I discovered the Australia-India Institute only very recently. Because of the high quality of the person leading this institute (Amitabh Mattoo), it is doing some seriously good things.
Among its roles it funds bright young professionals from India (or with interests in India) to come to Australia and do a project for two months. I was pleased to discover among these Sanjeev Chopra, my school friend from Jullundur (now Joint Secretary & Mission Director, National Horticulture Mission), who also taught at the National Academy Mussoorie along with me in 1994.
Among the select few AII has identified is also Harsh Shrivastava, a consultant to the Planning Commission (details here) who works with Arun Maira. Given his industry experience (at Confederation of Indian Industry) and high quality management training from IIM Ahmedabad, he brings unique insights for India's planning process.
I was delighted to meet him this week. What is pleasing is that talented people like Harsh are now being beginning to work in the Planning Commission on economic reform.
Harsh has an entirely fresh and open outlook to the economy, and has been rapidly imbibing lessons on good governance from Victoria. He has, in particular, studied the water rights management processes in Victoria in some detail. As a general rule, Victoria works with the world's best economists on economic reform opportunities, so if there is something useful to learn about governance, Victoria is usually a good place to start. (A good example is the world's cutting edge Centre for Market Design, which has attracted top talent from across the world.)
He has also contributed while at Melbourne by presenting his ideas to senior government officials in Victoria about how Victoria and India can benefit through greater engagement.
I attended his talk yesterday, entitled: "Does India really need a Planning Commission?" and was able to clarify a number of key issues for Harsh. I'll post my thoughts on this issue separately.
I've invited Harsh to join FTI and believe he can make valuable contributions to India through a long-term well-though-out political strategy.
If you are interested in connecting with him on Linkedin, please do so. Here's his profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/harshshrivastava
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