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  • Harsh Choudhary

Ashoka sets up ICPP; Announces interdisciplinary Economics and Public Policy major

Ashoka University recently set up the Isaac Centre for Public Policy and Good Governance (ICPP). The Centre owes its existence to the donation of Mr. Ajit Issac, a founder and trustee of the university with a strong interest in public policy. On September 29th, the Centre held its inaugural event in collaboration with the university's Koita Centre of Digital Health (KCDH-A), which is dedicated to advancing a fresh and innovative perspective on digital health, with a specific emphasis on shaping health policy.

One of the main objectives of the Isaac Centre is the launch of an “Economics and Public Policy” major starting next year. This interdisciplinary major will be offered by the Economics Department, which has already secured the necessary statutory approvals from the university. “Students who are currently in their second year should be able to opt for the Economics and Public Policy major once the department makes its official announcement,” says Professor Bhaskar Dutta, academic director of the centre and Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ashoka University. The particular major promises to open doors and give students a distinct advantage, especially those with a keen interest in public policy and future MPP (Masters in Public Policy) pursuits.

The Centre plans to launch a dedicated website by late January. The website will include research articles, policy briefs, and case studies designed to cater to policymakers. “These insightful briefs will offer a comprehensive look into policy matters, complete with assessments and suggestions for improvement, these contributions won't be limited to just Ashoka members, but will be undertaken by bureaucrats, and practitioners from outside as well” added Professor Dutta.

He further added, “The research outputs will not only benefit policymakers but also serve as a valuable resource for students.” The ICPP also plans to fund research projects related to public policy through the Economics department, and other departments. This opens up opportunities for students to get research assistantships and thereby get hands-on experience.

Furthermore, the Centre is currently conceptualising an Executive Education program led by public policy and regulatory experts and supported by Director Vikas Dimble. This program is tailored for professionals in the PE and VC (Private Equity and Venture Capital) industry and aims to provide an in-depth understanding of regulatory mechanisms and policy-making by regulators. For this, the Center is actively collaborating with industry stakeholders like IVCA (Indian Venture and Alternate Capital Association) to align the program with their specific interests and needs.

The ICPP intends to leverage Ashoka University's cross-disciplinary research, established relationships, and networks, as well as faculty expertise. This will be complemented by the collaborative efforts of existing centres, including the Centre for Social and Behaviour Change and the Chief Minister's Good Governance Fellowship, which Ashoka has regularly participated in.

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