able to bring a direct impact at a young age, I did a lot of fun things as a fellow. The trip to Arunachal was a lifetime experience. Most importantly, the fellowship taught me to view governance from a positive perspective.
I like many other fellow Indians always blamed our politicians for the myriad problems in our country. I applied to LAMP because I wanted to see the other side- understand the challenges and problems faced by our politicians. On a broader level, I wanted to critically think and analyse about fundamental problems in governance and policy making. Honestly, I have left with more questions than answers. In terms of solving the problems in the country, what I know for sure is that there is significant need for citizen engagement and awareness about the legislative process.
As a LAMP, I had the opportunity to work on various issue ranging from human trafficking, farmer’s suicide, women safety and menstrual hygiene. Meeting NGO’s and policy think tanks and getting their insights on different policy areas helped me to increase my horizon as well. A normal day of my fellowship would include working on questions and private member bill, drafting letters to ministries and being updated about the news of my MPs constituency and state, which would serve as fodder for my 377 and zero hour. In between the parliament sessions, we had PRS workshops on specific policy sectors which were very useful. During the fellowship, the budget session turned out to be the busiest and most exciting as well. Working on the demands for grants of various ministries, especially in context to my MPs need required me to go deep and understand the micro issues of her constituency. Also providing research and comparative analysis of schemes launched by government in the past years increased my own knowledge. One of the major highlight of the fellowship was when I was working with my MP on women issues. I drafted Private member bills and rose zero hours on the issues such as menstrual hygiene, increasing breast cancer and women safety in the country. All in all, it was a knowledge-building experience.
My interest in Policy, Politics and Governance emerged during my undergraduate career. Courses on South Asia sparked a keen interest in understanding Public Policies and Government institutions in the region. When I stumbled upon LAMP, it seemed like the perfect avenue to begin this journey. Over the past year, the fellowship has given me profound insights into the intersection between politics and policies. To witness and be part of the work and deliberations carried out by our MP's has been nothing short of incredible. It has been especially exciting to carry out extensive research using Government resources. Be it my work on a private member bill, drafting a speech, or writing a bill brief, I have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge. Apart from a solid understanding of Parliamentary systems, and the role of research in Government establishments, LAMP has also given me a new favourite pastime - watching Rajya Sabha TV! I hope to remain in this field, and continue learning how our MP's can contribute towards making the country just and equitable; economically, socially and politically!
Being from a law background, I was keen to understand, how the law and policy mechanism works together and helps in administration of ever-changing, diverse and organic environment prevalent in the Indian Democracy. And although study of law has always been promoted, the ambit of public policy has not been properly appreciated in the Indian education system. Luckily, PRS’ LAMP fellowship is one of the few programmes which actually saw the need for involving youth in studying public policy and governance practically, while providing much-needed research assistance to already burdened and pre-occupied Members of Parliament. This along with the unique incentive of getting guidance from the respected people’s representatives inspired me to opt for the LAMP Fellowship for the year 2017-2018. While working under the tutelage of a Member of Parliament on different national agendas, during the last one year, I had gained insights and experiences which are unparallel, unique and exhilarating for someone of my age. The Fellowship helped me in gaining the understanding of various complexities associated with Government functioning and how a well-researched, aware and active parliamentarian through use of parliamentary instruments like question hour, zero hour, parliament resolutions etc can help in increasing the transparency, accountability and public mandate of Government. In shorts, it made me appreciate the paramount role played by the people’s representatives as legislature and the need for the youth to take responsibilities and contribute towards governance of the country.
When I was selected for the LAMP fellowship, I was happy but intimidated too . Being an engineering undergraduate , I had no experience in the field of policy-making and law. But the informative workshops conducted by the experts in the field of law, power and possibly every social sector issue provided us the thorough grounding required to be efficient as legislative assistants, From working on interesting policy briefs to drafting private member bills, the LAMP fellowship experience has been truly enriching. But more importantly , it has helped me to understand that a jaundiced view of the legislature is the biggest impediment to public participation in political discussions. There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between politics and the general masses which is exactly what LAMP fellowship does This fellowship has definitely motivated me to continue working in the developmental sector and augment the Government's efforts to bring about ground level changes.
