Virtual Internship Experience at Politics For Impact: Interesting Parliamentary Work

Name Of The Organization 

The organisation is called Politics for Impact. It is an organisation based out of Andhra Pradesh that aims to shape young policy and political leaders through mentorship and hands on experience in the public policy space. I interned here as a Legislative Intern to a Shri Jayadev Galla and Shri Rammohan Naidu

The organisation can be contacted on politicsforimpact@gmail.com

Mode Of Internship

Virtual / Online Mode

Duration Of Internship 

The internship was originally for a period of 2 months (June-August). However, it was extended till the end of the parliamentary session so that interns could have a deeper understanding of the working of the parliament. 

Process Of Application 

Applicants between the age group 18 to 25 from any discipline or year of study are free to apply as long as they can devote 15 to 20 hours a week and are available for a period of 8-12 weeks. 

I discovered this internship through a bulletin on the Lawoctopus website. The selection procedure consists of two parts. In the first part we were required to fill in an application form, which comprised of a Statement Of Purpose of roughly 200 words. We also had to critically analyse a recently passed bill.  I had to assess the farm bills and how the government handled the Pandemic. We had to write an essay on the same.

The application process is similar to that of the Legislative Assistant to Member of Parliament (LAMP) fellowship. Within a few days, I received a mail stating that I was shortlisted for a group discussion and a personal interview. We were then allotted in groups of five. The group discussion was quite daunting considering I realised that I was the youngest one there.

However, Group Discussion was an extremely exciting set up.  We were asked to describe three immediate concerns we would raise in the parliament if we were a member of parliament. Following this we were asked some questions regarding our responses and those of our peers. The interview roughly took around 15-20 minutes.

The group discussion round is not hard if you stay abreast with current affairs and are confident while speaking. It is essential that you showcase your opinion and aren’t afraid to speak. Around 5-6 days later I received a mail stating that I was selected for the internship. Out of 1450 applicants, 90 were shortlisted for the interview round and 15 received the internship. 

First Day Formalities & Impression 

Considering that the internship was virtual we did have our interactions on call. On the first day we were introduced to our mentors, all of whom were LAMP fellows and extremely welcoming. We were then asked to introduce ourselves as well as our backgrounds.

It was truly refreshing to see a diverse group of students across different years of law school, political science and even graduates. We were then explained the brief structure of our internship. We were told that we would have a one week training period under different mentors where we would learn the basics of the working of the parliament, Question Hours, Zero Hours as well Private Member Bills.

These were spread out over an hour and a half workshops over the week. We were also taught how to effectively research and use government websites. This training period was extremely beneficial. It also allowed us to get to know and interact with our fellow interns and our mentors. We also had hands on tasks to supplement these sessions. I particularly enjoyed how structured the internship was. Our mentors were available at any time to clarify any doubts we had. 

Main Tasks 

The main tasks allotted to the interns are primarily to assist the MP’s with parliamentary interventions. For this we were allotted into groups of 5 based on our areas of interest and our expectations from the internship.

To further the same, we were divided into different verticals namely Parliamentary Interventions, A report on functioning of parliaments in India and around the world and Schemes. Additionally, all groups worked on a Private Members Bill. Every vertical had one LAMP fellow guiding us through the assignment.

Our work primarily involved legislative research, data analysis, submitting parliamentary questions, framing speeches for parliamentary interventions, drafting private member bills, drafting legislative briefs, constituency related work and preparing editorials and news snippets for publication. Some of our questions even got balloted and were asked by the MP in the parliament!

It was truly empowering to see that your work was actually making an impact at such a massive level.

Work Environment 

Having done roughly 5 internships in the past, this had the most conducive work environment. The mentors were extremely understanding and the work load didn’t eat up into our personal time. We also had ample time to complete our assignments which mostly involved research. 

Additionally, we got to meet the MP’s who were kind enough to allot 2 hours to answer our questions and give us insights into the working of the Parliament. Both the MP’s were extremely humble and came from incredible educational backgrounds. Listening to their journey’s and their learnings were truly inspiring and they patiently answered all questions we had.

We had to put in around 20 hours of work a week, and had a call when the assignment was allotted to us, after every assignment to review our progress and one if we ever needed any clarifications.

We received personalised feedback on all our assignments, which was truly commendable. The best part about the work environment was the fact that there was a structure to the internship but at the same time we had the freedom to offer suggestions in order to best customise the internship to our needs and interests. I derived a greater understanding of topics I was deeply passionate about, including Women rights and Education. 

Good Things 

I would certainly recommend this internship to anyone who is interested in getting into politics or the policy space. The internship also helps one understand the confluence of politics and policy.

The best part about the internship were the mentors, having personally worked under Member of Parliaments in the past, they were extremely considerate and had a lot to offer. It is also an incredible place to network and make connections with students across diverse backgrounds and disciplines.

The organisation was extremely transparent with us at every step of the process. I personally also highly appreciated the feedback, it was incredibly detailed and also contained suggestions on how to improve our work. If you are interested in learning a lot, you can take away immensely from this internship. 

Bad Things 

There was nothing bad about the internship per say. As part of being an intern we were initially supposed to receive a fully funded trip to the parliament in Delhi. However, unfortunately due to the pandemic and its restrictions we weren’t able to make it. The organisation, did however, arrange a meet-up for interns in the Delhi NCR region with the MP’s.

The online aspect of the internship makes you realise how much you missed out on. I truly believe a virtual set up decreases how impactful this internship could have been in person.

Stipend

None. We do receive Letters of Recommendation along with guidance from MP’s for future course of action.

Tips

If you are someone interested in pursuing this internship, I would strongly recommend keeping up with current affairs and showcasing that you have a lot to learn. Be proactive and timely. 

Other Information

Right from the start of the application process up until the last day, I have constantly learnt something being in this internship. I got an opportunity to research on a myriad of topics and developed a deeper understanding of why parliaments function the way do.

Seeing how a Member of Parliament goes about a simple framing of a question, makes you understand the hours of work involved in the smallest of things. It has not only made me more appreciative of the government but it has deeply impacted my outlook of policy making.

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