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Program Manager - Public Finance - Bengaluru & Hyderabad

 

About CEGIS 

The Centre for Effective Governance of Indian States (CEGIS Foundation – pronounced See-Jis) ) was co-founded by private equity investor turned philanthropist Ashish Dhawan and economist Karthik Muralidharan in 2019 to improve millions of lives by helping Indian state governments work better. CEGIS aims to enable a transformative improvement in the functioning of the Indian state in the coming decade. Informed by cutting-edge research and evidence as well as a practical orientation toward implementable ideas, CEGIS aims to provide Indian states with both an analytical roadmap for governance and expenditure reforms as well as strategic implementation support to deliver on this vision. 

 

The organization has a sharp focus on improving the quality of public expenditure, and through it, develops templates for achieving a step-function improvement in development outcomes across India. We strive to produce high-quality economic analysis to inform state-level policy-making and work closely with the Chief Secretary, and Principal Secretaries of Finance/Planning, with guidance from and close coordination with the Chief Minister and Finance Minister. Based on consultations with top officials in several states, we believe that there is a very high demand for such support – especially when backed by world-leading technical expertise and a deep understanding of service delivery in India.

 

CEGIS believes that states are the most important unit for addressing these issues. Therefore, we work with state governments to generate actionable insights, formulate effective solutions and facilitate measurable impact in terms of developmental outcomes. Currently, CEGIS is working with the governments of Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bodoland Territorial Council, NCT of Delhi and a few Government of India entities. At the state level, CEGIS identifies sectoral priorities jointly with the state government, and then aims to integrate its four verticals (Outcome Measurement, Personnel Management, Public Finance, State(s) and Market into specific projects to improve governance, service delivery, and development outcomes.

CEGIS Approach and Model of Functioning 

Four key characteristics of high-performing organizations are (a) measuring outcomes for goal setting and monitoring progress towards these goals, (b) strategic use of personnel policy – including competency based hiring and training, skilling, and performance appraisals to determine job assignments, pay, and promotions – to achieve the goals above, (c) strategic budgeting where resource allocation is based on evidence and cost-effectiveness; (d) and creating efficient systems to leverage external actors (including for-profit and nonprofit organizations). The Indian state performs weakly on all four fronts above. CEGIS helps to improve the functioning of the Indian state by focusing on the four principles above.

 

CEGIS works with state governments through a dedicated state office that is co-created with the state and integrated with their Finance and Planning Departments. The staffing model includes CEGIS personnel as well as staff seconded by the state and fellows, if any. Thus, instead of being another Delhi-based ‘policy think tank’, we are building the organization in a “state-led” way, where we focus on deep partnerships with states with an iterative cycle of “thinking” and “doing”. We support states in implementing evidence-based ideas for improving state effectiveness while also continuously learning from state-level experiences of implementing these ideas. Each state-level CEGIS engagement features some core themes that are common to all state-level engagements, and others that vary by state. State-level delivery teams are supported by central technical teams that curate ideas based on both evidence and experience, support state-level experimentation, and accelerate adoption of successful practices across states.

Overview 

Within CEGIS, the Public Revenue/Taxation/Public Finance team’s role is to support institutionalisation of data driven decision making by setting up the required infrastructure and technical capacity with the relevant line departments. High quality data and insights generated are expected to aid the State in goal setting, progress monitoring and strategic decision making. In addition, as a “sectoral” workstream, specific objectives are furthered by testing and institutionalising interventions in the form of Micro RCTs with the larger goal of improving tax compliance and augmenting revenues. 

 

Our projects can be of a wide variety and involve elements of research and analytics, advocacy, policy implementation and evaluation, and active support to line departments in reforms adoption. A large part of the work is by its very nature quantitative.

Specifically, this will, among other things, entail:

 

  • Conducting detailed budgetary analysis at different levels of government

  • Conducting situational analysis on a variety of economic sectors and subjects

  • Conducting forensic analysis to identify anomalous patterns in taxpayer behaviour

  • Mapping government budgeting and administrative processes and identify efficiency enhancing solutions 

  • Conduct financial impact assessment in terms of cost-effectiveness and rates of returns.

  • Design and implement micro RCTs on live policy interventions

Position Summary 

The Program Manager - Public Finance is required to play an important role in contextualising and executing the CEGIS vision in the states where the current engagement is ongoing. The role will work closely with the Public Finance technical team and the relevant State team, and collaborate with other CEGIS teams (Outcomes Measurement; Personnel Management; Sectoral teams). The Program Manager will be jointly reporting to the Lead, Public Finance and State Leads.

Roles and Responsibilities 

Data Analysis and Management:

  • Facilitates access to administrative data from relevant government line departments, reviews them using a prescribed template, and conducts analysis as required.

  • Manages all primary, secondary, and administrative data, strictly following data management and security protocols.

