Policy in Action Program

Chennai 2020

 
The Policy in Action Program is designed to give fellows a sneak peek into the policymaking process. In each program city, promising candidates are carefully selected, trained and mentored over a period of 5 weeks to explore the fundamentals of policymaking and apply the learning to real-life policy problems. Fellows work on pressing issues currently being researched or advocated for by lawmakers and government agencies. The program is open to young professionals and students between 18 and 30 years of age.
 
See:   Schedule   |   Project Work   |   Deadlines   |   Fees & Scholarships   |   FAQs on Projects & Time Commitment   |   Applications
 


 

Schedule – Chennai

 
The Policy in Action Program is scheduled to run from 29th February to 29th March, 2020 in Chennai. Programs sessions and team meet-ups will be held at a central location in Chennai (venue to be finalized soon). Fellows will be divided into teams on the first weekend and tasked to work on specific projects. Meet-ups will serve as regular check-ins with facilitators for guidance on direction and pace. Teams can also meet as and when required apart from the meet-ups marked in the given schedule.

The sessions will be facilitated by the YLAC team, including the founders. You can view their profile here.

 

Theme India’s governance structure/ Engaging with policymakers
29th February
(Saturday)

10AM – 6PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 1:

1. The policymaking apparatus in India

2. India’s federalism – design and implications

 

Session 2:

1. The Indian Parliament

2. How a Bill becomes a Law

3. Engaging with the lawmaking process

 

Session 3:

1. Introduction to live projects

2. Allocation of teams

 

Session 4:

1. Interaction with a policymaker

Theme Policy analysis/ advocacy
1st March
(Sunday)

10AM – 6PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 5:

1. Structured approach to deconstructing problems

2. Economic foundations of policy

 

Session 6:

1. Advocating for a cause/ developing effective campaigns

 

Session 7:

1. Writing effective briefs for policymakers

Theme Team meet-ups/ project work
8th March
(Sunday)

2PM – 7PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 8:

1. Designing policies for better implementation

 

Session 9:

1. Teams discuss their project plans with facilitators

Theme The power of data and effective communication
15th March
(Sunday)

10AM – 6PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 10:

1. Using evidence/ data to design policy and get traction

 

Session 11:

1. Building a powerful public narrative

2. Championing a cause

 

Session 12:

1. External speaker

Theme Team meet-ups/ project work
22nd March
(Sunday)

2PM – 7PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 13:

1. Behavioural economics

 

Session 14:

1. Teams discuss their draft project submissions with facilitators

Theme Closing speaker & project presentations
28th March
(Saturday)

2PM – 7PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 15:

1. Project presentations and feedback

 

Session 16:

1. External speaker

Theme Careers in policy & project presentations
29th March
(Sunday)

2PM – 7PM

Venue: To be decided

Session 17:

1. Project presentations and feedback

 

Session 18:

1. Careers in public policy

 
See:   Schedule   |   Project Work   |   Deadlines   |   Fees & Scholarships   |   FAQs on Projects & Time Commitment   |   Applications
 


 

Project Work & Program Rigour

 
The Policy in Action Program is designed as a short, but rigorous program. It rests on the philosophy that learning by doing is the best way to internalize material. While the sessions impart training in policy research, analysis and advocacy, a large part of the learning comes through the work on live projects.

Projects are sourced from policymakers (Members of Parliament, Members of State Legislatures, Ministries and Government Departments as well as Institutions such as NITI Aayog) and focus on policy problems that their offices are engaging with. Typically, a team of 4-6 fellows is tasked to work on one project. Fellows are expected to undertake research and/ or develop powerful narratives to support the policymaker in addressing the identified problems. The final output is either a policy brief and/ or advocacy material.

Projects usually get finalized a week before sessions begin. Details of projects from the previous editions of the program can be accessed here.


