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.