  • Assists in standardization of protocols for projects to ensure consistency and quality.

  • Ensures adherence to data quality protocols, including auditing enumerators and conducting data quality audits.

Analysis and Interpretation:

  • Supports analysis and interpretation of information to derive insights

  • Conducts detailed budgetary analysis at different levels of government and situational analysis on a variety of economic sectors and subjects.

  • Conducts forensic analysis to identify anomalous patterns in taxpayer behaviour and assesses financial impacts

  • Executes micro RCTs to facilitate real-time policy interventions.

Stakeholder Engagement and Relationship Building:

  • Works closely with senior academics and government stakeholders to tailor research/policy design and protocols to local contexts.

  • Actively keeps track of global best practices and research to strengthen the team’s capacity to adopt them.

  • Manages government relationships with bureaucratic leadership at the highest level, ensuring ongoing engagement with CEGIS projects.

  • Ensures communication of key findings and insights to government stakeholders

Project Management and Leadership:

  • Directs the initiation and definition of projects in line with core objectives, ensuring timely delivery of outputs.

  • Manages a team of associates, supporting them in the execution of programmatic projects and development of high-quality outputs.

  • Supports the technical and professional development of team members, fostering their growth and expertise.

Policy Documentation and Reporting:

  • Prepares detailed presentations, reports, and briefs summarizing project progress, data analyses, and research findings for dissemination at various fora.

  • Translates technical requirements into on-ground implementation, ensuring that outputs are accessible to both technical and non-technical audiences.

  • Works towards standardization of protocols to maintain consistency and quality across projects.

Education and Experience

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in economics, statistics, public policy, engineering, social science, or related fields from a reputed institution 

  • 5 to 7 years relevant work experience, including research, basic quantitative analysis, client management (preferably with governments) and managerial experience 

  • Some experience in quantitative data management and analysis using STATA, R (strongly preferred) or Python programming

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent problem-solving and strategic thinking skills, strong research aptitude ability to analyse complex quantitative and qualitative data and formulate solutions 

  • Fluency in English and excellent writing and communication skills (ability to communicate complex ideas in a meaningful way and across different audiences) within and outside the organization. Some proficiency in the relevant local language will be a plus.

  • Demonstrated relationship-building ability and management of high-level relationships with partner organizations, ideally based on experience of working with Indian state governments
    Strong planning and organizational skills, and an ability to be able to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines 

  • Passion for improving the effectiveness of Indian States, and alignment with CEGIS’s theory of change/ impact 

  • Operating style suited to working independently and in a small-organization setting, where teamwork and resourcefulness are highly valued 

  • Ability to work under pressure by handling competing priorities, strong planning and organizational skills, and an ability to be able to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines, maintaining attention to detail and delivering high-quality outputs 

  • Ability to think creatively, willing to take risks to experiment with new ideas and the ability to turn ideas into action 

  • High ability to collaborate and actively listen to others, understanding and valuing others’ views
    Versatility to be comfortable taking on different projects and quickly dive into new sectors
    Understanding of at least one of taxation, public finance management systems, or budgeting would be preferred. 

  • Understanding of experimental and non-experimental research methods, including design and implementation of field sample surveys is an added advantage.

Personal Characteristics and Desired Qualities

  • Excellent problem-solving and strategic thinking skills, strong research aptitude ability to analyse complex quantitative and qualitative data and formulate solutions 

  • Fluency in English and excellent writing and communication skills (ability to communicate complex ideas in a meaningful way and across different audiences) within and outside the organization

  • Strong planning and organizational skills, and an ability to be able to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines

  • Ability to manage teams from diverse backgrounds including working closely with Government (Department) stakeholders to ensure smooth project delivery
    Passion for improving the effectiveness of Indian States, and alignment with CEGIS’s theory of change/ impact

  • Operating style suited to working independently and in a small-organization setting, where teamwork and resourcefulness are highly valued 

  • Ability to work under pressure by handling competing priorities, strong planning and organizational skills, and an ability to be able to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines, maintaining attention to detail and delivering high-quality outputs

  • Ability to think creatively, willing to take risks to experiment with new ideas and the ability to turn ideas into action

  • High ability to collaborate and actively listen to others, understanding and valuing others’ views

  • Versatility to be comfortable taking on different projects and quickly dive into new sectors​

Compensation

​CEGIS is looking for suitable candidates for this role in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Remuneration will be competitive with Indian philanthropy and social sector pay scales and will depend on the candidate’s experience levels.

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application here

Pre-reads for the application process

Please go through the following materials before sending in your application:

Concept note on CEGIS

 

Podcast episodes with Prof. Karthik Muralidharan – one each on education and healthcare in India.

You are also encouraged to read more of Prof. Karthik Muralidharan’s work here.

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