School of Public Policy and Governance


The research agenda of the School is organised around the three Policy Area Concentrations offered by SPPG.

a) Regulation and Institutions,

b) Urbanisation

c)Social Conflict and Public Policy


The Policy Area Concentration on Regulation and Institutions works against the backdrop of a multi- dimensional shift in policy making under the new avatar of the state, commonly called the “Regulatory State”. The group endeavours to re-imagine regulation and institutional reforms in diverse sectors not from the standpoint of utilitarian efficiency but from the vantage point of justice, rights and equity.

The Policy Area Concentration on Urbanisation engages with what is marked as development goal for countries- of expanding the urban process. However the spatial dynamics of urbanisation, the influence of global or indigenous capital, the nature of jobs and the standard of living it creates, as well as the inequality within it can reveal whether it will lead to the ‘Triumph of the City’ or a ‘Planet of Slums. Public policies play a central role in determining the shape and nature of urbanisation

The Policy Area Concentration on Social Conflict and Public Policy is concerned with important forms of social conflict and discrimination visible in India today. Policy intervention by the post-colonial Indian state has purportedly a value slope in favour of the marginalized, although admittedly, the architecture of these resolutions proposed by government has not always mitigated these discriminations - in fact on occasion exacerbating that which they sought to contain. Less generous descriptions have often explained these failures as a sign of collusion between state power and the dominant social order, This PAC examines how public policy intervention has sought to blunt social discrimination through a variety of policies, court judgments, and legislations. Within the literature on public policy, this space between social conflict and its policy architecture requires urgent exploration.

Ongoing Research Programmes (2017-19)

Under the Policy Area Concentration – “Regulation and Institutions”, this group is conducting research on the theme “Governance of Online Food Delivery Platforms and Cab Aggregators

Recent decade has seen the rise of Platform based economic services aided by the rapid evolution of new digital technologies. Platform Economy in India has, thus, witnessed the emergence of new players, such as Uber, Ola, Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats etc.

While these platforms have opened new opportunities in the labor market and expanded the consumer base for restaurants and cab services, the delivery and driver partners associated with them are facing challenges in terms of employment status and their relationship with the platforms. Other than this, there exist concerns over the sustainability of small restaurants and traditional cab-drivers as well as of a fair competitive market for them. The regulatory and institutional response, to the above concerns, has generally been seen on a case-to-case basis which has implications for the long-term growth of the sector.

In this backdrop our research program aims to understand the following:

1.     Working conditions of the platform workers including:

a.     Migration dynamics in the context of platform economy.

b.     Aspirations in the ‘new’ economy

c.     Vulnerabality Mapping of the platform workers.

2.     Entrepreneurial opportunities and sustenance of new business

3.     State and regulation of Gig Economy   

4.     New forms of Labour Union

5.     Client experiences including gender and age variables

Based on detailed field work and interaction with diverse stakeholders and regulators, the research programme aims to develop a model of governance that cater to the needs of three important stakeholders – the platform, the labor and the community (consumers, small restaurants and traditional cab drivers). This model will focus on not just providing enough protection to the labor and community but also on creating a facilitative environment that ensures sustainability and growth of these platforms, balancing innovation with inclusive development.

The exploratory studies conducted to map the research field can be accessed through the following link.

Understanding Food Delivery Platform: Delivery Persons’ Perspective

Regulation of Ride Sharing Applications- Ola, Uber

The research team and their respective sub-themes are:

Online Food Delivery Platform Research Group

Adya Behera: “Impact of Food Delivery Platforms on Small Restaurants in India”

Bharat Sharma: Vulnerability Mapping of Delivery Partners

Harshula: Migrant Workers in the Online Food Delivery Economy.

Nishtha Relan: Studying Aspirations of Delivery Partners

Swayamsiddha Sahoo: Dataism, Gender and Age in Platform Economy

Vedant Kaul: Regulation of Labour     


Ola-Uber Research Group

Nafisa Khatoon: Aspirations of the Driver Partners

Naveen Kumar: Understanding User Experience Among Customers of Ride Hailing Applications   

Prashant Singh: Nature of Contract and ‘Independence’ of Driver Partners

Shrishti Kumari: Studying Impact of Incentives in Ride Sharing Applications 

Sri Harsha Lakkimsetti: Migrant Workers in the Ride Sharing Economy

Faculty CoordinatorAseem Prakash

Earlier Research Programmes

2017- 19: Welfare Programmes and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)

2016-18:  Re-Imagining Public Infrastructure: A Framework for Policy Action

2015-17: Policy Compliance: Developing Partnership, Creating Stakes and Enforcing Regulations


The Urbanization Group is researching on the theme ‘Walled Cities in India’

The aim of the project is to increase knowledge and explore the multi-dimensional attributes pertaining to the historic city spaces in various parts of the country. The project covers walled regions of three cities: Delhi (Shahjahanabad), Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. The research program concentrates on the role of three types of actors: the state & political processes, community, markets and the interaction between them. 

