You are here: Home » Management » News
Business Standard

From future managers to poll observers

Archana Mohan  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

For years, Indian Institutes of (IIMs), the seats of learning in the country, have faced flak for being 'elitist' and 'playing mute spectators' to public affairs.
Students passing out from the IIMs each year are accused of using the IIM tag to go up the corporate ladder rather than contributing to the society.
However, the first signs of active political and public policy participation on the IIM campuses are now visible. Students of the Post Graduate Programme (PGP) at IIM Ahmedabad are quietly gearing up to refute the notion by forming a special interest group on public policy with active support of top-notch politicians including Arun Jaitley and Sitaram Yechury.
The group has been formed to give students a forum for activism, to understand government policies and its impact on the economy. Some students are also participating as 'Poll Observers' in the Gujarat elections this year.
The co-creator of the group is Krishna Chepuri, a second year PGP student who incidentally was the first student in the history of the IIMs to undertake his summer internship with a political party.
After two months of training under Sitaram Yechury, the politburo member of CPI(M), Chepuri and his batchmate Vijayendra Haryal, who pioneered the social entrepreneurship fair at the campus, are making plans to involve more and more IIM students into working with politicians and public policy officials during summer internships and for preparing research and case studies during the year.
The Public Policy Group, which has 15 core members and 40-50 students from a variety of programmes, had tested rather controversial waters by bringing 123 nuclear deal critics like Sitaram Yechury and those for it like G Balachandran, visiting Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, to the IIM-A to debate on the issue at a crucial juncture when the UPA government was facing pressure from the Left parties.
However, not only was the debate a big hit but also managed to earn them brownie points with political leaders who have expressed willingness to involve them in creating solutions for inclusive growth.
Haryal believes that the visits of Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar, Edward Murray, a US senator, and Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami to the campus have already ignited the interest of first year IIM students who are also exploring Chepuri's route of interning with a political party.
In fact, such is the political fervour on the campus this year that about 40 students of IIM-A will be working as poll-observers at the Gujarat elections this year.
While this is not part of the public policy group, the students have received the nod from the EC and would be posted at polling stations in various constituencies.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Tue, December 11 2007. 00:00 IST