Leveraging government-private thought partnerships


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- Thought partnership for informed policymaking

Thought partnership between government and the external players can aid in informed policymaking. The article deals with these issues and suggest forging of more of such partnerships. 

Government working together with external partners

  • Policymaking requires multiple rounds of consultations and co-working with different entities, including collaboration between the government and external partners.
  • Over the last few years, there has been increasing evidence of the government and external partners working together on complex policy problems.
  • The government has formalized the induction of private individuals into the system by opening up lateral entry.
  • Several central government ministries and entities, such as NITI Aayog, routinely recruit private individuals as consultants, officers on special duty, or young professionals.
  • Given the staggering vacancies in the central government, such support is critical since civil servants are generally overburdened and under-resourced.

What is thought partnership and how it works

  • Thought partnerships are a structured mechanism for private entities to lend relevant strategic expertise to the government on policy design, evaluation, and implementation.
  • It is also not always feasible for the government itself to fund projects involving private partners, more so when such projects are unconventional thought partnerships.
  • Several domestic and international philanthropies and impact investing firms are already investing in critical sectors in developing countries including India.
  • However, much of this funding goes into supporting projects or interventions that work in limited, contextual settings rather than systemic or sectoral transformation programs.
  • It is here that philanthropies and impact investing firms can make a huge difference.

Past thought partnerships

  • In 2005, the Ashok Lahiri Committee report stated that there was not enough knowledge about external capital flows and controls in India.
  • The committee’s recommendation resulted in the establishment of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Department of Economic Affairs research program.
  • The program led to the creation of a rich body of world-class research on capital controls and flows in India that was used to inform government policy on the matter.
  • In 2015, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs constituted a research secretariat headed by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, to support the Companies Law Committee to make “informed decisions”.
  • The National Institute of Financial Management is working with the Department of Economic Affairs to provide legal research and technical assistance on Indian and foreign financial markets, policy analysis, formulation as well as the conduct of impact assessment studies on decisions taken by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Consider the question “What is thought partnership and how it could help in making informed policymaking? What are the challenges in forging thought partnerships?”


It is in the public interest that more thought partnerships are forged and funded to channel external expertise and skills towards finding scalable solutions to the pressing policy challenges the country faces.

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