Abhijeet Banarjee, Esther Duflo founded J-PAL signs MoU with Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia to engage in a strategic evidence-based approach to policy making.

This partnership targets to maximise the impact of anti-poverty programmes of the state across a wide range of sectors.

Under this partnership, J-PAL South Asia will provide the Odisha Government with technical assistance for scaling up evidence backed programmes to improve development outcomes across the state.

It may be noted here that the founder and co-founder of J-PAL Abhijeet Banarjee and Esther Duflo have been decorated with Noble prize for Economics in 2019 for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

Commensurate with the 5T programme of the State Government, this partnership aims at bringing transformation in the lives of people through research based intervention in policy formulation.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been focusing on transformation of Odisha through timely application of Transparency, Teamwork and Technology. This programme partnership has all the components of 5T with on-field application.

The partnership also establishes an overarching collaboration between J-PAL South Asia and the Government of Odisha under which J-PAL will work with several departments, including, but not limited to, Labour, Education, Health, and Women and Child Development, to conduct policy-relevant randomised evaluations of new anti-poverty and development programmes.

Additionally, a diagnostic exercise and subsequent workshops will be conducted to build state capacity in the area of monitoring and evaluation.

The agreement was signed by Odisha Development Commissioner Suresh Mahapatra and Executive Director of J-PAL South Asia Shobhini Mukerji, at a function at Kharvel Bhawan officiated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The Chief Minister expressed his hope that this partnership will result in actualising Team Odisha’s effort to transform Odisha by addressing its growing aspirations.

“J-PAL South Asia is very excited to enter into collaboration with the Government of Odisha, which has been focusing on transforming outcomes and improving efficiency through a number of different initiatives,” said Shobhini Mukerji, Executive Director of J-PAL South Asia.

 “We look forward to working closely with them on this journey of advancing evidence informed policymaking in the state,” she added.

J-PAL South Asia and the Government of Odisha will conduct an annual Policy Dialogue to identify the Government’s top policy priorities, conduct discussions to share evidence, and jointly come up with innovative solutions that can be field-tested through rigorous randomised evaluations.

Topics for the Policy Dialogues include malnutrition, women’s empowerment, distress migration, health-worker performance, and improving agricultural productivity.

The function was attended by the members of the Council of Ministers, Skill Development Authority Chairman, Mo School Chairperson, Chief Secretary, APC and other senior officers of the State Government.