In my four years of college, I was actively involved in doing research projects on diverse subjects ranging from the socio-cultural impact of Dilli Haat to relevance of Baolis in water conservation among many others. This engagement in research developed in me a strong interest to pursue a research oriented study of public policy and law making. Selection to the prestigious LAMP fellowship provided me the best platform to follow my objective. It gave me a coveted chance to be in close touch with parliamentary affairs and policy making and gain practical insights in the same. As a LAMP fellow I had to comprehensively research on diverse and broad ranging issues often within strict deadlines and present them to my MP in a succinct form that could be raised in the House. This enhanced my research skills and improved my knowledge holistically across different subjects. Also, the workshops conducted for us by PRS gave me a wide perspective on different domains within policy. This unique experience has effectively shaped my outlook towards the governance and political structure of the country. This would surely help me to become a more informed and responsible citizen of the nation and a valuable contributor to any profession I choose in future.
The LAMP fellowship was the only programme available that provided a direct participation in the field of public policy. Having studied Political Science and International Relations, public policy and governance had always been on my interest radar. However, most programmes did not consider freshers to be capable for such positions. This fellowship realises this dream and gives us a platform to showcase our interests and to pitch our ideas to the Members of the Parliament, thereby providing us with the unique opportunity to be exposed to and being an active part of the government's machinery. It was this very idea to indulge myself directly in the policy making structure of the country, that inspired me to apply for the fellowship. This fellowship has been an intense learning experience. I learned how to do away with jargon, keep my points brief, my subject concrete and my words direct, so much so, that I had half a mind to type this in bullet points instead of a paragraph. One of my biggest takeaways from this fellowship would be learning the art of silence and acceptance of the fact that change comes over a period of time and not sssimmediately. I learned how to be a true professional and how to not get carried away with our ideas and passion, and that knowledge can only be gained through research and that there is no alternative to thorough research. I was truly blessed to have assisted an MP who appreciated my ideas and who did not shy away from criticism when I was wrong. I had the privilege of understanding the legal framework procedure of a Bill when I framed a Private Member Bill for my MP. To pen down just a few key takeaways from this herculean experience is impossible, as it was so much more than any of us expected it to be. It truly was an immersive, exhausting and definitely an enriching experience.
People. Policy. Politics. A LAMP Fellow stands at the intersection of these three domains. The Parliament as an institution offers an educational and exciting platform to put forth issues of national importance. It is here that one holds our Government accountable in more ways than what is common knowledge. Under the aegis of my Member of Parliament, I was introduced to a kaleidoscope of ideas and concepts. Be it the functioning of Parliament or the Standing Committees, the work of an MP is vast; inside the Parliament and outside of it. The research for such a wide swathe of work was often an amalgamation of social, economic and political perspectives. Apart from this, I also got a chance to critically analyze several pieces of legislations which could gradually form a part of the law of the land. The training at PRS has been another highlight of my time as a Fellow. The opportunity to listen to and engage with domain experts opened a new world of policy issues for me. Through the Fellowship, I had the opportunity to meet a vibrant cohort of Fellows. A chance to witness their unique experiences and backgrounds were of much significance to me. I am thankful to PRS Legislative Research, Mr. Derek O’Brien and his team for an eventful year.
My interest in governance and policy issues made LAMP Fellowship one of the best platforms for me to be a part of. Having been a student of Law and Public Policy, I was able to identify gaps and implementation problems concerning Government policies. The Fellowship provided me with just the right opportunity to put these analytical skills to use and contribute to the most important legislative and policy making space in the country. The Fellowship has helped immensely in strengthening my research skills, by providing a wide array of tools and issues to work with, along with broadening my understanding of key policy debates, just by being a part of this bright and engaging cohort. Working in a Parliamentarian’s office has made me appreciate these representatives and their work a lot more than what they get credit for in the popular discourse. Exposure to and interaction with experts from various fields, facilitated by the Fellowship has only made my belief stronger in the possibility of bringing about a change, not overnight, but gradually and sustainably.
Being a law student, I always wanted to understand the process behind the laws we argue in the courts. In court arguments, legislative intent is given great importance. I realized there is no better way than working with a member of parliament and observing the parliamentary proceedings closely to understand the same. While working with the Member of Parliament assigned to me, I learned that how a dedicated Member of Parliament and his staff can work as a bridge between administration and local people, how one person can open up the benefits of welfare schemes to the local people living in backward areas of India and bring notable changes in the working of administrative machinery in his constituency. While working for the parliamentary committee meetings, I came to know how effectively common citizens can participate in law making process. Overall, I can say this was a lifetime experience, the experience and exposure you get as a LAMP is peerless.
