The Centre for Effective Governance of Indian States (CEGIS , pronounced See-jis) aims to improve development outcomes for all Indians by helping state governments work better.
What is effective governance? And why does it matter?
From poor learning outcomes to malnutrition, many of India’s biggest development failures stem from weak state capacity. Whether it is teachers not showing up to teach or people not receiving their entitlements, weak state capacity hinders well-intentioned welfare programmes, constrains growth and hurts the poor.
CEGIS believes that building state capacity is the most cost-effective way of improving development outcomes at scale. Governments are responsible for implementing policies, delivering services and regulating markets. And research has shown that even small improvements in state capacity can generate outsized effects on development.
We believe that well-functioning governments share at least three features: (i) outcome measurement to monitor progress against specific goals and; (ii) policies and practices that hire, train and incentivise personnel to meet goals; and (iii) resource allocation based on evidence and cost-effectiveness. At CEGIS, we support Indian state governments to lay these foundations so that they can deliver development outcomes more effectively.
Why Indian states?
Across health, education, agriculture, nutrition and other sectors, Indian state governments have the mandate, resources and personnel to deliver public services and create the conditions for economic growth. Given this scope and scale (the average Indian state has a population of nearly 50 million), improving Indian state government functioning has the potential to help millions, making it one of the most powerful ways to increase Indian and global prosperity. Finally, state governments are ideally placed to lead India on policy reforms: a tried and tested reform in one state is more likely to be replicated by other states. Supporting state-led governance and policy reforms can be transformative for the country.