In a country riddled with ambitions, there lies a commune of aspirants that dreams of shaping the future of this country, and one of the program which gives the youth that opportunity is the Chief Minister Good Governance Associate (CMGGA) by the Govt. of Haryana and Ashoka University.
CMGGA Programme is a collaboration between the Government of Haryana and Ashoka University. It provides a platform for young enthusiasts who want to make impact masses at large scale while working closely with the public administration.
But what does it take to get into the CMGGA Programme that tests your patience, knowledge and challenges you to go above and beyond? We spoke to Ms.Devyanshi Dubey, CMGGA Fellow 19-20, and the answers put into words her journey and her tips for the future aspirants.
Tell us something about yourself and Why this Job?
- Devyanshi: I completed my graduation in Political Science Hons. from Miranda House. Post that I did my MBA from AUD. I always wanted to work with the public sector and briefly prepared for UPSC as well. I came to know about CMGGA, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to understand how bureaucracy works. Therefore, I decided to apply for this job.
How did you get to know about this Job Opportunity?
- Devyanshi: One of my professors from Miranda joined Ashoka University and she told me about the opportunity.
Current Posting and How was your experience to date?
- Devyanshi: I was posted in Sonipat from July 2019 to June 2020. This is a one-year fellowship. It’s very difficult to summarize my experience in a few words but I would say that it definitely served my purpose of joining the fellowship. I got to work on grassroots and also at the same time work with the best minds in the country. The best part about this fellowship was that it gives you a platform where you can work at impact, at a very young age. I worked on education (school, college), citizen service delivery, solid waste management, property tax, organ donation, women safety to name a few. I got to work with almost every department and official in the district. Along with this, I got a chance in assisting the district administration on work being done to fight the covid-19 pandemic, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To be able to work on the ground and see impact and change because of the actions you take is a very fulfilling experience.
Tell us something about your daily work life?
- Devyanshi:No two days are the same. There were days when I was visiting schools or Mahila Thanas, whereas some days I was in the Secretariat working closely with the Deputy Commissioner on a project. A lot of planning and time management is required for a job like this because you are working on close to 7-8 projects at a time.
Major Roles and Responsibilities
- Devyanshi: The roles and responsibilities are clearly stated mostly as per the projects given. Mostly these are implementation of flagship schemes, conducting reviews, devising plan and strategy to improve performance and achieve targets. Having said that, being a CMGGA comes with its own responsibilities. CMGGAs are the young minds in the administration. They are supposed to think out of the box. So a lot of times, officials will be approaching you to problem solve.
How is the Work Environment?
- Devyanshi:You work at the Mini Secretariat. Your colleagues are IAS and HCS officers. Apart from that, there are fellow CMGGAs with whom you’ll be interacting on a daily basis (on calls/texts), the program team (at the state), and also meet them once in two months during forums.To be frank, the work gets hectic, especially during the start of the fellowship, as you are in a completely new environment, understanding how various government departments and offices work. But, it gets better with time. Also, as I mentioned earlier, time management and priority setting are extremely important.
What are the major Pros and Cons of this Job?
- Pros: You will get an opportunity to work with the bureaucracy, Working on various important areas and concerns for the upliftment of society, and able to See the impact on the ground, and the most important is the job satisfaction is high (for me it was).
- Cons:Time management can be a challenge, and stress.
Tell us something about the Salary and Allowances offered to CMGGA Fellows
- Devyanshi:The salary is 50,000 per month. Along with that, your stay is provided by the administration and Ashoka (during forums). In the district, you are given a car and driver. Apart from food and laundry, everything else is taken care of by either the district administration or Ashoka University.
Tips for Filing the Application
- Devyanshi:Be honest in the HR questions. They mostly try to understand one’s motivation for joining the fellowship, and that is something the applicant should be very clear about. Apart from that, one has to answer a case study. For this, I would recommend applicants to research the topic well. It is not expected that one should know everything or be able to give solutions. The focus should be more on how to ensure end-to-end implementation to achieve maximum impact. Also, if at all one is giving suggestions, ensure they are practical and implementable. A tip that I also want to share is that before filling the application read about the programme, the roles and the qualities that are expected in a CMGGA. This will help you in making your responses aligned to that of the recruiter.
What kind of questions are asked in the Interview? Any tips for the Interview?
- Devyanshi:So if your application gets shortlisted, there will be a group discussion round. This is an elimination round. Post which there are two interview rounds (this was the structure when I applied, could have changed now). There is one interview with the CMGGA team, where they ask you HR questions (motivation, the reason for joining the fellowship, how does this align with your short term and long term goals), and case studies and guesstimates. It’s important to note that they don’t expect you to know the right answers but are trying to evaluate your thought process in these two exercises. The second interview is with an IAS or HCS officer (generally the Deputy Commissioners or senior level officers in the district). They generally ask you very practical questions- for eg: with the schools being shut how do we ensure the learning doesn’t stop / With lockdown, we have seen a rise in cases of domestic violence. How can the district address this issue?
How tough is the selection process?
- Devyanshi: It’s fairly competitive considering the team receives a lot of applications and can offer the position to only 24-25 people.
- Devyanshi:People prepare for UPSC after CMGGA. They also go for higher studies or go to work at other consultancy firms And some people, like myself, get opportunities in the public sector and take up those jobs.
3 Golden Tips for the Aspirants
- Be practical in your approach while answering case studies or proposing solutions.
- Be very very clear about your motivation to join the fellowship.
- The selection doesn’t depend on the bandwidth of knowledge you have but rather depends on your thought process.