Leading development economists and social scientists in the world are likely to be part of the formulation and evaluation of various schemes in the State in sectors such as school education, health, poverty alleviation and skill development.
To facilitate this, the State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Abdul Latif Jameel – Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), USA, and the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), Chennai, the local host institute for J-PAL in India, according to an official release issued on Wednesday.
The J-PAL, headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a leading international research network known for its rigorous impact evaluations of development programmes. It has over 100 affiliated professors from top universities including MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, London School of Economics and IIM Ahmedabad.
Initially, five projects have been identified for evaluation - primary school education interventions (School Education Department); improving youth labour market outcomes through skilling - a survey in four districts (Labour and Employment); inculcating healthy habits to reduce the burden on non-communicable diseases, engaging women to improve breastfeeding outcomes in Tamil Nadu and weekly iron folic acid supplementation and school anaemia monitoring (Health and Family Welfare). More projects would be identified for evaluation in the next two years.
Essentially aimed at institutionalising an evidence-based approach in policymaking to maximise the impact of anti-poverty programmes of the government, “the MOU is a step towards realizing Tamil Nadu Vision 2023 goal of becoming India’s most prosperous and progressive state, and having fully eradicated poverty,” the release stated.
The J-PAL would assist the State government in building internal capacity to carry out monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of ongoing or new schemes. It would conduct a diagnostic/needs assessment exercise to identify existing sources of M&E information, their use in monitoring, and gaps in relation to a Results/Outcomes-based approach. The exercise would initially be undertaken with Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Department and three line departments.
The MoU was signed by S.Krishnan, Principal Secretary (Planning, Development and Special Initiatives) of the State government and Shobini Mukherji, Executive Director, J-PAL, South Asia, in the presence of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.