IIMA and MoPR Launch the LEAP-START Programme for Panchayat Officials

~ First-of-its-kind programme draws 60 officials from across the country

~ Programme to continue till January 19, 2024


Ahmedabad, Jan 15:  The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), in association with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) will be hosting a first-of-its-kind, residential Leadership and Management Development Programme titled “Leadership in Panchayats for Strategic Rural Transformation (LEAP-START)” from January 15 to 19, 2024 on its campus.

The 5-day programme has been conceptualised and developed by IIMA faculty members Professor Ranjan Ghosh and Professor Rajesh Chandwani. A pioneering initiative, the programme aims to equip its participants with leadership and managerial skills for effective utilization of resources and functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions. This ground-breaking initiative, for the first time, will bring politically elected representatives and bureaucrats into the same classroom to harness their combined expertise and thereby impact rural policymaking, in the long run.

Professor Bharat Bhasker, Director, IIMA said, “This unique program sets a new trend for engagement of premier institutions with grassroots development of the country, and I am proud that IIMA has taken the lead in this. All the key policies required for nation building at the rural level boils down to how effective and efficient the Panchayat Raj system is.  IIMs also have a key mandate for enhancing the management abilities of officials at all the tiers and we hope that this will become a movement to be emulated by all institutions of excellence.”

The first batch of the programme consists of 60 participants, who are chairpersons, senior officers from district panchayats, zilla parishads from different states and UTs across the country.

The LEAP-START programme will provide its participants exposure to various modules including Leadership and Teamwork, Financial Management and Panchayat Finances, Effective Communication, Project Management and Monitoring, Digital Transformation, ICT, etc. which will help them enhance their skills in village development, identifying community needs, mobilizing resources, and ensuring convergence and integration of plans and schemes.

Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj congratulated the participants for joining the programme and urged them to use their time at IIMA to embrace every lesson, invest in every interaction and to return with renewed energy and a relentless drive to make a difference. He emphasized that the PRIs can become an effective change agent and it is upon them to ensure that rural areas are developed speedily.

IIMA faculty members Professor Ranjan Ghosh and Professor Rajesh Chandwani said that LEAP-START is a fruition of efforts by IIMA teachers and Ministry officials who have taken a bold step for managerial upgradation of functionaries that are critical to India’s ongoing transformation, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We hope that access to best management lessons from the best teachers in the field, which was erstwhile limited to a very small section of highly accomplished students and corporate executives will direct the Panchayati Raj functionaries, who are highly motivated elected representatives or young bureaucrats, towards a newer type of engagement with multiple stakeholders in the complex district, block and village level governance system of the country. We hope that the skills and cases participants will be exposed to, will enable better, empathetic, inclusive and collective day-to-day decision-making and usher in a generation of self-sufficient and well-informed rural development executives.   

The inaugural ceremony was attended by  Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, MoPR,  Mona Khandhar, Principal Secretary, Panchayats, Government of Gujarat;  Vikas Anand, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and  Vipul Ujwal Director, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Development Commissioner, Gujarat Government, among others.