As a management professional working in an investment bank, I was looking for an opportunity to explore my interests in public policy. The LAMP Fellowship seemed like an exciting start as I believed it would give me a chance to work on various social and economic issues. Personally, it has been a career shift and has been an overwhelming transition. From working in a corporate to working in an MP's office is an entirely different ballgame, because unlike in a corporate, I carry many more important responsibilities being the sole research support to my MP. One of the key takeaways from the fellowship I believe has been the change in my perspective. The workshops conducted by PRS during the fellowship have shaped my perspective on the way I see our national issues than what I did as a layman before the fellowship. It has definitely given me a stronger and deeper sense of understanding of how a democracy like India functions. Merely being in an MPs office has given me a unique exposure and offered an opportunity to build a strong network. Lastly, the fellowship also comes with its own set of perks such as being accompanied by MPs for constituency visits which adds a fun element to the entire experience.
I applied for LAMP as a psychology graduate looking to explore how mental health could find space in the legislative domain. The fellowship expanded my horizons as a psychology major, and opened up an entire interdisciplinary domain of how law and policymaking interacts with the repertoire of academic fields. With a diverse cohort of fellows and a well-experienced cohort of trainers, this fellowship equipped me towards confidently raising issues of importance through the Parliamentary procedure. Working for a Member of Parliament on Standing Committee reports, matters of urgent importance to be raised in the Parliament, analysis of government bills, and legislative intervention through private member bills, has been a comprehensive experience of instilling conviction. I emerge from the fellowship as an Arts major who has confidence and conviction in legislative intervention, with an insight into how the Legislature can be a crucial pillar of change in our democracy. My favourite part about this fellowship has been the repertoire of workshops that have equipped us to explore the bottlenecks in our system. The fodder that these workshops gave us, channelised into the interventions we probed and raised in the Parliament through our MP. I would recommend this fellowship to anyone aiming to explore public service through an academic, systemic, and insightfully democratic process. The knowledge of Parliamentary procedure and how interventions can be channelised through them becomes an important tool in public service, and LAMP has equipped me with this knowledge.
Ganesh Shankar Rai
It is very tough to put in word the great experience it has been working with a senior MP in the Lok Sabha. With my MP speaking on variety of issues daily and expecting me to anticipating and be ready with a note for any and every issue, it has been a phenomenon that has made me identify my strengths as well as weaknesses. It has made me appreciate the hard work put in by our representative day in and day out without much rest. By working in a close capacity with a senior MP, I have been able to learn a few tricks about leadership and governance. By interacting with tons of people visiting to meet their MP and by interacting with them, I have been able to get a much better idea of the issues that people face and how an elected representative should go about solving that. It has truly been very fulfilling and a personality enhancing experience.
The unique approach the fellowship offers to engaging with public policy was the key motivation to apply for the fellowship. Six months into the fellowship made me realize that exposure to public policy is only one of the many aspects the fellowship can introduce one to. The profile of work varies from raising issues of importance through parliamentary interventions to organizing significant events for the Member of Parliament you're assigned to. No one day looks the same in the day of a LAMP fellow and that's part of the charm as well as the challenge. The unarranged/random pairing of Members of Parliament with Fellows is balanced by the uniqueness and diversity of experience the entire cohort goes through and the result is an invaluably varied and rich repository of stories, testimonies and experiences. The workshops held by PRS for the LAMP fellows allow us to engage with a variety of issues and speakers and is indispensable in it's contribution to our personal and professional growth.
Gurshabad Singh Grover
I joined the LAMP Fellowship to learn about policy-making and the legislative process at the Union. The lectures organised by PRS were instrumental in providing a foundation for the range of national issues that I delved deeper into while working at the office of a Member of Parliament. I had the opportunity to research and write about a plethora of subjects, ranging from macroeconomics and finance to human rights and education. I am immensely fortunate that my work has had an immediate tangible impact on the lives of the people of India and some states within the country.
During my law school, I had opportunities to spend time in the remote hinterlands of India, particularly the Northeast region and Kashmir. What that experience taught me was the unimaginable gap between intentions of policy and a law conceived in Delhi and its implementation at those places. To have a well rounded view of the discourse, I wished to have a better understanding of law making and the Fellowship was the perfect opportunity in that sense. Being assigned to a Floor Leader from a regional party, not only do I have to provide briefs on all Bills up for discussion but also bring in the socio-political aspect of the state the MP represented, which was the biggest challenge and the learning all the same. I was lucky in the sense that my interests aligned with my MP’s on various aspects.
