Monday, November 29, 2010

My Buddies!!!

My buddies gave a very nice view about their work and new culture in Officialdum!!

  • It is this ability to effect change at the grassroots level and create social value for the future that drives young professionals from high-paying corporate careers and international business schools into government offices, says Sukhman Randhawa, a 29-year-old consultant at the office of Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovation. As someone who works closely with Pitroda on the goals of the National Innovation Council—which he chairs—and on the plan to connect India’s 250,000 panchayats through an optic fibre network, Randhawa says the government affords much-needed perspective.
  • “Working in your little corporate silo, you tend to have a piecemeal view of things,” says the post-graduate in social and political sciences from Cambridge University who was a TV journalist with CNBC before she joined the now-defunct National Knowledge Commission.
  • Randhawa works out of the Planning Commission office in Yojana Bhavan, which, she says, is now “crawling with young people”, thanks to the Young Professionals Programme, the only such institutionalised programme in the country introduced early this year. Says Arunish Chawla, executive secretary to the deputy chairman, Planning Commission, and himself a PhD from the London School of Economics, “The programme was introduced to bring in young people with at least a masters degree. We advertised positions and requirements on our website and conducted interviews. It’s a successful programme—we have over 20 young professionals working actively with us, helping us shape the 12th Plan.”
  • At 24, Astha Kapoor, one of the youngest consultants at the Planning Commission, works with the Voluntary Action Cell and acts as a liaison between government and civil society organisations. “I was contemplating appearing for the IAS exam, but then this opportunity came by,” says the postgraduate in social development from the International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands. Excited to see policies being framed in front of her eyes, she says she feels as much a part of the Commission as any other employee, but admits to wearing saris to meetings to look older in the company of seasoned bureaucrats. “It’s great to see from such close quarters how the country is run. You get to sit in meetings attended by chief ministers. This is where it all happens and I get to be part of it,” says Kapoor. Six months into the job, she is now accustomed to the ways of the government, but it wasn’t easy when she was new. “We are not used to putting everything in files, or using abbreviations like OM (office memorandum) or DO (draft order) that officers use freely, for instance, and it took a while to get to used to all this. Now I’ve adapted to working here—I drink six or seven cups of chai a day!” she says.

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