Second Lecture in Ashoka History Spring Webinar 2021
Ashoka University trains young professionals on state governance
Now in its fourth year, the Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associates (CMGGA), an experiential learning programme run in partnership by the state government of Haryana and Ashoka University provides young aspirants from across the country an opportunity to work with local government bodies on the ground to bring about change.
The Associates are placed in all 22 districts of Haryana and work directly under Deputy Commissioners with regular check-ins with the Chief Minister (CM). They work on pre-decided issues, in alignment with the CM’s Office, such as women’s safety, property tax, higher education, sanitation, digitisation of services and schemes for citizens etc. as well as have the opportunity to innovate, which is applicable for scale if successful. The Associates present the work they are doing on different issues along with their innovative pilots directly to the Chief Minister every two – three months.
The programme has already seen considerable success with pilots being launched on themes such as women’s empowerment, social audits, plastic free campaign, digitisation of education in government schools, modernisation of public libraries, among others. Four of these have been scaled up by the state government.
The state government has also been greatly appreciative of the value-add the Associates provided through their fresh perspective, enthusiasm and perseverance to achieve positive results. The Chief Minister, in particular, has said that as a result of new ideas brought in by the CMGGA Associates combined with the consistent rigour of departments across districts, Haryana has attained landmark milestones in e-governance, service-scheme delivery, geo-governance and the education sector.
“Our vision of minimum government, maximum governance has been fast-tracked with the support of CMGGAs and we will continue to work for the people of Haryana with renewed energy in the future.”
The key to the success lies in the process by which the young Associates are selected, trained, given the opportunity to cross-learn, and supported by the programme team at Ashoka University. This gives them the confidence to apply their passion to find solutions to complicated and inter-connected issues.
The programme team comprising in-house specialised staff from the University along with consultants from Samagra – Transforming Governance (a governance consultancy firm)has developed the ‘Field to Forum’ approach, where Associates from all districts return to Ashoka University every six weeks from the field to reflect, deliberate, cross-learn and fine-tune their approach throughout the year.
Four Associates from the current batch (2019-2020) who participated in the Forum in mid-September, having returned from their first field experience of six weeks, share how Ashoka’s approach has enabled them to face challenges and inspired them to impact lives.
“Through CMGGA I had full ownership over my work” – Chahat Sanghvi
“This programme bridges the gap between issues we face in our everyday lives and the inside workings of the government. When I was in the field of finance, I felt I had no ownership over my work. Here, I have end-to-end ownership and feel I can really make a difference.”
The 15-day-long boot-camp organised by Ashoka at the start of the programme was very helpful. We had a chance to interact with IAS officials from various ranks and learn from their experience, which prepared us for the field. However, when as a youngster, I went to work at the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, I faced resistance from experienced officials. The programme team at Ashoka helped in finding a solution through facilitating a cross-learning experience from the district of Panchkula where best practices were shared, which led to positive change among the Gurugram officials. Such solutions have been particularly enabled by the Field to Forum approach of the programme where every six weeks, we get the opportunity to learn from the experiences of our peers in other districts, allowing for both collaboration and innovation at the same time.