On October 26th 2021, the NSS unit in collaboration with the IQAC cell of National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam organised the closing ceremony of “VICHAAR”- A National Policy Drafting Competition.
“VICHAAR” is the first of its kind, organised by an institute from the North-Eastern part of India, was a National policy drafting competition, and was graced by the enthusiasm of 52 policy submissions from across the nation.
The session commenced with the introductory address by NSS Convenor – Ms. Devanshi Srivastava, who extended a warm welcome to the dignitaries present – Honorable Chief Guest Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, the Director of the Centre for South-East Asian Studies, Gauhati University Assam, and Honorable Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. V.K. Ahuja, faculty members, and the other attendees.
The Honorable Vice Chancellor of National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam gave the opening address expressing his gratitude towards the Chief Guest for his gracious presence to enlighten the students and for facilitating the winners of the event. He further addressed the gathering by defining policy and showcased its importance in recent economic development and other aspects of the society.
Next, the Chief Guest of the Event Honorable Chief Guest Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, welcomed the attendees and gave his address.
Professor Nani Gopal Mahanta is a professor of political science at Gauhati University, Assam, India and he is also the advisor to the Ministry of Education, Government of Assam. He was formerly Head of the Department, Political Science, and Registrar (2018–2019), Gauhati University. Dr Mahanta is currently the Director of the Centre for SouthEast Asian Studies, Gauhati University.
The Chief Guest began by appreciating the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam for organising the first of its kind event in the North-Eastern part of our country and also praised participants for active efforts in the competition. Next, he shared with the participants the importance of policy making and distinguished it from a mere law making exercise, and instead acknowledged it as an important aspect in achieving the welfare state. According to him policy making requires multiplicity of approaches and cannot be tackled by a single person. Debating the policies, resolving disputes and rational deliberations are required at all stages to design an effective policy.
As per the vision, methodology and objectives of the Chief Guest, a policy needs to be understood at five different layers, the first being the policy leaders such as the legislators and ministers, for they play a key role in directing the parliamentary debates and formulating the law and policy. The second layer consists of the policy practitioners such as the bureaucrats and administrators, who provide feedback and guidance on the policy. The third layer is the policy professionals who are specialised experts making policies in their domains.
During recent times the importance of this has been underscored as evidenced by the lateral induction of policy professionals into ministries, where they are even becoming joint secretaries. Next come the policy researchers and students who are beginning to view policy research as a worthy pursuit, and giving life to the upcoming policy centers all across the country. And lastly, the fourth layer is the institutions which provide for a symbiotic relationship between students and policy centers such as the ORF.
The Chief Guest further elaborated why subject silos must be broken, and encouraged cross-disciplinary collaboration, while mentioning that policies are not ossified documents and are always changing.
The Chief Guest then moved on to the most awaited part of the event on the itenary and announced winners. The first position was bagged by Ms. Ishika Garg from Banasthali Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan and the second position was secured by the team comprising Ms. Pratiti Hazarika, Ms. Akansha Sharma and Mr. Satish Chandra Chitrapu from National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam. To conclude, Assistant Professor Himangshu Ranjan Nath thanked the Chief Guest Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, Vice-Chancellor NLUJAA Prof. V K Ahuja, the NSS Unit, and the organising committee of Vichaar National Policy Drafting Competition.