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‘Nudge’ gets new push as NITI Aayog seeks behavioural economists to reform policy making

The ‘nudge unit’ will work with states governments to understand behavioural changes so as to make policies and programmes more effective.

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New Delhi: NITI Aayog, the government’s think tank, is looking to hire behavioural economists for its ‘nudge unit’ to understand behavioural changes to make more effective policies and programmes, especially in the health and education sectors.

The ‘nudge unit’ will work closely with the state governments and their departments, and recommend policy corrections. The idea behind a ‘nudge unit’ is to change people’s mindset by steering them towards ‘desirable behaviour’, while preserving their liberty to choose.

NITI Aayog has sought applications from both private and government sectors to hire those interested for the job.

This is, however, not the first time that NITI Aayog is talking about setting up a ‘nudge unit’. In 2016, it had tied up with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to set up the unit to understand how behavioural changes impact government policies. The unit, however, never materialised.

In line with recommendations of Economic Survey

This year’s Economic Survey authored by Chief Economic Advisor K.V. Subramanian devoted an entire chapter to behavioural economics and also sought the setting up of the ‘nudge unit’ in NITI Aayog.

The survey had talked about how behavioural economics had been one of the reasons behind the success of some of the Narendra Modi government’s flagship schemes such as Swachh Bharat and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. It had even set a more ambitious agenda to bring about social change, including moving from Beti Bachao Beti Padhao to ‘BADLAV’ (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi) and from Swachh Bharat to ‘Sundar Bharat’.

Also read: T Sundararaman finds NITI Aayog’s health index faulty, Manish Sabharwal has problems with bankruptcy code

What the job entails

NITI Aayog is looking to hire specialists and senior specialists with a fixed monthly salary of Rs 1.45 lakh and Rs 2.2 lakh, respectively.

The hiring will be for different sectors — agriculture, behavioural economics, climate change, data analytics and data management, health technology, higher education, infrastructure, MSME, national nutrition mission, rural development, and trade and commerce.

The duration of the contract could vary between three and five years depending on the requirements, stated a NITI Aayog circular.

Behavioural economists will be particularly required to assimilate best practices of similar behavioural insights units around the world. They will also need to identify the current policy-making landscape, and potential opportunities and challenges to make behavioural interventions work, according to the circular.

They will also be required to employ appropriate methodologies and conduct experiments.

“This includes collecting/analysing data; conducting behavioural diagnostics, designing rigorous evaluations such as Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) etc. Manage multiple stakeholders such as state governments, knowledge partners, implementation partners etc. to understand the situations where behavioural interventions are required and work with them collaboratively,” the circular stated.

Also read: Modi govt to expand lateral entry scheme for civil servants with 50 NITI Aayog recruits

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  1. Salary indicated between 1.45 lakhs to 2.2 lakhs is too small and measly. It is equal to the compensation being paid to fresh engineers from prestigious institutions by some of the IT companies. If you pay peanut, you will get only monkeys.
    a k pattabiraman chennai

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