J-PAL South Asia’s Policy Engagements to Support Governments during Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused large-scale disruptions in the routine delivery of public services and social programs all over the world. This has created unprecedented challenges in identifying and implementing impactful and cost-effective solutions for policymakers and practitioners grappling with development questions, old and new. There is a need for high-quality data and evidence to inform immediate as well as long-term decisions that have arisen in the wake of the pandemic.
Supporting our Institutional Partners
Government of Punjab
Iqbal Dhaliwal, Global Executive Director, J-PAL and Scientific Director, J-PAL South Asia, was appointed to the Government of Punjab's Group of Experts for Covid-19 Relief on April 24, 2020, a group instituted by Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab to aid the north Indian state's post-lockdown economic recovery. The Group is chaired by eminent economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia and aims to develop a medium- to long-term recovery strategy by addressing policy measures in the areas of social protection, industry, healthcare, education, digitization in agriculture, governance, and finance, among others. Dhaliwal is a part of the digitization, social-sector, and skills and education sub-groups. The digitization group is addressing issues of enabling systematic use of data for better governance, digitization of agricultural supply chains, supporting the start-up ecosystem, financial services for MSMEs using digital tools, and developing internet infrastructure. The social sector sub-group is working on methods to ensure protection of vulnerable populations such as migrant workers, and enabling portability of benefits across states. The skills and education sub-group is developing strategies to build long-term and sustainable skilling and education infrastructure in the state. Drawing on existing evidence from randomized evaluations, Dhaliwal and the team at J-PAL South Asia is advising the sub-groups by sharing insights from global evidence, and analyzing relevant data for quick and actionable policy recommendations.
Government of Tamil Nadu
The Government of Tamil Nadu entered into a partnership with J-PAL South Asia in 2014 to institutionalise the use of evidence in its policy decisions. Since then, over 30 J-PAL affiliated and invited researchers have partnered with nine line departments for studies to inform policy, including the first panel survey for the elderly in India, a rigorous evaluation to address sleep deprivation for the urban poor, and a large scale study to identify effective interventions to reduce malnutrition and improve school preparedness through anganwadi centers.
The Government of Tamil Nadu has formed a high-level committee to recommend measures to revive economic growth as a Covid-19 midterm response, and has sought views and inputs from J-PAL to develop this effort.
Media and Resources
Using Phone Surveys to Improve Public Service Delivery and Guide Crisis Response - June 5, 2021, 5:30pm - 6:30pm IST
Regular program monitoring is critical for improving public service delivery and ensuring that benefits reach intended populations to improve their lives. However, in low- and middle-income countries, monitoring is often constrained by slow, indirect processes such as periodic government surveys as well as unrepresentative, sporadic data from government dashboards and grievance redressal systems.
In this lecture-based webinar, researchers Gaurav Chiplunkar (University of Virginia, J-PAL invited researcher) and Kartik Srivastava (PhD candidate, Harvard University) will discuss the potential of phone surveys to build stronger, more responsive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems, the versatility of their uses, and the operational and technical challenges that they pose.
Past Webinar Recordings
- Designing Inclusive Government Social Protection Programmes with Simone Schaner (J-PAL affiliated professor, University of Southern California), Madhumitha Hebbar (Oxford Policy Management), moderated by Priya Nanda (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
- Inter-state migration in India in the time of Covid-19, with Clement Imbert (J-PAL affiliated professor, University of Warwick), Mekhala Krishnamurthy (Centre for Policy Research, India), moderated by Sharanya Chandran (J-PAL South Asia)
- Financing Solutions for Social Protection in Covid-19 Response and Recovery, hosted by AVPN, with Joanne Manda (UNDP), Gisela Tiongson (Jollibee Group Foundation) and Shagun Sabarwal (J-PAL South Asia)
- Rethinking Economic Inclusion for the Poorest in the Covid-19 Context, hosted by BRAC, with Shagun Sabarwal (J-PAL South Asia) and Rahma Ali (J-PAL MENA)
- The Effects of India’s COVID-19 Lockdown on Non-Covid Health Care-seeking, Morbidity, and Mortality, with Pascaline Dupas (J-PAL affiliated professor, Stanford University) and Radhika Jain (Stanford University), moderated by Stefan Nachuk (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
- Opening Plenary on India's fight against poverty at The/Nudge Forum by Abhijit Banerjee (J-PAL)
- Social Investing for Systems Change: Accelerating Development in India with a Multi-Sector Approach, at The Nudge/Forum, with Iqbal Dhaliwal (J-PAL), Nisha Desai (US-India Business Council), Cheryl Dorsey (Echoing Green), Rakesh Rajani (Co-Impact), Tim Handstad (Chandler Foundation)
- Improving Health Service Delivery and Utilization, with Manoj Mohanan (Duke University), Tom Newton-Lewis (Oxford Policy Management), Saachi Bhalla, (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), moderated by Priya Nanda (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
- Inclusive Growth Dividend: An Income Transfer Approach to Social Protection, with Karthik Muralidharan (J-PAL affiliated professor, University of California, San Diego); Ashok Meena (Principal Secretary Finance, Government of Odisha, India) moderated by Shagun Sabarwal (J-PAL South Asia)
- Protecting the Poor from Covid-19 Shock, with Rema Hanna (J-PAL affiliated professor, Harvard Kennedy School), Ben Olken (Director, J-PAL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Asha Krishnan (Haqdarshak), moderated by Suneeta Krishnan (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
- Perspectives on robust evidence and effective implementation from the global South, hosted by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation, with Anna Kilpatrick (J-PAL Africa) and Shobhini Mukerji (J-PAL South Asia)
- Supporting Government Scale-Ups of the Graduation Approach, hosted by SocialProtection.org, with Shagun Sabarwal (J-PAL South Asia)
- Scaling Effectively, hosted by The Nudge Foundation, with Shagun Sabarwal, Gautam Patel, and Aparna Krishnan (J-PAL South Asia)
- Policymaking During Crises, hosted by Carnegie India, with Shobhini Mukerji (J-PAL South Asia)