A delegation of 12 Indian legislators, representing multiple political parties from across the country, undertook a knowledge-exchange program at the University of Chicago from 15-19th May 2023. The cross-party delegation of 12 legislators, included Dr. CM Ramesh (Bharatiya Janata Party), Gaurav Gogoi (Indian National Congress); Jayadev Galla (Telugu Desam Party); Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayalu (Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party);  Mahua Moitra (Trinamool Congress); Dr. Mahua Maji (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha); Pradyut Bordoloi (Indian National Congress); Rahul Kaswan (Bharatiya Janata Party); Ram Mohan Naidu (Telugu Desam Party); Dr. Shrikant Shinde (Shiv Sena); T Sumathy (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam; and Tusharkanti Behera [Minister of State (Independent Charge), E & IT, Sports & Youth Services at Government of Odisha].

During the program, these lawmakers participated in sessions led by esteemed researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the university of Chicago (EPIC) and professors from different departments at the University of Chicago including the Harris School of Public Policy and the Booth School of Business. The topics covered ranged from energy access, the global pollution crisis, and India’s climate future to, artificial intelligence, bitcoins and blockchains, and vaccine allocation priorities, among others.

Commenting on the program’s objective, Prof. Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago and Director of the Becker Friedman Institute and EPIC, said, “Political leadership is instrumental in implementing ground-breaking public policies that yield long-lasting environmental benefits. The Legislators Program with Indian MPs offers a dual benefit. While the knowledge exchange further bolsters our understanding of what India needs, it at the same allows us to equip Indian lawmakers with research evidence that can help them advance effective policies for addressing India’s energy needs and environmental concerns.”

Among presentations and workshops, the Program also included a student-interaction session and a public event discussion on the topic “How India became the most important country in the climate fight” which delved into India’s recent investments in clean energy and its commitment to meeting 50 percent of its energy requirements through renewables by 2030.

The Legislators Program is a strategic initiative by EPIC that facilitates capacity building and strengthens future collaboration with Indian lawmakers to address the country’s energy and environmental challenges. Through numerous engagements planned under this program, legislators and academicians share challenges and solutions that can augment evidence-led policymaking in India.

The 2023 Legislators Program marked the fourth edition of its kind, following the successful editions of 2017, 2018, and 2022.  So far in the four editions of the Legislators Program, hosted at the University of Chicago, a total of 32 Indian lawmakers have taken part in the curated knowledge exchange events.