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Senior Program Associate - Project Delivery - Chennai


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.

Position Overview 

As a Senior Program Associate (SPA) at The Centre for Effective Governance of Indian States (CEGIS), you will play a vital role in various projects across their entire life cycle. This includes handling concept notes, department-level diagnostics, solution identification, pilot development, pilot implementation, and providing support for scale-up initiatives. Projects typically involve frontline service delivery. Reporting to the respective Project Lead(s), you will significantly contribute to the analytical aspects of the projects, ensuring effective governance and public expenditure reforms.


The role requires meticulous attention to detail and a strong analytical mindset to track and analyze data from various sources. The individual will be responsible for conducting independent research, root cause analysis, and presenting insights for effective problem-solving. Additionally, the role involves supporting project planning and implementation, stakeholder engagement, and documentation of project progress.

Key Result Areas (KRAs) 

Data Analysis and Insight Generation:

  • Track and analyze data for accuracy and conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis.

  • Extract important insights from complex datasets relevant to key stakeholders.

  • Prioritize and address data issues promptly to support project progress and decision-making.

Research and Documentation:

  • Independently conduct research and root cause analysis, documenting and presenting insights.

  • Produce comprehensive presentations and documentation to convey critical project insights.

  • Create concept notes, policy briefs, and other documentation for stakeholder communication.

  • Co-creates project specific solutions by collaborating with vertical teams 

  • Suggests enhancements to project approach, frameworks and targeted solutions based on government context


Stakeholder Engagement and Communication:

  • Evaluate project contingencies and engage with internal and external stakeholders.

  • Anticipate client requirements through policy review 

  • Coordinate stakeholder meetings and gather feedback for project progress and decision-making.

  • Foster deep connections with stakeholders including level 2 and level 3 stakeholders and suggest innovative ideas to nurture partnerships.


Project Management:

  • Plan and prioritize work plans, ensuring accountability for set timelines.

  • Evaluate project contingencies incl delays, roadblocks and assist in strategies to create buy-in

  • Ensure transparent and effective communication channels are maintained throughout the project lifecycle.

  • Develop high-quality outputs, including reports, notes, and analyses & Ensure these deliverables meet the standards for dissemination at various forums, contributing to the project's success and visibility.

  • Support project team members and manage their time effectively.

  • Assist in altering project goals and outcomes based on stakeholder feedback and project progress.

  • Take increasing responsibility for project management


Documentation and Knowledge Creation & Facilitation:

  • Document and disseminate domain specific information that enables project success.

  • Create original knowledge pieces like blogs, concept notes, work flows etc.

  • Maintain Project based knowledge repository and contribute to other Knowledge management processes.​

Qualifications and Skills Needed

  • 3-6 years of experience with minimum 3 years of experience with a Master’s degree or equivalent in economics, public policy, social science, or related fields from a reputable institution. High calibre Graduates will be considered.

  • Fluency in English and basic to intermediate proficiency in Telugu.

  • Proficiency in data analysis, including strong analytical skills in tracking and analyzing data, expertise in statistical tools like STATA and Excel, and conducting independent research and root cause analysis.

  • Strong problem-solving skills coupled with creative thinking aptitude, risk-taking willingness, and the ability to translate ideas into actionable plans, all complemented by adept project management abilities.

  • Exceptional writing and communication abilities to create documentation and presentations to convey complex ideas to diverse audiences.

  • Adaptability to excel in independent work environments and small organizational settings, demonstrating both self-motivation and the ability to work effectively with minimal supervision.

  • Capacity to foster partnerships and nurture stakeholder relationships.

  • Proficiency in prioritizing tasks, planning timelines, and consistently meeting deadlines.

  • Knowledge management and organizational skills for maintaining project-related data and information.

  • Commitment to CEGIS’s mission and values.

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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