Study Economics at a Public Policy school says R. Balasubramaniam, Member Capacity Building Commission

In his Commencement Lecture to open the Academic Year 2021-22 of the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy (JSGP), O.P. Jindal Global University, Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, renowned development scholar and member of the recently created Capacity Building Commission, appealed to students to make the most of the intellectually stimulating ecosystem in Indias premier public policy school.

He said: “What a public policy school can do to economics students is that it can make them compassionate. It gives them a humanised understanding of economics, whereas a pure economics school may not give this. So, if you have to study economics, choose a public policy school,”

In his address to students, JSGP Dean Prof. R. Sudarshan urged them to break away from the conventional wisdom of the natural sciences, which tests hypotheses assuming “other things are equal or ceteris paribus”. However, “all things considered” should be the basis for designing public policies.

Dr. C. Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, OP Jindal Global University, lauded Dr. Balasubramaniam’s persistent efforts towards “filling the gap between the rhetoric of policy on the one hand and the reality of its implementation on the other hand” in India.

Dr. Balasubramaniam, a visiting professor at Cornell University, USA, pointed out that post-Covid-19, public policies across the world are grappling with forces of uncertainty and predictive modelling techniques fail to offer reliable answers. In times like this, he called upon public policy schools to teach future policymakers lessons in intellectual humility and adaptability. “A new understanding of geopolitics is emerging, but do we have a new generation of policymakers with this new understanding?… We need formally trained public policy graduates to operate along with the lawyers, economists, anthropologists, and all other disciplines that are part of the solutions,” he added.

–IANS

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