I was studying in United States for my masters in International and Comparative Law when I got to know about the Congressional Fellowship Program in which the US Senators used assistance of graduates in policy making. Upon further research in my home country, India, I was glad to know that there is an organization like PRS Legislative Research which carry out a similar fellowship program. Therefore, as I wanted to try something niche in India and contribute to the policy making process directly, I choose to apply for LAMP Fellowship. Some of the best takeaways from this Fellowship, are not only interaction with your Member of Parliament and others across different political lines, but also to meet different stakeholders (NGOs, civil society organisations etc.) which are part of the policy making process. Apart from the Parliamentary work, in between session lectures on issues ranging from Agriculture to Real Estate and from Climate Change to Criminology, all taken by prominent players in their fields, was a very enriching experience. I feel blessed to be a part of this exciting fellowship programme and be a part of LAMP fraternity.
K Bhaskara manibabu
After having rigorous experiences with fieldwork as part of my academics and Politics; I wanted exposure in policy space. I felt this is the place which i can explore for better understanding of society and the fellowship me in interacting with the policy making procedures. LAMP Fellowship helped me in understanding myself and to erase many biases I used to have. The key takeaway can be, It doesn't matter what your ideology is, when you really want to work for people. I heartfully thank PRS for giving this opportunity and for polishing me better.
Before LAMP fellowship, I worked as a reporter for NDTV Network’s English language channel NDTV 24x7 and have reported from Bihar, UP, Chhattissgarh and Delhi on public policy and citziens' rights issues. I also worked as a researcher on prime time award-winning debate shows 'Left,Right and Centre' and 'The NDTV Dialogues'. I see LAMP as an extension to my journalism. While as a journalist I closely tracked implementation of government programmes, being a LAMP fellow has helped me get access to the other side of the story: an insight into policy making. From holding the government accountable to its policies as a journalist, to getting a first hand experience of what goes into policy making as a LAMP fellow, by the end of this programme, I have come full circle.I hope to return to journalism and use my experience of working with a ruling party MP to bring nuance to my reporting on complex issues of public policy.
LAMP Fellowship gives a radically unique opportunity to initiate one's career in the field of policy research. To be able to closely experience the life of an elected representative of millions is both a privilege and a huge responsibility. As a LAMP, our objective is to maximize the efficiency of Parliamentary interventions and in the process understand the subtleties of India's Polity which no book can teach. Sessions bring with them a new challenge everyday while Committee proceedings are truly rigorous and give us access to in-depth research. To be able to write well researched notes at will and distill hundreds of pages of convoluted reports into simple language are my biggest tangible takeaways from the Fellowship. Nonetheless, long conversations with the MP, amazement of contributing to Parliamentary discourse, and most importantly, a chance to make a difference are intangible and potentially life changing.
Kunal S. Joshi
LAMP has indeed given me a comprehensive experience of holistic Policy Analysis. The Fellowship provided me with a scope to apply knowledge from multiple disciplines for a greater public good.My investigations in rural Rajasthan allowed me to develop and leverage my skill-set to audit the implementation of various policies aimed towards skilling and employing the youth, while highlighting the constituency-level needs at the Parliamentary level at the same time.
Malik Fahdul Haq
Coming from a politically sensitive region, LAMP Fellowship was a natural choice for me given my deep ineterest in politics. Studying law further enhanced my inclination towards knowing what happens behind the scenes in the world of politcs. Hence it was the easiest decisions for me to apply for LAMP Fellowship. At LAMP Fellowship, I was very lucky to get a young and dynamic MP, who was very accomodative. I got a permenant pass to the Parliament where working in parliamentary party office was very exciting and enriching. I was first hand witness to all the preperations that went into performance of MPs in the Parliament as well as how research, facts and figure are used to put forward demands before the government as well as furthering political positions. This fellowship made me realise the importance of genuine research to solve issues concerning the common man at the highest political forums. I intend to carry forward this knowledge and experience in my future endeavours. LAMP was the experience of a lifetime!
The LAMP fellowship is a unique opportunity which not only gives a deeper insight into the legislative process, but also empowers the youth to actively participate in various policy formulations and development issues concerning the country and thereby becoming a change agent of the society. The very fact that my research maybe instrumental in shaping lives of many was the single most driving force for me towards pursuing the fellowship. I wanted to demystify the policy making process and bridge the gap between what I had studied about politics and how it actually works on ground. The difference between reality and television debates and classroom discussions became very clear and striking in the course of the fellowship. No two days have been same in the fellowship. Every day, we come across different topics, different things to research and work on, and gain different insights. From preparing parliamentary questions for different ministries and researching for committee meetings of the Member of Parliament, everything about LAMP is unique. I have worked extensively on Right to Education, Agrarian Crisis etc. and this is a small way in which I have understood the functioning of the world's largest democracy. Through this fellowship, I have not only touched upon variety of subjects involved in legislative policy making but also contributed towards good governance.
