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Odisha reaches out to Abhijit Banerjee outfit to fight poverty

The partnership targets to maximise the impact of anti-poverty programmes across a wide range of sectors

By Subhashish Mohanty in Bhubaneshwar

  • Published 1.11.19, 2:21 AM
  • Updated 1.11.19, 2:21 AM
Abhijit Banerjee with Esther Duflo after a news conference at MIT in Cambridge on October 14, 2019. Under the partnership, J-PAL South Asia will offer the Odisha government technical assistance for scaling up evidence-backed programmes to improve development outcomes.
Abhijit Banerjee with Esther Duflo after a news conference at MIT in Cambridge on October 14, 2019. Under the partnership, J-PAL South Asia will offer the Odisha government technical assistance for scaling up evidence-backed programmes to improve development outcomes. (AP)

The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha has enlisted the help of an organisation founded by Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo to formulate policy to minimise poverty in the state by maximising alleviation programmes in social sectors.

The state government on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) to devise a strategic evidence-based approach to policy-making. The partnership targets to maximise the impact of anti-poverty programmes across a wide range of sectors.

Under the partnership, J-PAL South Asia will provide the Odisha government with technical assistance for scaling up evidence-backed programmes to improve development outcomes.

Topics for the policy dialogues include malnutrition, women’s empowerment, distress migration, health worker performance and improving agricultural productivity.

Commensurate with the 5T programme of the state government, the partnership aims at bringing transformation in the lives of people through research-based intervention in policy formulation. The partnership has all the components of 5T with on-field applications.

The partnership also establishes an overarching collaboration between J-PAL South Asia and the Odisha government under which J-PAL will work with several departments including but not limited to labour, education, health and women and child development to conduct policy-relevant randomised evaluations of new anti-poverty and development programmes.

Additionally, a diagnostic exercise and subsequent workshops will be conducted to build the state’s capacity in the areas of monitoring and evaluation.

The agreement was signed by development commissioner Suresh Mahapatra and executive director of J-PAL South Asia, Shobhini Mukerji, at a function in the presence of the chief minister.

“This partnership will result in actualising Team Odisha’s effort to transform Odisha by addressing its growing aspirations,” Naveen said.

J-PAL South Asia and the Odisha government will conduct an annual policy dialogue to identify the government’s policy priorities, conduct discussions to share evidence and jointly come up with innovative solutions that can be field-tested through rigorous randomised evaluations.

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