A team from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, led by Secretary Mr Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, visited the Policy Research Institute for interaction.

July 3, 2024

July 03, 2024

Policy Research Institute

Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) Mr Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, Joint Secretary Mr Khomraj Koirala and Under-secretary Mr Umesh Rimal visited the Policy Research Institute (PRI) and interacted with the office bearers and researchers of Institute on the dimensions of the relationship of the OPMCM and the Policy Research Institute, strengthening of the Institute, and the operation of the Policy Lab as recently decided by the Ministerial Development Action Committee.

At the beginning of the program, the Executive Chairperson of the Institute, Prof Dr Lekhnath Sharma, and the Senior Research Fellow, Dr Deepak Kumar Khadka, gave presentations. Prof Sharma gave a review presentation on the concepts, models, and practices of policy laboratories worldwide. Dr Khadka made an introductory presentation on the structure of the Institute, its research achievements, quality awareness, its relationship with the government, the government’s investment in policy research, and the possibility of expanding the role of the Institute. After the presentations, Joint Secretary of the OPMCM Mr Khomraj Koirala, researchers of the PRI, Under-secretary of the OPMCM Mr Umesh Rimal, Joint Secretary Mr Khomraj Koirala, Secretary Mr Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, and researchers of the PRI shared their views.

Mr Koirala began his remarks by recalling that he was involved in the discussions at the stage of forming the Policy Research Institute. He explained that since the OPMCM plays a role in policy formulation when it gives the in-principle consent initially and approves the draft finally, the concept of a Policy Lab was introduced to support other phases of policy formulation. For this was sought the role and support of the Policy Research Institute. He said he wanted to hear about the experience of the Institute’s researchers and their expectations with the OPMCM.

The researchers and officers of the Institute, Dr Hari Sharma Neupane, Dr Mukti Rijal, Dr Khagnath Adhikari, Dr Kalpana Khanal, Dr Deepak Kumar Khadka, Dr Jham Kumar Bishwakarma, Mr Laxman Prasad Bhattarai, and Mr Gopal Acharya responded to the request. They spoke on the Institute’s pending Act, the idea of Policy Lab, the framework for the adoption and implementation of policy recommendations, the transformation of policy into Act, the framework for the determination of research agenda, point of feedback, possibility of giving feedback to the drafting of the Bills, methods and standards of policy review, knowledge management of government studies, rules and measures for recruiting and retaining high-quality human resources, adequate budget or an endowment fund for the research program, assistance of the OPMCM in collection of research data, mutual participation in activities and strategic partnerships.

Then, the OPMCM team shared their views. The under-secretary Mr Rimal covered topics such as phases of policy decisions, the essential impact of policy, policy news and commentary confined to media reporting, the correction of misinformation, investigation on the state expenditure on policy research under the heading of Service and Consultancy Expenditure, and Policy Lab. Then the Joint Secretary Mr Koirala spoke about the extensive opportunities for dissemination of research-derived knowledge, cooperation for policy lab, the purpose of the creation of the PRI for generating external impact-free knowledge, the specific autonomy granted to the PRI by the government, the cooperation among the Division of the Policy Analysis at the OPMCM, Policy Lab and PRI, mitigating the research duplication that occurs due to ignorance, the segregation of Parliament, etc.

Finally, the Secretary Mr Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, spoke on the capacity development and effective role of the Policy Research Institute and on the Policy Lab. Some of the ideas he put forward are as follows:

  • Our country has a tradition of respecting knowledge and many research institutions have been created in the past. The PRI is an institution created with the aim of making a big impact on the governance in the country. It’s time for everyone to help the Institute grow.
  • The purpose of research-informed policy and governance is to avoid wasting our scarce resources and to maximize achievement.
  • Clarity is required on the PRI’s mandatory contribution within the policy cycle and its independent policy recommendations.
  • Alternative formats for writing public policy may exist. The framework recommended by the PRI can be further discussed.
  • As the Cabinet’s proposal is not taken without the opinion of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Law, a procedure for making sure that the opinion and recommendation of the Policy Research Institute are required for a policy draft to mature can be discussed. Reliable and exemplary work by the PRI will help.
  • Even without the PRI Act, work can be done on the basis of a review of the structures that have been developed and the experience gained so far.
  • The PRI must have different standard operating procedures (SOPs) for different types of research needed to meet the government’s different knowledge requirements.
  • Policy workshops or other names may also be given according to our purpose and framework for the policy Lab.
  • Relevant phases of the policy cycle can be brought to the policy laboratory, which will prepare a report by working on various frameworks and indicators developed to suit the phase of the cycle.
  • Involvement in the early stages of the policy cycle may create a suggestive report, while a binding report can be prepared if involved in the final stages.
  • All documents that fall within the broad definition of public policy will be brought to the Policy Lab. A ministry drafts a policy with a sectoral lens. That is why it is to be evaluated through a multi-sectoral lens and with the participation of all stakeholders at the Policy Lab. This will reduce the various risks and increase the implementability of the policy.
  • Thematic clusters of the Policy Research Institute will be useful for the Policy Lab.

In the end, the Executive Chairperson of the PRI concluded the program with his remarks on the capacity of the PRI, conditions for efficient delivery, mitigation of the problem of research duplication, and progress in preparing procedures for the Policy Lab. He said that financial resources may constrain the PRI. However, there will be no lack of human resources and capacity to work. The requisite is to fulfill the three ‘Ts’ (Trust, Transaction, and Time) required of policy research. In addition, ‘Cs’ (Collaboration, Complementarity, Communication, and Confirmability) will be equally important. Regarding the issue of the duplication of research, he said that a publicly available digital archive of research reports will help avoid such a situation. Finally, he said he is working on the procedure for the Policy Lab. The issue of model selection remains to be determined. However, the goal of the Policy Lab is to deliver the expected results in line with the stage of the policy cycle it is set for.

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