LAMP Fellowship Interviews: Interview with Preeta Dhar, NLSIU Graduate, LAMP Fellow 2012-13

Preeta Dhar

Age : 24 (during the time of application)

Education(Graduation) : B.A.,LL.B. (Hons.), National Law School of India University, Bangalore

As a law student, I have been fascinated by the role of law and policy in bringing about macro-level changes. The LAMP Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to explore the policy-making process and understand the practical aspects, deliberations and considerations that go into the formulation of policies. I wish to pursue a career in the development of policies for the sustainable use of natural resources, and I hope that the experience of the LAMP Fellowship will help me in developing policies that will be effective and impactful.

I would also like to highlight very clearly the fact that the experience of the LAMP Fellowship was probably different for every single person, depending on the MP they were assigned to.

The nature of work, interaction with the MP, everything was different for each LAMP Fellow.

I’d like to emphasize that it is only my experience, which cannot be generalized as the experience of the entire Fellowship. 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (school, college, hobbies, achievements).

I graduated from National Law School of India University, Bangalore, in 2011.

Thereafter, I had worked in a law firm (Majmudar & Partners, Mumbai office) for a year, before leaving it for the Fellowship.

I’ve always enjoyed reading, traveling and writing. During Law School, I had taken up different research projects. I had also mooted and presented some papers at national and international conferences.

2. What prompted you to want to take this up?

As a law student, the very idea of being at such close proximity to the process of law-making was itself an extremely exciting thought.

In addition, I’ve always been more fascinated by the macro-level implications of laws and the law making process, as opposed to, say, applying the law to a specific transaction.

The LAMP Fellowship offered to provide not only the opportunity to engage with the law-making body of the country, but also understand the institutions and governance mechanisms, which is what I’ve always been interested to learn about.

I had applied for this Fellowship because I was excited at what it offered.

3. ‘Application’ related tips

A fair amount of introspection, I guess.

You need to be honest to yourself about why you’d like to do this, and write a compelling (and grammatically correct) paragraph on it.

If there is any component which requires research, you should reflect a good effort.

4. ‘Interview’ related tips

General awareness of issues and current affairs, and having a reasoned opinion about issues should help.

5. Tell us about the work you did as a LAMP fellow? Under whom did you work, where was it, what sort of work did you do?

I was appointed as a LAMP Fellow to Hon’ble N.K. Singh, a Rajya Sabha Member from Bihar (JD(U)). I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked with him.

I worked from his office, and interacted with him almost every day. I worked on Bills, Parliamentary questions and other Parliamentary interventions.

In addition, I would research on specific issues, or assist in research for speeches or articles and columns.

He also has a well-functioning office with a very supportive staff, who helped me figure things out.

6. Insights/Lessons you gained during the 11 months?

Mr Singh is extremely well educated, open-minded and approachable, and a pleasure to work with. He is also a very diligent and active Parliamentarian, which meant that I was always on my toes.

He is also an economist by training – and the year of the LAMP Fellowship was extremely educational for me, as I found myself reading and learning new things every day. I can honestly say that there was not a single boring day at work.

In the 11 months, I have learnt to work on extremely diverse issues, irrespective of my previous familiarity with those issues.

I also had to work on extremely tight deadlines – this meant being able to navigate through difficult and lengthy documents and identifying the key issues.

The year has also been extremely helpful in understanding different institutions, and knowing where to look for what information.

It also made me develop the habit of reading newspapers compulsively.

7. Pros and Cons of doing the LAMP fellowship?

I had an extremely positive experience of the Fellowship. It was a pleasure working for a Member of Parliament who is extremely approachable and friendly, and more of a mentor and a guide.

Besides this, PRS also facilitated different sessions and workshops – which provided the experience of interacting with people from different areas and backgrounds.

They also facilitated a constituency visit, which provided a very interesting perspective.

The only con I can think of is the financial difficulty – but the experience was definitely worth it.

8. Future plans

I’ve always wanted to save the environment, so that is what I am doing now.

I am working with a group of environmental lawyers on some research projects, along with advocacy and litigation.

We thank Jhalak Kakkar of PRS for helping us out with this interview.
Get to know about the LAMP Fellowship HERE.

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