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Senior Program Associate - Public Finance - Delhi ,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.

Position Summary 

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, all while significantly contributing to the analytical aspects of the projects.  Typically, these projects shall be anchored with the Departments of Finance and Planning and may involve engagements with frontline service delivery departments (e.g., local governance, nutrition, education etc.). You'll ensure effective governance and public expenditure reforms by meticulously tracking and analyzing data from various sources, conducting independent research and root cause analysis, and presenting insights for effective problem-solving. Additionally, you'll support project planning and implementation, stakeholder engagement, and documentation of project progress and knowledge management under the supervision of respective Project Leads.

Key Result Areas (KRAs) 

Data Analysis and Insight Generation:

  • Engage with departments to collect relevant data, develop quantitative and qualitative tools/templates, administer these tools, and support in cleaning and organizing the data.

  • 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.

  • Ensure compliance with internal data management and security protocols

Research and Documentation:

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

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

  • Collaborate with other teams to jointly develop and implement technical solutions tailored to specific project requirements as is suitable for the state’s context.

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

 

Stakeholder Engagement and Communication:

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

  • Assist the project team in collecting critical information and departmental updates by maintaining regular communication with government counterparts, partner organisations, and other relevant stakeholders.

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

  • Foster deep connections with stakeholders and suggest innovative ideas to nurture partnerships.

 

Project Management & Delivery:

  • Understand project requirements, coordinate with internal teams and external partners for delivery excellence.

  • Support comparison and assessment of different strategies, frameworks, and solutions for effective decision-making.

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

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

  • Support knowledge management processes to help achieve project and organisational objectives (for example, assisting in maintaining a project-based knowledge repository).

Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent preferred in economics, public policy, social science or related fields from a reputed institution, bright graduate applicants may be considered.

  • 3-6 years of experience. Minimum 3 years of work experience in India with organisations working in related fields of work i.e., research agencies, policy think-tanks, government or private sector organisations working on government advisory or consulting 

  • Proven experience in project management and analytical contributions.

  • Strong communication, collaboration, and leadership skills.

  • Experience with data cleaning and analysis of large and complex data sets and econometric analysis

  • Knowledge of STATA or R (strongly preferred) or any other data analysis software preferred

  • Experience in client servicing/government projects would be preferred

  • Report writing and presentations with proficiency in MS Office and other tools

Personal Characteristics and Desired Qualities

  • Fluency in English and proficiency in XXX.   

  • Excellent problem-solving skills, with an aptitude for research to formulate solutions 

  • Excellent writing and communication skills (ability to communicate complex ideas in a meaningful way and across different audiences) 

  • Ability to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines

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

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

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

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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