In a first, team of 12 fellows to assist state legislators in framing public policies

SHILLONG, Jan 16: In a path-breaking initiative, the Meghalaya Government through the Meghalaya Institute of Governance in collaboration with the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly has launched the Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellowship (MLRF). Twelve of the best brains from the state have been picked up after a stringent selection process from amongst 400 applicants. Sixty applicants were shortlisted and after a robust interview 12 fellows were selected to assist legislators with ground research with the objective of improving participation of legislators in the Assembly and also in making more nuanced public policies.
The MLRF fellows will undertake research and provide evidence-based data to the members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. In this initiative the Meghalaya Institute of Governance (MIG) has used the services of knowledge partners Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP), Mohali and Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad.
The fellowship kick-started with an orientation programme on January 3, followed by a five-day training and workshop for the selected youths from January 11-15, at the Meghalaya Administrative Training Institute (MATI) Shillong.
The workshop cum training focussed mainly on understanding the ambit of Public Policy, Governance, Legislative, Legal, Socio-economic issues in Meghalaya. Various comprehensive modules and training techniques were imparted to the 12 fellows through Resource Persons Prof Anjal Prakash, Dr Aarushi Jain and Hemanth Guthala from the knowledge partners BIPP-ISB. The nodal agency MIG, Shillong worked in close coordination with the Office of the Speaker in the selection process of the fellows.
Prominent intellectuals – Toki Blah, Patricia Mukhim, Prof Sumarbin Umdor, Saurabh Saraogi and Dr Joram Beda provided expert guidance to the fellows as Resource Persons in the training programme.
The closing session on January 15 saw the presence of Assembly Speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh, Director General MIG Shillong and Principal Secretary, Sampath Kumar, Director, MIG & Project Lead, MLRF, Aiban Swer, Secretary of Planning Department, Dr Joram Beda, NISG-Public Policy Consultant & Project Co-Lead MLRF, Stephen Anurag. Prof Ashwini Chhare, Dr Aarushi Jain and Patricia Mukhim attended the programme virtually.  A special message was delivered virtually by Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma who congratulated the 12 fellows on their successful completion of the training and the official launching of the MLRF flagship programme.
Addressing the participants, the CM said, “The use of research tools will improve the over-all quality of legislation and policy making. It would enhance the capacity of legislators and make them more involved in policy-making.”
Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh also addressed the fellows. He said the objective of the MLRF is to ensure that legislators are more informed and well-equipped with information so that they can better participate in assembly debates and policy making. “Our legislators spend maximum time with their constituents and try to address their needs and have very little time to collect critical information and data which can add to robust policy-making. This is the last year of the Assembly term and there is not much time to understand issues but a beginning has been made to improve legislative performance in the future,” Metbah said.
Later the Speaker handed over the participation certificates to the 12 fellows. Before that the fellows were given the opportunity to share their experiences of the intensive grounding they were provided before launching into their field work.
Director MIG, Aiban Swer while offering his vote of thanks enthused the fellows saying they were the 12 disciples who would add to the quality of the legislature in Meghalaya and empower legislators with solid research and data.

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