From a very young age, politics has interested me, growing up in India, I had my own opinion of it clouded by everything I read in the papers/ watched on television. The opaque nature of the political space in our country only made me more curious to know and learn about the processes that went into making policy decisions that would affect billions that live here. I was at a point in life where I was divided between pursuing a career in journalism or policy, and the LAMP Fellowship could not have come at a better time. What inspired me the most about the fellowship was: that I could actually work with a Member of Parliament, which is not something everybody enjoys an opportunity to, unlike in the West. The role of a LAMP Fellow checked every box that pertained to my interests: writing, research and debate. To work in Central Delhi, the crux of all political activities was definitely a chance I didn’t want to miss on. The past eleven months has been a journey of joyous learning and continuously expanding my horizons. A year ago, the books I read, the people whose works I’ve followed, and my knowledge of policies and law-makers were very different from today. My biggest take-away from the fellowship would be the literature it introduced me to. I did not expect in the slightest way that conversations about police reforms and death penalty would interest me, but here I am. The fellowship made self-learning not only possible, but also fun for me. It has made me more vigilant, and elevated me from being a mere observer to a participant in the political discourse. It gave me an opportunity to learn from many thinkers, and presented me with some remarkable work people do in the country, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Taking up the LAMP fellowship was a leap of faith for me since I had to move cities and give up a steady corporate job. However, being a lawyer by training with a keen interest in public policy, this opportunity was too good to pass. The experience over the last year has been overwhelmingly positive and has vindicated my decision to be a Fellow. The LAMP Fellowship has helped me understand the parliamentary system and the intricacies of its functioning. It also gave me a sneak peek into how politics is inextricably linked with legislative policymaking in the country. Being a legislative assistant to an MP who is the sole representative of his party in Parliament, I had a unique learning on how smaller parties represent and put forward their agenda as opposed to the national parties with a larger say. Further, working closely with an Opposition MP with a strong voice on minority affairs was a major learning curve on the importance of leaders who speak for interests which are otherwise unrepresented. Though the work over the last year has revolved around the Parliament primarily, I had the good opportunity to assist him frequently on media debates, conferences, public speeches etc. This has helped me research on a wide variety of issues such as minority affairs, free speech, terrorism, foreign policy, data protection, public finance just to name a few. Apart from the work itself, the opportunity to rub shoulders with an important decision maker and discuss political events have been exciting. Finally, as a LAMP Fellow I was able to access and network with different entities in the policy space. The Fellowship has been an excellent space to explore my interest areas and get a better idea on how to pursue them.
My passion towards public policy research and politics inspired me to apply for this Fellowship. It has truly been a great learning experience, so far. I got to work and research on diverse fields ranging from agriculture, commerce to real estate. During the inter-session period, I also worked towards CSR projects in my MPs constituency. Overall, this was a successful endeavour as I got an entirely new perspective of Indian parliamentary system. At the end of the fellowship, I got an admit from Sussex, UK for my desired course, development studies. I also dedicate this experience to my co fellows who made this experience worthwhile.
The fellowship is the perfect teacher of Rudyard Kipling's exposition in 'If' : 'If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch'. You grow profoundly as a person. It is a rewarding experience which demystifies the world of Indian Policy and Polity. There are certain ideas that you start the fellowship with and by the end of it you know either how to make those ideas or why they don't work. Needless to say, each day is a different work profile and has a different demand. It is an experience one needs to have if they intend to go work in the Policy Making Space.
Pranay Mohan Govil
I had applied for the Fellowship to understand the legislative machinery from within and to get a hands-on experience in the law making process. Seeing a Bill go from identifying a problem, drafting a Bill, debating it in Parliament and subsequently seeing its implementation at the ground level has made me realise the challenges that we tend to overlook in our everyday lives. My takeaway from the Fellowship, apart from learning Parliamentary procedures and processes, would definitely be my visit to the MP’s constituency - Karimnagar, Telangana. Visiting villages where tangible improvements have been made through positive interventions, and interacting with the people who made the changes happen opened my eyes towards the benefits that effective policies and efficient administration can bring. Daily interaction with a Member of Parliament is not something that many can experience, but getting to discuss the happenings within and outside Parliament with a willing and knowledgeable mentor has only added to this great experience in the past year.
