MPs get expert help from young professionals

They don’t shout party slogans. They don’t indulge in political rhetoric. Their thought process is not driven by any party manifesto. But this team of young professionals contributes to the political system by helping our MPs in development work.

A group of young professionals from top universities and institutes such as Harvard, Stanford, IITs and IIMs working with a Delhi-based NGO Swaniti, offer research and analytical services to legislators. 

Instead of the party office, you will find them diligently taking notes while talking to a health worker on the field in Barrackpore in West Bengal which is the constituency of former union minister Dinesh Trivedi. Or instead of attending the national party meetings, the members will be busy running numbers on impact assessment in MP Kamal Nath’s office.

Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi seems pleased with the young blood using its expertise to help legislators in reaching out to people through better initiatives.

“There are no organised systems in India through which talented youth can get involved in politics and work on development issues with elected officials. Swaniti gives a great opportunity to young minds from all over the world to come to India and work with legislators like me in India,” Trivedi said. 

“Not only that, it also provides an MP the opportunity to make use of that talent in their respective constituencies to improve governance,” he said.

In the past one year, the members have worked with 14 MPs and MLAs in their constituencies and consulted an additional four MPs on development issues.

The team has worked on multitude of development issues ranging from building healthcare facilities in Kendrapara to empowering home owners in Kukatpally to have worked on pan India basis from Kerala to job creation in Himachal Pradesh.

 “We realised that there is this disconnect where the Constitution thinks that an MP should legislate but the community expects there to be a ground impact through development,” Rwitwika Bhattacharya Agarwal, founder Swaniti, told Deccan Herald.

This team of professionals is supporting MPs through consulting style engagements in their constituency.

“I was an avid follower of Indian politics so when I got an opportunity to work first hand with an MLA, I jumped on it,” Vishal Kumar, director Swaniti, told Deccan Herald. He has worked with Cochin MLA Hibi Eden on urban growth challenges before joining the organisation.

The NGO’s next major plunge is technology. In the election year, it hopes to continue working with Rajya Sabha MPs.

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