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Govt to introduce 'policy impact fund' in budget to assess efficacy of policies

Govt to introduce policy impact fund in budget to assess efficacy of policies
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NEW DELHI: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday announced a first-of-its-kind allocation of a 'Policy Impact Fund' by the Delhi government, starting with an annual allocation of Rs 5 crore, i.e. 0.01 per cent of Delhi's annual budget.
Sisodia said this will generate the highest bar of evidence on how well policies are functioning and how can they be made more effective. The announcement was made during a special lecture arranged by the Delhi government on 'Evidence Based Policy Making'
J-Pal founders and economy professors at MIT Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo delivered the key note address at the event.
Sisodia said that this is a unique event and he is "happy to listen to these very accomplished economists and taking the benefits of their experience."
He quoted some examples from his own experiences as an administrator, journalist and activist to highlight the need for replacing conventions and randomness in policy-making with evidence-based planning at the micro-level.
A notable example he shared was from the time when he was flipping through the budget booklet and noticed a heading called 'Opium Purchase' under the Revenue Department. When he asked the Department why opium is being purchased by the government, he was told that it was being purchased since 1952 to rehabilitate refugees from Afghanistan.
"I don't know whether those people are alive, but shockingly every year the Delhi government was allocating some money to buy opium," Sisodia stated. He also talked about the lack of a need-based planning in governance.
Meanwhile, Prof Banerjee shared his vast experience in the field of evaluation and randomised controlled trials (RCT), which forms the basis for evidence-based policymaking.
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