Date of Announcement: 27 April 2013
The Freedom Team of India’s policy competition, announced on 15 November 2012, attracted over 400 registrants. A total of 20 entries were received. One competitor had applied to join FTI. Although he has since left, he is not an Indian citizen hence ineligibile for a cash prize.
General comment on quality of entries received
The rules specified that “FTI may decide not to award prizes on policy topics in which no entry of a minimum acceptable standard is received”. This provision was not expected to be used since FTI was hoping for a very strong field. It turns out that many competitors did not use the mandatory competition template (which provides a systemtatic framework for analysis). Many of those who used the template didn't demonstrate basic diligence and evidence-based policy thinking, hence failed to meet a minimum standard.
FTI doesn't blame this unfortunate state of affairs on the participants, but on the lack of even a single good school of Governance and Public Policy in India. Policy makers in India are therefore left to their own devices, leading to extremely poor public policy. It is our hope that this deplorable state of affairs will be addressed through the ongoing efforts of the Freedom Team of India (which has also recently launched the Sone Ki Chidiya Federation to bring about total reforms). Competiton participants are encouraged to join the Federation to support good governance in India. They are also encouraged to understand the slides presented at the Governance Reforms Conference at Indian Institute of Public Administration recently.
Seven participants are being acknowedged and/or awarded prizes
Despite the low average standard of policy entries, three did meet a minimum standard (although much was still left to be desired – e.g. proof of assertions made).
One of these policies has been judged to be of sufficiently high standard (despite limitations) to act as a minimum benchmark for future policy design in India. This policy is being awarded the overall best prize of Rs.1 lakh.
The remaining two (out of the three that met the minimum standard) were in the same policy area (school education), so only will get the prize of Rs.20,000 and the second is being acknowledged through a consolation prize. (Although there was no provision for consolation prizes in the Rules, the Board of Directors of FTI has decided to acknowledge/ award five small additional prizes to encourage the participants.)
The policy entries
FTI has previoulsy published the policy entries without disclosing participant names. The entires are now being published with participant names (without addresses and other private details) here.
Disclaimer: Awarding a prize to a policy does not bind FTI in any way to its recommendations. FTI continues to develop world-best policies for India through its own extensive analysis and wide discussions with the community.
1) First (and overall best) prize: Rs.1 lakh
The first prize goes to Supratim Guha and Amudavalli Kannan (C17: Policy No. 17: Water (including rivers policy and potable water supplies).
Title of competition entry: River-Basin Management
Affiliation: Undergraduate Law Students at Gujarat National Law University
FTI believes that this policy is good enough to act as a minimum benchmark for all policies made in India. Much better policies can be designed with due diligence and effort. However, currently no actual public policy in India even meets this minimum benchmark. The Planning Commission spends HUNDREDS of crores of rupees on consultants, only to make truly bad policies. If India were to follow the diligence and effort put in by Supratim Guha and Amudavalli Kannan in such a short time, it could achieve wonders with the resources currently spent (wasted) on policy making.
Download a PDF version of the Guha-Kannan First Prize winning policy below (Word version here). Please also pass on this link as widely as you can. Well done, Guha and Kannan.
2) Prize for best policy on school education: Rs.20,000
The only other policy area in which a minimum standard was met was school education. The prize in this policy area goes to Poorvaja Prakash and Radhika Maloo. (C13: Policy area no. 12: School education (including early childhood education)). Download this prize winning entry here (Word | PDF).
Title of competition entry: Education For Learning
3) Two consolation prizes of Rs. 3,000 each
The following competitors are being awarded Rs. 3,000 each as a consolation prize for their effort.
Padma Karri (C12/ 11_Padma_karri.doc – download from zip file here)
Avi Aggarwal (C09/ 2_aviaggarwal.doc – download from zip file here)
4) Three encouragement prizes
The following two are being awarded Rs. 1,000 each as encouragement prize.
Akriti Bhatia: C19/ 16_Akriti Bhatia.doc – download from zip file here)
Rahul Gupta (C20/ 2_rahulgupta.doc – download from zip file here)
FTI also wishes to encoruage the following competitor. He is not a citizen of India, so will not receive any cash prize. But well done:
Sandeep Datir (C04/ health policy.doc – download from zip file here)
The Freedom Team of India congratulates not just the prize winners but all contestants – for putting in the time and effort to think about public policy. This is a highly neglected area of thought and study in India, and the results of such neglect are self-evident to anyone who lives in India. Even "reform" movements are led by people who have not the slightest clue about good public policy.
Through the efforts of Freedom Team of India, its supporters, and competition participants we hope that India will finally arrive at good policies. We hope that all competitors learnt something useful from the competition – regardless of whether they won a prize. We wish them the very best in their future plans in the field of public policy.
We invite you to work together with us to ensure better public policy in India through world-best governance and policy frameworks.
FTI is a fledgeling effort that is trying to reform India's deplorable governance. We need every Indian's support. If you think that FTI is on the right track, please support FTI actively through cash contributions and voluntary work. Those who wish to lead India should join the Freedom Team. Those who wish to India to achieve genuine reforms should participate in the Sone Ki Chidiya Total Reform Movement by joining the Sone Ki Chidiya Federation – which has been created by FTI as a platform for all reformers and reform organisations in India to come together.
FTI wishes to thank those who contributed prize money for this competition. We will soon be in touch with them with proposals to best use the remaining contributed prize money for preparing good public policy documents for India.
Note: Cheques to prize winners
Cheques to prize winners will be mailed out to the addresses they have provided, in the next 30 days. Should you not receive your prize by then, please contact Supratim Basu at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ajay Anand at email@example.com.
Board of Directors, Freedom Team of India