School of Public Policy and Governance


The research agenda of the School is organised around the three Policy Area Concentrations offered by SPPG.

a) Regulation and Institutions,

b) Urbanisation

c)Social Conflict and Public Policy


The Policy Area Concentration on Regulation and Institutions works against the backdrop of a multi- dimensional shift in policy making under the new avatar of the state, commonly called the “Regulatory State”. The group endeavours to re-imagine regulation and institutional reforms in diverse sectors not from the standpoint of utilitarian efficiency but from the vantage point of justice, rights and equity.

The Policy Area Concentration on Urbanisation engages with what is marked as development goal for countries- of expanding the urban process. However the spatial dynamics of urbanisation, the influence of global or indigenous capital, the nature of jobs and the standard of living it creates, as well as the inequality within it can reveal whether it will lead to the ‘Triumph of the City’ or a ‘Planet of Slums. Public policies play a central role in determining the shape and nature of urbanisation

The Policy Area Concentration on Social Conflict and Public Policy is concerned with important forms of social conflict and discrimination visible in India today. Policy intervention by the post-colonial Indian state has purportedly a value slope in favour of the marginalized, although admittedly, the architecture of these resolutions proposed by government has not always mitigated these discriminations - in fact on occasion exacerbating that which they sought to contain. Less generous descriptions have often explained these failures as a sign of collusion between state power and the dominant social order, This PAC examines how public policy intervention has sought to blunt social discrimination through a variety of policies, court judgments, and legislations. Within the literature on public policy, this space between social conflict and its policy architecture requires urgent exploration.

Ongoing Research Programmes (2017-19)

The Regulation and Institutions group is researching the themes ‘Welfare Programmes and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)’

The group endeavours to capture the shift in delivery of welfare oriented public policy programmes with the introduction of DBT. The endeavor is to understand the efficacy of the delivery instruments (for instance, the JAM) in terms of (a) identification of the beneficiaries (b) exclusion errors (c) understanding and calculating transaction cost borne by the beneficiaries while accessing the welfare schemes and (d) grievance redressal mechanisms. Research documentation, evaluation and analyses of these questions through different welfare schemes at multiple sites is expected to give a comprehensive understanding of the impact of the reimagination of the delivery of welfare schemes on well-being and equity.

Earlier Research Programmes

2016-18:  Re-Imagining Public Infrastructure: A Framework for Policy Action

2015-17: Policy Compliance: Developing Partnership, Creating Stakes and Enforcing Regulations


The Urbanisation Group is researching on the theme ‘Rental Housing in India’.

Rental housing has emerged as recent policy alternative. In light of this the Draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy had been proposed in 2015 by the Indian state but has been identified with many shortcomings. The research program of the Urbanisation concentration examines both state interventions and market solutions toward increasing access to rental housing. It explores this from the perspective of varied participants in the rental economy- socially marginalised communities, working class migrants, the homeless, state and municipal governments and urban planners to understand how urban governance must engage with new alternatives to housing at a time of rising mobility for urban citizen

Earlier Research Programmes

2015-17:  Segregation in Indian Cities: What Does Bigdata Reveal About Caste, Residence and Access to Amenities

 The social conflict and public policy group is researching on the theme ‘Specificities of Impairment Lifeworlds and Pan-Disability Policies in India: Exploring the Disconnect’.

 Pan-disability understandings - to speak of disability intelligibly as an umbrella category - in the Indian context are at the intersection between newly arrived legal-juridical categorizations sourced from legal innovations and the movement framework (sourced from social movements). Both these frames are deployed in making sense of the experience of thalassemia to leprosy cured to the locomotor disabled. There is a question here the group would like to examine: how coherent is the pan-disability category on the ground? The PAC would like to examine the limits of this pan-disability identification with reference to policy, intervention, and lived experience.

 Earlier Research Programmes

2016-18: Transgender Trouble: Global Discourses, Local Lifeworlds

2015-17:  Haunted by their Persecuted Pasts: The Stateless Rohingyas and the Challenges of Relocation in Urban India