Events & Galleries

Events & Galleries

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Visit of US Senator Ellen Roberts and Representative Paul Thissen

On the 9th of October 2015, an interactive session was held at CGG, with the visiting Colorado State Senator, Ms Ellen Roberts and the Minnesota State House of Representative, Mr Paul Thissen

The visit was organised by CGG with the US Consulate in Hyderabad and engaged with young researchers and Civil Society representatives. The interactive session was chaired by Dr P K Mohanty, IAS (Retd) former Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh (combined) and former Director General of CGG.

The topic of interaction was Constituent and Citizen Engagement practices in the United States.

Senator Roberts shared her experiences of engaging with citizens especially the youth in policy making pertaining to gender and natural resource management. She explained her views on how effectively civil society can be engaged in building valuable opinion that can contribute to sharpening the policy and making it more practical and thus acceptable to all. Ms Roberts also engaged with the participants on her experiences of working in countries like Algeria, Mozambique and South Africa, besides of course India. A lawyer by profession, she has used her skills in helping legislate several progressive laws for women and children. Her contributions to the same were recognised and she has won several awards for inclusive policy making.

Mr Paul Thissen shared his experience of undertaking public opinion in getting policies around and achieving the following: (1) Working Parents Act; (2) Women’s Economic Security Act; (3) Raised the Minimum Wage. Mr Paul shared his experience of facilitating Broadband Expansion. The broadband law that was formulated provides $20 million in grants to fund expansion of fiber-optic broadband infrastructure in underserved regions of the state, authorizes local governments to issue bonds for broadband infrastructure development, and removes unnecessary regulatory barriers that hold back broadband development. This ensures connectivity in the remotest locations of his constituency and easy reach of information and effective connectivity.

Dr P K Mohanty, in his address shared similar experiences of generating public opinion towards progressive legislation especially the Right to Information Act and the Social Accountability measures mandated under NREGS and the urban housing schemes.

A question and answer session ensued moderated by the Co-Convenor of NCPRI, Mr Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu wherein questions were raised on the mechanisms of law making, simplification of the process of law making and the necessity for pre-legislative consultation to ensure that governance is not only participatory but is also more acceptable to the public. Ms Ellen Roberts and Mr Paul Thissen parried these with their own experiences of taking in public opinion while formulating policies and the timelines drawn on some laws to ensure that outdated laws do not continue to exist.

The interaction concluded with mementoes presented to the guests by the Chair of the session.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Director, AMRG, CGG, Dr Devi Prasad.