I had an interest in Public Policy but it was still an abstract concept for me. I figured that the Fellowship will give me a peek into intricacies of policy making, how policy makers at the highest level think and act and help identify the gaps in the system that sometimes render even well-intentioned policies not very effective. I have not been disappointed. In fact, the year has been a great learning experience. I have nose-dived into numerous sectors- some that I liked, some that I developed an interest for and others that I wouldn’t have normally explored. Apart from enabling me to scratch the surface of what is reported and claimed to get to the core issue, I am learning to view an issue from multiple angles be it political, social or economical.
LAMP offered the impeccable platform to not only work with representatives but also understand their perspective and the complexities involved in formulating and implementing a policy. The Fellowship gave me the unique opportunity to discuss, debate and engage with a policy maker. It has led to the realization that while an efficient policy design is very important post stakeholder consultation, it is imperative to ensure that these policies are viable, scalable and implementable on ground without discounting the needs of individual states. While working on my MP's core interests, I, also, got the opportunity to pursue my ideas and suggestions. I have benefited from the thought provoking process of analyzing governance issues. Having gained a better understanding of the policy landscape, I can say with conviction that LAMP was an enriching and intellectually stimulating experience.
Being a law graduate, I sought to understand law making, through the lens of a policy maker rather than as a common man, leading me to apply for the LAMP Fellowship. I saw the fellowship as a once in a life time opportunity that would broaden my horizon by providing a deep insight into our country’s regulatory framework and system. The LAMP Fellowship has provided me the chance to closely interact with a Member of Parliament, giving me unfettered access to observe the inner workings of the legislature. My work through parliamentary interventions has largely revolved around diverse issues like restoring the legal rights of women, people in detention, children and the disabled. Since policy formulation includes reconciling various interests, it has led me to interact with stake holders, policy experts and non-state actors on a regular basis. Working in a Parliamentarian's office, I have learnt how to handle pressure, take initiative, be results-oriented and deliver quality research at short notice.
I applied for LAMP fellowship with the purpose of understanding the complex and dynamic policy making process of our country. This fellowship is a unique opportunity for young graduates to work within the state machinery and contribute, even if marginally, towards a more effective functioning of the institution of legislature. Every day in this fellowship, every research assignment has added not only to my knowledge base of diverse areas of Indian policy and enhanced my research capabilities, but has also taught me the nuances of realpolitik in India. Working for a Parliamentarian has been exciting and empowering. It has further motivated me and prepared me to pursue Public Policy academically in the near future.
After working with Mr. Kalikesh Singh Deo, a parliamentarian from Odisha, as a Research Intern during my final year of college, I was convinced that I was interested in exploring the domain of legislative policy further and learning more about parliamentary procedures. As a result, I applied for the fellowship with the hope that a year-long engagement with a parliamentarian would teach me valuable lessons regarding the transformation of practical problems into viable policy solutions. In hindsight, I think the experience has taught me a lot more than I could have previously imagined, especially within the context of the influence of politics on policy. I think that by creating a direct communication channel, the fellowship offers a great opportunity to increase civic engagement at a personal level.
Having read extensively about India’s historical past, geographical spread and diversity of communities across the states, I have been passionate about Governance and administration in our country. What better way to learn other than from a Parliamentarian himself? Hence, the LAMP Fellowship had been on my ‘Before-25 Bucket List’ ever since I first heard about it. My top three learning outcomes through this 10 month period are - People Management and effective communication; quick decision making and enhanced problem solving abilities; and understanding the intricacies and layers that underlie our political decision-making.
The opportunity to watch the policy making space closely and being mentored by an MP were the reasons which motivated me to apply for the fellowship. The experience of working in diverse areas, coming across people from different walks of life, learning to accommodate diverse opinions, the realization of ability to make and difference and contributing to the nation-building process is tremendous and transforming.
When I was filling out the LAMP application, I wasn’t quite sure why the fellowship was so appealing to me. Sure, the idea of working alongside a distinguished Member of Parliament sounded great, but we’re all privy to the chaos that ensues in Parliament. So, I would often ask myself why I wanted to jump into that well. But, I took a leap of faith and soon realized that the appeal wasn’t misplaced - the fellowship really does offer unparalleled insight and experience in the realm of policy-making in the world’s largest democracy. Almost a year has passed (in the blink of an eye) and I have come out with more memories, knowledge and unforgettable experiences than I could have imagined. Researching on a myriad of key issues, brainstorming policy solutions, getting down on the field - working on constituency development - LAMP has truly been an impeccable year. Now, as I am forced to adopt the “ex” prefix to my “LAMP” tag, I can only say that I leave not just with memories of a great year, but also with a much deeper understanding of ground realities and a strong desire to commit myself to development and policy matters that can tackle major challenges and change the course of our nation.
