Aiming to better address India’s diverse energy and environment needs, a delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs) from India visited the University of Chicago in October this year. Jointly hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD), and the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI), the visit facilitated capacity-building in the areas of monitoring and evaluating air and water pollution, and other topics in development economics and health sciences.

The delegation of MPs included Harshvardhan Singh Dungarpur from Bharatiya Janata Party; Deepender Singh Hooda and Kumari Shelja from Indian National Congress; Kalikesh N. Singh Deo from Biju Janta Dal; Dr. Narendra Damodar Jadhav, nominated Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha; and Konda Vishweshwar Reddy from Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

Reflecting on the visit, Dr. Narendra Damodar Jadhav said, “On a whole range of issues such as pollution, water management, electricity, power etc., I got to know about the state of art research that is going on in the University of Chicago. Since this has been given to us with a policy orientation, it will shape and influence my thinking on the subject when it comes to its application in the Indian context.”

Talking about the meetings, Konda Vishweshwar Reddy added, “While researchers presented their data, we could introspect and see how it applies to us back home and I think that was the most enriching part of the trip.”

Ken Lee, Executive Director of EPIC India, who accompanied the MPs to the United States said, “This is our second year organizing the Legislators Engagement Program. We see great value in working closely with Indian policymakers. These interactions not only expose us to ground realities and perspectives from different parts of the country but also shape our understanding of policymaking in India.”

The multi-party group of legislators was selected on the basis of their work and interests in the field of energy and environment. “It’s been a very broadening experience for people like us who are focused on a variety of problems in India. It helps us understand more about the use of data in policy decisions and also sometimes corrects our way of thinking about things that we have believed to be a certain way, but it turns out that data suggests otherwise,” said Kalikesh N. Singh Deo.