Internship @ PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi: Data Inference and Analysis, No Stipend

Name. Year. College

Devahuti Pathak. V BA LLB. ILS Law College, Pune.

Name and nature of the organisation.

PRS Legislative Research. It is a research organisation that largely tracks the functioning of legislatures and  supports the research of legislators by releasing data and analysis.

City. Office Address.

Institute for Policy Research Studies, 3rd Floor, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya 212,   Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, New Delhi 110002.Phone: +91 11 43434035-36

How was the office? Team strength.

The office was located at a fairly easy to find area, almost adjacent to the National Commission for Women head office. The PRS office occupied one floor and is tastefully structured. There is no segregation in terms of offices of the team members, everybody sit in open cubicles.

The team comprises of about twenty members, they have an outreach team that works with the legislators and carries out other media/public outreach efforts, and a research team that engages in legislative research.

Duration of internship.

Four weeks. 1st – 29th May, 2014.

Application procedure? Internship contact details.

When I applied, there was no formal procedure of application and I sent a cover letter and my CV to one of the member’s email ID that I found on their website. But now they accept applications formally at [email protected], in the format prescribed that can be found HERE. They are extremely prompt in their response and welcome any questions one may have preceding the commencement of the internship.

Days of work per week. Timings.

The regular work hours are from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday. The timings are expected to be maintained by the interns, and any late coming is casually, though meaningfully reprimanded sometimes.

First impression, first day, formalities.

The first day, I reached a good half an hour before time, and was greeted very brightly by one of the analysts (and also Internship Supervisor), Saumya Vaishnava, and asked to sit in one of the smaller conference rooms where I met the other interns who were also joining that same day. Then we were briefed about what we were expected to do and taken on a tour of the office and introduced to everyone.

At the second half of the first day, we were asked what areas of interest we may have, and were accordingly assigned to an analyst. Thereafter, we spoke to the allotted analyst and drew out a framework on how to go about researching for our individual projects.

Main tasks.

PRS has a set internship programme that depends on whether the Parliament is in session or not.  If it is during the session time, interns have to assist the analysts on different projects. When it is non session time, interns are given individual projects to be undertaken with the guidance of an analyst. I happened to intern during the latter period, however, I also got to work with many of the analysts.

The kind of work I received was an interesting mix of drawing statistical inferences and conducting legislative analyses on laws covering a range of areas. This involved data inferences, assisting in research for a Member of a Legislative Assembly, forming summaries on various laws and drawing country- wise comparison on certain laws.

At the end of the internship period, the interns are expected to submit an internship project report and make a presentation to the PRS team on the same.

These presentations are taken very seriously and attended by all the analysts and interns and intensively grilled. However, this got cancelled for me as the LAMP Fellowship programme was just commencing then, and the entire team was really busy.

This actually worked in my favour because consequently, I got a greater diversity of work as I did not have to focus on one presentation.

There was not one day, and I mean this literally, when I was without any work. Moreover, the work was not of the generic copy-paste-off-the-internet nature, but one that required real thinking and analysing.

Work environment, people.

The work environment has by far been one of my most pleasant ones I have experienced. All the analysts at PRS are extremely approachable and eager to answer any questions that the interns may have.

They make sure that all the interns have work to engage in and that no one is sitting idle. There was a continuous dialogue with whichever analyst I was working with, and they made a real effort to follow up and discuss about the work that we were assigned to.

A huge LCD television was perched at one end of the floor and all Parliamentary proceedings are broadcasted there, whenever they are taking place. This generated a nice air of camaraderie and elicited good natured criticism of our country’s leaders.

The interns, along with the rest of the office were also provided with tea/coffee twice a day in big customised PRS mugs.

The best things and the bad things.

There were a lot of good things that interning at PRS offered me, which I enumerate as follows:

First and foremost, the nature of work. It was engaging and very stimulating. Going against the common idea that a policy/research organisation is not the preferred kind of internship at the end of the fourth year, I would say that doing it at the end leg of college actually gave me a lot more perspective into the kind of work policy research entails. I definitely would not have learnt the same way had I interned here in the earlier years of college, though it is recommendable highly, even then.

PRS not being a purely legal organisation, I got to meet interns from a variety of fields, other than law, and had great conversations from very different points of view.

I also got to participate in the training sessions held for the LAMP fellowship members, since it concurred with my internship period. This included basic classes in economics, parliamentary proceedings etc., an interactive session with Mr. Shashi Tharoor and a guided tour of the Parliament of India.

On the last day of the internship, the interns are asked to fill in a feedback form about the experience. This, I think is a great step by the organisation, and demonstrates their seriousness about the internship programme.

There really was no bad experience here, however, just like any other internship, the effort to work has to come from within. One could stick strictly to just the individual project throughout and have a relatively easy workload; or one can also choose to take on more work, and put in extra effort into finishing them, learning more at the same time.

The one difficult thing was finding conveyance after work. Autorickshaws are very scarce at that time of the day and the nearest metro stations (Mandi House/ Pragati Maidan) were also at a bit of a distance.

Accommodation etc. What did you to do chill in and around the office and the place of stay?

I was staying at the Centenary Hostel for Working Women (CHWW) YWCA of Delhi, at Ashoka Road (phone: 01123744807). It was a safe place with decent food.

However, for shorter durations, like mine, they give only the guest rooms, which, though are more comfortable than the regular rooms, are far too expensive. (The regular rooms are priced at 10,000/- p.m. while the guest rooms are 15,000/- p.m.).

The area around the PRS office did not have any places to really chill, per se, though Connaught Place was close by, and post work I would sometimes just roam there and get a milkshake from Keventer’s.

Primarily, the interns take breaks at these small shops right across the road, for all kinds of juices and cigarettes.

You also get nice maggi and omelette-toast there. A guy selling great momos comes there in the evenings too. Further down the road, there is a place called Lal Dhaba which has some amazing parathas at really cheap prices, this was the interns’ place of choice for lunch.

Stipend/ month

No stipend. Though, at risk of sounding cheesy, the amount I learnt here was really priceless.

Rating

10/10

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