The Fellowship has provided me an avenue to better understand the complex and often murky discourse around policy making in India. And this opportunity to engage with the legislative process was precisely why I wanted to be a part of this programme. Prior to this, I had worked with academicians and organisations, studying and evaluating policy designs to better understand the impact of policy and the buildout processes involved in its implementation. However, I felt that I lacked a holistic understanding of the policy space. To this end, the Fellowship has provided a distinctively apolitical approach in facilitating a deeper understanding of the parliamentary processes crucial to policy framing. The past 11 months have helped provide a sound understanding of the fuzzy and politics ridden Parliamentary democracy in its entirety. From formulating questions, Calling Attention and Short Duration Discussion notices to making policy briefs and drafting Private Member Bills, this has been a rollercoaster ride involving tremendous effort, diligence and a hell lot of frustration. However, it has become clear that India’s democratic experiment is distinctly full of fuzzy areas that need rewiring and much work. These past 11 months have been an answer to many questions, but more importantly, it has raised many more pertinent questions. Navigating this socio-political matrix has involved sleepless nights, unbiased research and letting go of inhibitions in to come to a workable conclusion. For this, I am both grateful and glad.
LAMP seemed like an interesting opportunity for me as I was interested in Policy Making and Politics. The fellowship gave me a thorough understanding of how the Parliament works and also gave me an insight into the structures and Mechanisms that govern the relationship between Parliament and other Institutions in the country. For me, the biggest takeaway from the fellowship is getting exposed to so many different fields and opportunities in the field of Politics and Public Policy chiefly because of the position at which I was placed due to the virtue of me being a LAMP fellow. The working setup is relatively different than a conventional job and working in such a work setup made me come out of my comfort zone and has made me more adaptable.
Having an interest in studying institutions, I wanted to get a better understanding of the various facets the Indian Parliament. LAMP fellowship where I got to be mentored by an MP was an ideal platform to get such an experience. As an opportunity to shadow an MP and gather a more intimate understanding of the factors that influence a political stance of various parties. Working under a North East MP was especially exciting as it is an gave me the added advantage to more closely interact with the policy concerns of the region. As a LAMP fellow the key take away for me has been the better understanding of the kind of incentives needed for an efficient institution.
I have always had a keen interest in politics and when I heard about the opportunity to work with a Member of Parliament, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to gain insider perspective. Through the LAMP fellowship, I gained exposure to various facets of our democratic institutions. It helped me truly comprehend how policy is created, and the role that elected representatives play in the same. In many ways, it also changed my mind completely about the role an MP plays in parliament and his/her constituency. It was through my work at my MP's office and the expert sessions organised by PRS that I learnt that there is scope for academic experts to assist policymakers in their task and contribute towards policy making in our country.
As a legal researcher, it is a rare to find a formal, non-ministerial ecosystem that engages with the law making process in India. The LAMP Fellowship comes close to plugging that gap. It does so by providing an opportunity to not only acquaint oneself with the ways of the Indian Parliament but also observe it in action and contribute to it. Since I hold a keen interest in studying the anthropological underpinnings of law makers, it was a natural choice to try my hand at the Fellowship. Getting to be part of it has truly been a fruitful experience to the extent of the observations and notes I have managed to collate during the tenure. These, personally I feel, will be beneficial to me in my further academic pursuits. Further, the exposure to the nitty-gritty of Parliamentary research, interaction with the ground staff interspersed with constituency-related work, brings with it a holistic awareness of the governance/policy system. However, invariably when seen even through glossy eyes, the opportunity to be working out of the offices of India's top, real-time 'influencers' and getting to see, and contribute to their work is truly one of a kind.
I applied to be a LAMP fellow as it provides a unique opportunity to involve within the governance system of India and to understand the parliamentarian process. I wanted to closely work with an MP since it is very crucial to appreciate and understand that how in reality the legislature conducts itself to give realistic context to any policy issue. My aim was also to work on diverse policy issues and develop a holistic idea on how to take t any initiative forward. My most important take away from the fellowship is the understanding of the parliamentary functioning and various factors that can influence it. It made me acquainted with the way in which an MP's office function to accommodate the demands of various stakeholders. The fellowship also helped to get insights from various civil society organisations and get their insight on various legislation and policy issues and they frequently get in touch with MPs. While working an MP I understood the importance of regional issues and how it can affect decisions at a national level.
