Set up in October 1975, the Public Systems Group (PSG) at IIMA is an interdisciplinary group with a focus on the generation and dissemination of knowledge concerning the public sphere, the performance and management of public systems, the formulation and implementation of public policies, their societal determinants as well as consequences.
The group has its origins in specific sector oriented units like Population Studies Unit and Education Systems Unit that were later incorporated in PSG. Today the broad objectives of the PSG can be described as:
Helping the institute play a responsive and anticipatory role in the areas of public systems and public policy;
Promoting research that will further our understanding of effective management of public systems and democratic policy making; and
Providing opportunities to managers and administrators for developing managerial skills and attitudes for effective management of public systems.
Faculty members of the PSG are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and interests. The diversity of the group and its research interests are reflected in the courses that the group has offered across the range of programs offered by the institute. The courses include: Public Management, Public Finance, Public Policy, Infrastructure Development and Financing, Carbon Finance, Hospital Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Environment Management, Managing Telecom Enterprises, Legal and Regulatory Issues in Infrastructure, Urban Economy and Business Environment, Investigating Corporate Social Irresponsibility, Theatre and Development, Infrastructure Developments and Public-Private Partnerships, Agri Carbon Finance, Innovations in Managing Urban Transport, Intelligent Transport Systems, Experimental Methods, Rethinking Good Governance, etc.
Current research interests of the faculty include energy and climate change, environmental studies, corporate sustainability, social policy, urban planning and management, public finance, education policy, transportation planning and policy, ICT in transport systems and infrastructure, smart cities, community development, marketing of public services, impact assessments, hospital and health systems, telecommunications policy, public management, and democratic governance.
In the field of Energy and Environment, policy research is carried out in close interaction with various ministries of the Government of India, industry associations and international organizations. Some prominent areas of research include long-term energy and emissions scenarios and modeling, global environmental negotiations, technology strategy, environmental risk assessment, implications of economic reforms on environment, environmental management strategies for cities. PSG has an ongoing collaborative research projects with The Center for Environmental Science and Policy, Stanford University and the Max Planck Institute, Munich, Germany. International funding agencies that support our activities include UNEP, Asia Pacific Network and UNDP.
In the area of Healthcare Management, PSG started its activities in the late 70s, with a research focus on the management of Primary Healthcare Services. The research activities then expanded to include the management of Secondary Healthcare Services in the 80s and to Hospital Management in the 90s. Today, its involvement in this sector covers the entire spectrum of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services, as well as in related areas such as healthcare insurance, healthcare informatics, etc. PSG has an ongoing collaborative research project with the Nuffield Institute for Health, University of Leeds, England. International funding agencies that support the activities include The British Council, DfID, Royal Netherlands Embassy, DANIDA, World Bank, European Commission, Macarthur Foundation, Johnson & Johnson. PSG's research focus in healthcare management has also extended to issues of neonatal and maternal health and mortality. The availability, accessibility and effectiveness of the existing Emergency Obstetric Care for rural women in Gujarat has been researched and its impact analysed with the aim of replicating it in other districts. The role of Public Private Partnership for Emergency Obstetric Care under Janani Suraksha Yojana has also been studied. Managerial challenges to prevent neonatal deaths in India have been researched.
Faculty in the PSG has made significant contributions in the area of Public Finance with research on topics in social cost-benefit analysis, factors behind economic and productivity growth, as well as its distribution regionally, the fiscal health of states and cities. In addition, faculty members have done important work on the economic development of cities, urban quality of life and performance management systems for Urban Local Governments
With support from the Ford Foundation, new directions in urban governance research have been charted that specifically focus on the interplay between local and global processes of public policy in an era of non-state institutions gaining greater legitimacy. Collaborations with scholars, local governments and non-state institutions and actors have been undertaken to grapple with this relatively newer public management paradigm. Through this route, research, teaching and public dissemination activities centering on the social impacts of developmental projects, social inclusion and pro-poor governance are undertaken. The manner in which social enterprises are governed and their consequences for society is another area through which the PSG has tried to grapple with the changing nature of the public sphere.
The PSG faculty is also working at the policy and firm level with various infrastructure sectors and organizations such as Electricity Boards, Power Corporations, Ports, Railways, Airports, Telecom operators, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, World Bank Institute, etc. Apart from doing research projects, a sustained activity of the 3iNetwork is bringing out an annual India Infrastructure Report. PSG has also undertaken research studies on current issues in logistics and transport, including the railways and food supply chains, with an emphasis on the management of growth of infrastructure and new forms of governance such as public private partnerships.
In addition to disseminating knowledge through publications via media such as research papers, conference participations and films, PSG members serve on boards of international journals, companies and not-for-profit Institutions – being both at the cutting edge of research and bringing research to practice.