THIRTEEN FRESH graduates of the Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy (MSEPP) have taken up internships in state government departments, delivering one of the crucial goals on which the school was established. One of the deliverables of the school, that came into being in September last year, was policy-level intervention and giving back to the society, said Neeraj Hatekar, a professor from the school.
“Now, 13 of our MA students are doing internships with government departments. Two of them are currently living with tribal communities in Bhamragad and Kollam. The aim is to engage in developmental concerns of the state and help improve the efficiency of government schemes,” said Hatekar.
These internships are in the department of irrigation, water resources and tribal development. Around six such graduates are working on a crucial project for the water resource department. They are helping set up water usage associations in the villages of Vidarbha. “The project will ensure that 1,50,000 farming households get equitable share of water in Vidarbha. Often more water from a river is already consumed by residents upstream by the time it reaches the low-lying areas. We are working on a model to ensure that doesn’t happen,” said Hatekar. Other researchers, faculty members and fellows have also tied up with the state government for various projects. In September, the school will start a diploma course in community forests rights management for better implementation of the Forest Rights Act for 60 people in the state.
The MSEPP is headed by Mala Lalvani as the director and Padma Vibhushan awardee and renowned economist Vijay Kelkar as chairperson. In September last year, the state cabinet approved a proposal to revamp the department of economics at the University of Mumbai into the MSEPP and allocated a grant of Rs 25 crore for a period of five years. The school is free to raise funds on its own but hasn’t done so yet, said sources. “We are currently operating on government funds. We haven’t raised any more funds yet,” said the official.