My journey with policy and LAMP began with my need to question, understand and analyse the various policy decisions that the government took. A few years as a risk and a strategy consultant along with my years at the family business opened my eyes towards the importance of the legislature, and the LAMP fellowship provided me with the best opportunity to interact with the highest power in legislative business, the Member of Parliament. My MP was extremely welcoming and interested in helping me explore all the avenues that the fellowship and being around Parliamentarians offered. Other than the legislative business within the Parliament, I got the opportunity to be part of Parliamentary Committees, DISHA committees, meetings with key stakeholders in the constituency and raising some extremely important issues with the relevant authorities that had a major impact on the lives of people in the constituency. I regularly accompanied my boss to meetings with ministers and learned from close quarters about how key decisions that impact millions of lives are taken, an opportunity that no other fellowship or organisation can in my opinion come even close to providing.
The opportunity to work with a distinguished Parliamentarian, puts you in a position to learn in-depth about policy and polity. The fellowship triggers one to be conscious of the role of government in daily routine and in the society at large. This awarness i believe shall become indespensible as one reaches higher echelons in career.
The idea that even a small change; a nudge, an amendment, a resolution or, a clarification, in even a single government bill may end up impacting thousands of people inspired me to take up the LAMP fellowship. But the fellowship went ahead to become even brighter for me to comprehend! It opened up a small window into the Lutyens power circles, that would otherwise have taken years to enter. More significantly, it was a year where I ended up making some very amazing friends. The workshops exclusively for the fellows were enlightening. From receiving calls by citizens of your MP's constituency to the drafting of a bill, the fellowship allows you to sit and enjoy each seat of life! I would end by cheering to- the fellowship and adventure!
The LAMP Fellowship is a good opportunity to get an up-close view of the public policy space in India. Working with an MP provides the opportunity to watch, from close quarters, and understand how the Parliament and Parliamentarians function; how national issues and new pieces of legislation are discussed and debated. And to provide research support for some of these issues and bills, makes for exciting work! During the course of the fellowship, PRS also organizes policy workshops on various sectors such as education, environment and technology. These workshops give us insights into the dynamics of those sectors and also a peek into some of the issues pertaining to the sector - which could be translated into Parliamentary interventions. Apart from these workshops, Delhi offers ample opportunity to explore the public policy landscape through various talks, conferences and seminars which happen throughout the year and across different subjects. One year of the fellowship could be a year of learning and exposure for anybody who wishes to work in the domain of public policy.
Tarana Rachael Rao
Having already worked briefly in government consulting and out of a Chief Minister's Office to look into the implementation of programmes, the LAMP fellowship offered me the unique opportunity to engage with legislation as they were being conceived. While working with communities and at the grassroots must provide one unparalleled satisfaction, it is only by engaging with policy making can one even begin to affect long term systemic change. The diverse LAMP cohort introduces one to varied perspectives- be it an economist's ability to quantify the scale of a problem, a lawyer's attention to the fine print, an engineer's technical eye, etc. Working with an MP, and in an office that believes in nurturing mentorship and innovative solutions, I have seen first hand how parliamentary tools- be it questions, special mentions, standing committees, etc can keep the government accountable. Further, this served to change my disillusionment with democracy in India into an unidealistic belief in a system that, with reform, can deliver more to its people.
Vinaya Chandrakant Jadhav
Exposed to policy issues brought by prime time TV news, I always had the desire to look into the larger deliberations that shape the policies for the nation. This is what drove me to apply for the LAMP fellowship. Working in the policy making domain has given me insights into issues that grapple policy makers and has honed my research and analytical skills. Moreover, I have had exposure to myriad topics like economics, social, cultural and environmental studies which has added immensely to my existing knowledge. LAMP has helped me broaden my horizons and has helped me appreciate the vast reaches of the legislative framework of our country. I am certain that my experience as LAMP fellow will be an important asset in my future career.
Yash Virendra Parekh
I am a Chartered Accountant and hence I was as removed from the public policy debate as can be possible. For me LAMP was just a means to enter this debate. I had never imagined I would not only enter it but help frame it as it evolves. The past year as a fellow has been nothing short of transformative. The fellowship has made me understand the importance of thorough research, the nuances of legal language and the need to make the government accountable. One project which is close to my heart relates to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. At their behest, I conducted an inspection of eleven institutes of women and child care instituted for rescuing trafficking victims. This made me realise the deplorable conditions that they were subjected to. Based on the ground level survey and a study of the various schemes of the government our office is in the process of making a report to be submitted to the Ministry. No two days are the same at the fellowship and yes, the days are tough but you sleep knowing you have made a difference.