Methodology

The Policy in Action Program is a month long engagement. A majority of fellows in the cohort are either full time working professionals or students enrolled in universities. Given the constraints on time, fellows are not expected to undertake any primary research or on-ground mobilization. Instead, they are expected to rely on existing literature, data sources and consultations with stakeholders/ experts for their analysis. In terms of advocacy, they are expected to draft opinion pieces and craft strategies to build support for the proposed policy solutions.


Time Commitment

During the course of the program, each project group is required to make multiple submissions, starting with their project plan, followed by the draft and revised submissions. All submissions are jointly prepared by the team of fellows working on the project.

On average, a fellow is expected to commit a minimum of 12-15 hours per week, outside the classroom sessions, to their project. We realize that the program month can get a little busy along with other work and/ or university commitments. Having said that, most fellows in the program are young professionals and they are able to juggle different responsibilities during the month. The program might stretch you in terms of bandwidth, but it can be super rewarding if you put in the effort!


Evaluation & Requirements for Graduation

Attendance at the program sessions is mandatory and all project work is tightly managed and supervised to control for quality. Each submission is assessed by YLAC and its panel of experts, and teams are provided detailed feedback and guidance.

To enable tight engagement and to ensure quality output, we follow an objective points system at the program. Each fellow’s participation, including attendance, and contribution to the project is individually monitored as well as peer-evaluated by their team members and is an important determinant for graduation from the program. Specifics about the project process as well as the points system are shared on the first weekend.


See:   Schedule   |   Project Work   |   Deadlines   |   Fees & Scholarships   |   FAQs on Projects & Time Commitment   |   Applications
 


 

Deadlines

 

Applications to the Policy in Action Program are processed in two batches. Those applying on or before the first deadline are eligible for early decisions. For the others, admission decisions are announced after the final applications deadline. Applicants are selected on the basis of their responses to the questions in an application form, while also considering their resume.

First deadline: 29th December (Sunday), 2019

Scholarships deadline: 29th December, 2019 (Sunday)

Final deadline: 26th January, 2020 (Sunday)

 
Please note that candidates applying for scholarships must adhere to an earlier deadline. Both their program and scholarship applications should reach us on or before 29th December, 2019.

 
See:   Schedule   |   Project Work   |   Deadlines   |   Fees & Scholarships   |   FAQs on Projects & Time Commitment   |   Applications
 


 

Fees & Scholarships

 
Fees

Rs. 15,500 (+ GST @18%)

The fee shall be payable only after an applicant has been selected into the program. In addition to the cost of the program, the fee shall cover lunch and refreshments during the sessions. However, costs of local accommodation and travel shall have to be borne by the applicants themselves. The program is not residential and applicants are expected to make their own arrangements.

 
Scholarships

We recognize that all deserving candidates may not have the means to fund their participation in the program. To support such candidates, YLAC offers need and merit based scholarships to a select number of candidates.

For the Policy in Action Program, YLAC will offer 50% scholarships to the selected candidates. To be considered for a scholarship, applicants must submit an additional essay explaining how they plan to use the learning from the program and why they need a scholarship to attend. They must also submit contact details of two professors or supervisors at work for reference checks.

 
See:   Schedule   |   Project Work   |   Deadlines   |   Fees & Scholarships   |   FAQs on Projects & Time Commitment   |   Applications
 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I consider applying to the Policy in Action Program?

The Policy in Action Program is ideal for those who wish to develop a better understanding of public policy and development. It is designed to give participants a sneak peek into the policymaking process in India, as well as to give them an opportunity to affect real change by working on live projects, while at the same time building on their leadership and communication skills.

If you are civic-minded and you want to know how the system works and how it may be pushed, this is the right place for you. In addition to helping you pick up skills to analyze policy, the program will equip you with tools to build influential advocacy campaigns and powerful public narratives.

If you are someone who is considering a career in public policy or development, this program will help you get the right exposure. Both the sessions as well as the projects are designed to give you an insight into the different roles available in policy and development. The program will also plug you into a network of professionals in the space and help you tap new opportunities. Many of our fellows from the earlier cohorts have already transitioned into the sector.

