The Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne launched the Emerging Leaders Fellowship last year with the intent to provide Indian professionals from across sectors an opportunity to engage with Australia by conducting research on issues significant for both countries. 11 such professionals were selected last year from diverse professional backgrounds including journalism, the government, corporate sector and non-profits.
In Delhi, India, I work with PRS Legislative Research, an independent non-partisan research initiative that aims to strengthen India’s legislative debate by making it better informed, more transparent and participatory. The aim of undertaking the Fellowship was to gain a better understanding of institutional mechanisms and processes that aid the effective functioning of the national and state legislatures in Australia. This Fellowship came at a time when I had spent significant time observing the functioning of the Indian Parliament from close quarters. The Fellowship was an opportunity to reflect on my work and get deeper insights on how Parliaments in different countries have evolved.
For me the highlight of the Fellowship has been the opportunity to get a close look at the institutional mechanisms and processes that support the Federal Parliament of Australia as well as the State Parliament of Victoria. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to visit Canberra on more than one occasion and meet with several officials in the Australian Parliament to get deep insights and understanding about the institution. Highly placed officials in the Federal Parliament in Canberra as well as the State Parliament of Victoria have been extremely gracious with their time and insights on issues that I have been studying with regard to public engagement with legislatures and how legislatures have transformed their capacity to be more effective.
In addition, I have had the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with faculty at the Australian National University and University of Melbourne who are making great strides in research into the strengthening of Parliaments in Australia and other countries. Melbourne has also provided an opportunity to engage with individuals in government and in think tanks who think critically about policy and legislation and how research can inform decisions around important policy issues. These inputs have helped me reflect and ideate on factors that contribute to strengthening legislatures and legislators.
I greatly recommend the Emerging Leaders Fellowship because it has allowed professionals like myself to step into a different environment of culture and practice and think more critically about my work – how I engage with the challenges and opportunities that come with strengthening the legislative system and processes in India. The Fellowship has also allowed me to meet with several highly capable and accomplished leaders from diverse sectors and I hope to remain in touch with them in the future.
Opinions expressed in the ‘Blog’ Section of the Australia India Institute’s website offer the opinions of the blogger and not the Australia India Institute.