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Senior Program Manager - State & Market - 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.


CEGIS’ work under the theme of State and Market (SAM) focuses on improving state capacity for better management of State interfaces with the larger market, especially in service delivery functions. We work with State Governments in three capacities


  • Procurement: Improving procurement policies, processes and decisions to improve value for money in public procurement

  • Regulation: Assessment of market failures and design and execution of proportionate regulatory interventions to address these

  • Policy: Development of sectoral policy to incentivize cost effective service delivery, through the most appropriate models

​While the above work will be focused on CEGIS core sectors (education, health, nutrition, local governance), some streams like procurement are likely to have a broader sectoral coverage. Our projects will involve elements of research and analytics, market efficiency assessment, regulatory capacity assessment, and active support to Finance and line departments in reforms adoption. This will involve both quantitative and qualitative skills. This will, among other things, entail:


  • Conducting market assessments including identification of market failures (information asymmetry, market power, externalities, deadweight losses)

  • Conducting assessment of State capacity on policy, provision and regulation, through benchmarking, assessment of rules, systems and procedures, and primary interactions with key stakeholders 

  • Quantitative assessments of cost effectiveness across different models of service delivery, including use of methods such as Value for Money assessments (VfM) and Public Sector Comparator (PSC) analysis

  • Interactions with non-state actors (for Profits and Civil Society Organisations) to assess their offerings, constraints and operating ecosystem.

Roles and Responsibilities 

Data Analysis and Management:

  • Evaluates and Reviews Pre-analysis Plans: Guarantees comprehensive and precise data analysis procedures.

  • Enhances Data Accuracy and Validity: Connects collected research and data with other projects or best practices for informed decision-making.

  • Ensures the completeness of collected research data.

  • Lays Down Protocols for Data Management: Evaluates and establishes protocols for managing data quality, access, verification, and validation.

  • Assists in Data Interpretation and Presentation: Helps in interpreting and presenting data effectively to convey meaningful insights to stakeholders.

Solution Design & Technical Expertise:

  • Contributes Technical and Operational Insights:

    • Actively engages in brainstorming sessions to provide technical and operational insights.

    • Fosters creative problem-solving and solution design.

  • Ensures Adherence to Best Practices: 

    • Maintains high-quality standards by adhering to best practices in solution design.

  • Provides Domain Expertise: 

    • Offers domain expertise to project teams.

    • Ensures quality and integrity of project outputs.

    • Supports proposal preparation and pitching to donors.

Oversees Project Execution:

  • Manages multiple projects concurrently through all phases.

  • Supports in articulating the Theory of Change within projects.

  • Supports vertical lead in evaluating project progress and performance.

  • Guides project teams to align with vertical's goals and vision.

  • Oversees comprehensive project management, spanning from conceptualization and resource allocation to briefing and execution. Monitors costs, timelines, and resource management across projects.

  • Forges internal alignment through collaboration with various teams.

Communication and Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Strategically Evaluates External Stakeholders:

    • Identifies synergies with external stakeholders aligning with organizational goals.

    • Cultivates strategic partnerships with external stakeholders.

    • Creates opportunities for the vertical by identifying synergies.

  • Reviews Stakeholders' Feedback:

    • Synthesizes stakeholders' feedback to develop strategic communication strategies.

    • Creates presentations, reports, and dashboards for diverse stakeholders.

  • Develops Understanding of Stakeholder Landscape:

    • Maintains understanding of stakeholders and their linkages.

    • Engages with key stakeholders to deliver strategic benefits to projects.

Knowledge Product Development:

  • Develops Knowledge Products:

    • Develops concept notes, success stories, and learning documents.

    • Identifies internal and external knowledge sources and shares best practices.

    • Plans and executes initiatives related to knowledge sharing and partnerships.

Education and Experience:

  • Masters or advanced degree, such as a PhD or equivalent, in economics, statistics, public policy, engineering, social science, or related fields from a prestigious institution.

  • 8 to 12 years of progressive work experience, including extensive research, advanced quantitative analysis, client management (especially with government entities), and substantial managerial experience.

  • Demonstrated expertise in quantitative data management and analysis, utilizing advanced tools such as STATA, R, or Python programming extensively.

Required Skills, Characteristics, and Qualities for a Senior Program Manager:

  • Fluency in English and Proficiency in Regional Languages: Mastery of English is essential, and proficiency in local language is highly advantageous for effective communication with diverse stakeholders.

  • Advanced Problem-Solving and Strategic Thinking: Demonstrated ability to solve complex problems strategically, utilizing strong research aptitude to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data to develop innovative solutions.

  • Exceptional Communication Skills: Ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively to various audiences, both internally and externally, fostering understanding and alignment across stakeholders.

  • Robust Planning and Organizational Abilities: Proven track record in setting priorities, planning timelines, and meeting deadlines with precision, while maintaining attention to detail and delivering high-quality outputs consistently.

  • Team Leadership and Stakeholder Management: Proficiency in managing diverse teams and collaborating closely with government stakeholders to ensure seamless project delivery, leveraging strong relationship-building skills at all levels.

  • Passion for Impact and Adaptability: Deep commitment to driving positive change in Indian states, aligning with organizational goals, coupled with a flexible operating style suited for independent work within a small-organization environment.

  • Innovative Thinking and Risk Management: Willingness to think creatively, take calculated risks, and translate ideas into actionable initiatives, fostering a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement.

  • Active Collaboration and Empathy: High capacity for collaboration, actively listening to diverse perspectives, and valuing input from team members and stakeholders, fostering a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect.

  • Versatility and Sector Expertise: Comfortable with diverse projects and quick adaptation to new sectors, leveraging past experience and expertise to drive impactful outcomes across various domains.

  • Strategic Relationship Building: Proven ability to cultivate and manage high-level relationships with partner organizations, particularly within Indian state governments, to advance program objectives effectively.

  • Research Methodology Proficiency: Familiarity with both experimental and non-experimental research methods, including the design and implementation of field sample surveys, providing valuable insights and informing evidence-based decision-making.


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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