The Last Mile: Turning Public Policy Upside Down

On implementing policies in a better way to make a new India that is poverty free and much less unequal, by Amarjeet Sinha, Member, Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB).

In this talk, the speaker will draw upon his latest book titled The Last Mile: Turning Public Policy Upside Down to find an answer to the question why policy often does not deliver what it promises. The thrust of the book is on understanding what are those public management decisions that contribute to building systems for outcomes. 

This book builds on the author’s earlier work, An India for Everyone (Harper Collins Paperback, published in 2013) which dealt on the need to focus on human development for attaining higher rates of economic progress and a more inclusive society. 

The speaker reflects on his experience of working on a range of pro-poor public welfare programmes which includes coordinating the work of the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in 63,974 purposively selected villages to implement pro-poor public programmes like Ujjwala for LPG Gas connections, Saubhagya for electricity connections to households, immunisation under Mission Indradhanush, and so on. 

His engagement with pro-poor public welfare programmes and programmes for improving rural infrastructure with clear timeline specific outcomes, exposed him to a range of innovations in programme design, implementation, and effective monitoring.

The need to write on what worked, stems from the need to understand the level of plumbing required to achieve outcomes, and what could be done better through new innovations and approaches. Looking at books on public administration and public policy making in India, the speaker was struck by the lack of good evidence-based works that critically analyse the systems of public management, their weaknesses and out of the box solutions. 

This volume is the outcome of his experiences acquired over the last few decades. Since there was more than what the last book offered and newer areas where research has yet not delved deep into the nitty gritty of administrative arrangements, this book adds to the body of knowledge and breaks new ground in the study of public management and public policy making for better outcomes and well-being of all. 

The speaker will talk about implementing policies in a better way to make a new India, that is poverty free and much less unequal, an India that provides social opportunities to every individual to develop her/​his fullest human potential through good health, incomes, education, skills and sustainable livelihoods.

Speaker Profile

Amarjeet Sinha is currently posted as Member, Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). He was earlier posted as Advisor to the Prime Minister till 31 July 2021. An Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of Bihar Cadre of 1983 batch, he retired in December 2019 as Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Government of India.

He has 39 years of experience in Government, largely in the rural and social sector. He has had the unique distinction of having played a major role in designing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (India’s main programme for universal education), the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), and in bringing about governance reforms in programmes for rural areas covering livelihoods, employment, housing, social security, skills, rurban development, and road construction. 

He also coordinated successfully the work of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in 2018 to reach seven pro-poor public welfare interventions (LPG, electricity, Bank Account, life and accident insurance, LED Bulbs, and Immunisation) to 63,974 large villages with over 50% vulnerable social group population. 

Multi-Dimensional Poverty and its Reduction, Public Policy and Public Management are areas of his work. He has also been training Indian Administrative Service Officer Trainees at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie on the social sector for the last 30 years. 

He has the distinction of having travelled to over 90% of India’s districts to promote human development initiatives. Sinha has published seven books on public policy and a large number of articles in publications such as Lancet, Economic and Political Weekly, Economic Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Times of India, The Business Standard and The Hindustan Times.