2. Am I eligible to apply?

Undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as young professionals between 18 and 30 years of age are eligible to apply. There are no prerequisites in terms of fields of study or prior experience.

3. What are the Policy in Action projects like?

There are two broad categories of projects: ‘Policy research’ and ‘Advocacy’. Project topics are decided on the basis of requirements specified by the participating policymakers. You may be asked to research and advise on a particular policy issue or develop an advocacy campaign. Details of projects from the previous editions of the program can be accessed here.

4. How often will I engage with policymakers or their offices?

YLAC will invite policymakers to address the Policy in Action cohort. In the past, speakers have spent time interacting with the class, giving insights into the their work, and the broader policymaking process. We have also had policy professionals from offices of Members of Parliament (and otherwise) come and speak with the participants.

However, please note that project related engagement with participating policymakers or their offices will be minimal. This design element is intentional. YLAC realizes that policymakers are stretched for time and often do not have the bandwidth to supervise projects. The Policy in Action Program in fact allows them to outsource some of their policy work. Training, project supervision and quality control is completely handled by YLAC and its panel of experts. The program is specifically designed to not add to the workload of policymakers.

This arrangement is a win-win for both the participants and the recipients of the output - it gives participants an experience of working on real and live policy issues, while supporting the work of our policymakers in the legislature and in government.

5. Do I get to choose my project?

Project allocations are made on the basis of your preferences. While we try to match projects with your areas of interest, a specific allocation cannot be guaranteed.

6. How much time do I have to devote to the project during the interim weeks?

Projects usually require about 12-15 hours per participant per week. This is over and above the time spent in attending classes.

7. On what basis are applicants selected?

The Policy in Action Program aims to select talented young individuals who are committed to leading social change in the future. Applicants are selected on the basis of their responses to the questions in the application form as well as their resume. We look for logic, nuance and structure as well as motivation and past initiatives.

8. When do I get to know of my selection?

Applications to the Policy in Action Program are processed in two batches. Those applying on or before the first deadline are eligible for early decisions. For the others, admission decisions are announced in a few days after the final applications deadline.

9. What is the acceptance rate at the Policy in Action Program? What's the class profile?

The Policy in Action Program is a highly selective program that receives outstanding applications from a large pool of candidates. Candidates from the best universities and colleges in India and abroad apply to the program. We usually receive upwards of 250 high quality applications for each edition and select 50-65 fellows.

Fellows come from a diverse range of backgrounds – lawyers, engineers, chartered accountants, anthropologists, economists, political scientists, journalists, architects, writers and even start up evangelists! This diversity of the cohort has become a mainstay of the program and is one of its key highlights today.

A majority of the fellows are young professionals working in and around the city. The median age in the program is 25.

10. Do I get any certification for this program? Are there any specific requirements?

Yes, a certificate is issued at the end of the program. However, certification is subject to attendance and successful completion of the assigned project work.

Please note that attendance is mandatory. Since the program involves working in teams, if members miss training or team meet-ups, it adversely affects the team's output. Please also keep in mind that as a participant in the program, you'll be working on live projects for policymakers and you'll be required to complete your assigned project work to the satisfaction of the facilitators. Your final submission must be analytically rigorous and well presented; it must meet the highest standards of quality.

11. What is the refund policy?

In case any unforeseen circumstances prevent you from joining the program, you can request our office to initiate the refund process. YLAC will refund 100% of your payment if the request is received 30 days before the beginning of the program. For requests received 15 days before the program, the refund amount shall be 50% of the payment received. YLAC shall not be able to issue any refunds in case the intimation reaches us at a shorter notice.

 
See:   Schedule   |   Project Work   |   Deadlines   |   Fees & Scholarships   |   FAQs on Projects & Time Commitment   |   Applications