Accordingly, the objectives of the research program are:

To map and analyse the various demographic features and livelihood patterns of people in the walled city.

To assess social amenities of the walled city such as health clinics, public transport, waste management facilities, etc, and recommend policy solutions grounded in empirical evidence.

Evolve an institutional framework to address the specific structural constraints experienced by the walled cities.

The exploratory studies conducted to map the research field can be accessed through the following link:

Determinants of Social Exclusion: The Case of Walled City of Shahjahanabad

Additional details including the names and specialization of the research team could be accessed from the Walled Cities website.


The team and their respective research theme are as follows:

Aarti Baghotiya: Solid Waste Management in Shahjahanabad

Madhur Sharma: Traditional Health Systems in the Walled City Region

Mohit Jane: Sustainability of Public Transport and its relevance in Urban Spaces.

Naveen Babu Isarapu: Strengthening Participative Democracy in (re)designing urban spaces in the walled city.

Nikhil Minz: Urban Planning: Political economy and socioeconomic Aspect in the Context of Shahjahanabad

Rishitha Pinipe: Urban Waste Management in the Walled city of Hyderabad

Vikas Mannan: The Role of Markets (marketplace) in the Lives of the Residents of Shahjahanabad

Faculty CoordinatorGayatri Nair

Earlier Research Programmes

2017-19: Rental Housing in India

2015-17:  Segregation in Indian Cities: What Does Bigdata Reveal About Caste, Residence and Access to Amenities

The Social Conflict and Public Policy group is researching on the theme ‘Statelessness and Citizenship in India: A History of Exclusion, A Present of Uncertainty, and A Future of Resilience.’

In International Law, a Stateless person is one who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its laws. Simply put, a stateless person does not have a nationality of any country. However, this legal definition can be authoritatively interpreted, leading to the creating of stateless persons who would otherwise be legally eligible for a particular nationality. Today, the UNHCR estimates that around 10 million people remain stateless.

On the other hand, a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

What differentiates a refugee from a stateless person is that the refugees are still recognized as citizens by the Country of Origin. Often the lines are blurred between refugees and stateless person, as witnessed in the case of Rohingyas in India.

Two-thirds of all refugees worldwide come from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia. India hosts refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia among these five nations.

The Social Conflict and Public Policy research programme looks at Statelessness through two important lenses:

1)    Researching Statelessness:
A broader aim allows the students to explore the multi-faceted dimensions and implications of statelessness— from historicity of events leading to statelessness, the legal nuances of the issue, eventual efforts of local integration, and repatriation, to different lived experiences of vulnerable children, women and elderly requires in-depth research.

2)  Statelessness and Public Policy:

While Statelessness lies in the international arena, it can trace its roots to municipal laws and public policies of the origin countries, while impacting the policies of nations hosting such populations. The access to formal institutions such as the State, military and the society, alongside the informal institutions that creates social conflict between different social groups are addressed by the nature of dominant public policies and discourses.

The broader objective is to study the different refugee communities in India, especially in the absence of a comprehensive Refugee Policy.

The team and their respective research theme are as follows:

Abhilash S C: Emerging Trend of Statelessness Over Citizenship, through the National Register of Citizens

Anjitha S Madanan: Childhood and Statelessness: Impact of Resettlement on Children’s Overall Growth (Education, Mental Health and Nutrition), with A Focus on Rohingya Children.

Anubhav B: On Civil Society Engagement with the range and Quality of Support Services for the Refugees under the Aegis of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support [MHPSS] Programme of UNHCR In Delhi

Sreetama B: Intersection between Gender and Statelessness, and Impact of Citizenship Laws in the context of the National Register of Citizens.

Th Joshibanta S: On the Stereotype of Crime amongst Stateless People in India

Faculty Coordinator: Ipsita Sapra

Earlier Research Programmes:

2017-19: Specificities of Impairment Life-worlds and Pan-Disability Policies in India: Exploring the Disconnect’

2016-18:  Transgender Trouble: Global Discourses, Local Life-worlds

2015-17:  Haunted by their Persecuted Pasts: The Stateless Rohingyas and the Challenges of Relocation in Urban India