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
- Inter-state migration in India in the time of COVID-19, September 9, 2020, 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)
Past Webinar Recordings
- 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)