The Government of Punjab, represented by its Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, South Asia (J-PAL SA) at Punjab Bhawan, represented by its Executive Director Ms. Shobhini Mukerji. The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal. The collaboration aims to institutionalize an evidence-based approach to policymaking in order to maximize the impact of the state’s anti-poverty programmes.The Finance Minister while thanking Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, co-founder and Director, J-PAL and professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT- USA) and his team emphasized the emotional ties of Punjab and Bengal for these two states had suffered much during the partition and had to struggle a lot to put their economies back on track. He strongly hoped that the evaluation and research to be carried out by J-PAL would prove to be a game changer in bringing to the forefront new concepts and methodologies in policy planning and implementation with regard to various sectors connected with public welfare resulting in better infrastructural facilities.
On the occasion, the Chief Secretary, Punjab Mr. Karan Avtar Singh expressed hope that this MoU would pave the way for cooperative institutional relation to encourage cooperation in the sphere of public policy.It is pertinent to mention that J-PAL is a leading international research network known for its rigorous impact evaluations of development programmes, and has over 145 affiliated professors from top universities including MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, London School of Economics and FLAME Pune. J-PAL SA will assist the Punjab Government in the formulation and evaluation of various schemes of the state in key sectors like health, school education, social welfare, labour and employment, local government, water supply and sanitation, planning, finance and rural development.Prominent amongst other who were present on the occasion included K.R. Lakhanpal, Chairman Punjab Governance Reforms and Ethics Commision, Tejbir Singh, Principal Secretary to CM, Vishwajeet Khanna, ACS Planning, Vinni Mahajan, ACS Housing and Urban Development, Dr. G Vajralingam, ACS School Education, Roshan Sunkaria, Financial Commissioner Development, S.K. Sandhu, ACS Social Security, K.A.P. Sinha, Principal Secretary Food Supply and A.K. Sinha, Secretary Water Supply and Sanitation.