LAMP Fellowship or the Legislative Assistance to Member of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship
What is The Legislative Assistance to Member of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship?
The Legislative Assistance to Member of Parliament (LAMP Fellowship) Fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity for the young Indians who want to learn law-making and public policymaking. A Member of Parliament mentors LAMP Fellowship. The selected candidates get a chance to work with an assigned MP in a given year for 10-11 months, subject to the Parliamentary calendar. It started from the Monsoon session to Winter Session and then to the end of the year’s budget session. Usually, it begins in June and ends by April/May of the next year.
It is a fellowship program run by PRS Legislative Research, one of the few organizations in India who works exclusively on tracking and analyzing all the matters related to the activities of the Parliament of India. A fellow of this program’s central idea is to provide comprehensive research support to the fellow’s assigned MP for their parliamentary work. The work includes drafting parliamentary questions for the MP, preparing the MP’s speeches for the zero hour debates, raising the issues concern to the public welfare, drafting bills for private members, and much more.
How does a Fellow work during the LAMP Fellowship?
The fellows rarely have a particular workday. They will have a deadline to complete their work from thirty minutes to a couple of days, in which they have to finish their research, based on the MPs specification. During the Parliament session, the workload is heavier than the other time between sessions time. MPs are usually in Parliament anytime between 10 AM and 6 PM during the parliament session. MPs typically meet with their Fellows and assign work either before they go to Parliament or return. During the session, LAMP Fellows may have to brief their MPs on short notice on any matter. It will be a full-time work, where you are not allowed to take any other course during the Fellowship.
The odd time of Parliament session, the fellow will be engaged with policymakers, experts from various think-tanks or diverse sectors, academicians from several leading universities, and leaders from multiple public policymaking institutions by participating in workshops on important policy development matters. The fellows also get a chance for field visits during the inter-session period for practical frontage in the administration at the ground level. Fellows will get the opportunity to understand the critical policy and development issues of the country.
A significant amount of research a LAMP Fellow will undertake is related to the Parliament, such as inputs for bills, Parliamentary questions, policy discussions, and standing committee meetings. The fellows are also required to provide background research for MPs’ conferences and media events in their official capacity. While some MPs may delegate constituency-related work to their LAMP fellows, taking up such work is subjected to the agreement between the MP and the LAMP fellow, for example, visits to the constituency.
Who is an eligible candidate for the LAMP Fellowship?
Candidates from any background like engineering, economics, commerce, arts, law, history, public policy, etc., anyone can apply and eligible to apply for the Fellowship. But suppose you hold a background or a student who studied policymaking in any form like law, public policy, political science. In that case, you will have a better position in terms of your knowledge than any other candidate.
To be selected in the fellowship program, you need to be proved enough interest and understanding in legislative policy, which is measured through their application process. The selection process is very objective. You don’t have to belong from a reputed institution or any remarkable academic performance or don’t ask for any experiences.
You will need to fulfill the following category-
• Candidates must not be more than 25 years of age,
• Candidates must possess a Bachelor’s degree in any academic discipline,
• Candidates must be Indian citizens,
LAMP Fellowship Stipend
• A stipend of INR 20,000 per month for the course of the Fellowship,
• An opportunity to be a legislative assistant to a running Member of Parliament,
• a chance to learn public policy and law-making.
How To Apply and What Is The Selection Process Of LAMP Fellowship?
- Lamp application opens in January every year.
- The application process is in online mode only.
- Along with the application form, the candidate will also be required to submit a statement of intent and an analysis essay of 500 words.
- The idea of purpose should explain your candidature and why you consider yourself a good fit for the Fellowship.
- The report should include an in-depth analysis of a policy or law.
- Shortlisted candidates will have to attend an interview conducted by the PRS before being selected by the PRS.
What opportunities will be available for you after the Fellowship?
After completing LAPM Fellowship, some LAMP Fellows have pursued advanced degrees in prestigious institutions like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Oxford, London School of Economics, Sciences Po, leading IIMs, ISB, XLRI, JNU, etc. And some other has continued to work with the Members of Parliament, political parties or other political consulting organizations. A few have joined either multilateral institutions like the World Bank, Foreign Embassies, or leading public policy organizations such as CPR and NIPFP or chosen a career in the corporate sector, including consulting investment banking and e-commerce. A few have joined the civil service as Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers. You will have the chance to work in a different higher position in the country after the LAMP Fellowship.
Also Read – UPSC Syllabus: Details about Prelims and Mains
What is the general course of the program about?
To prepare the fellow to work with MPs, PRS conducts a one-month training session at the beginning of the Fellowship. The session will give you an overview of the coming months, how will you work. PRS will provide lectures and assignments to understand better the Constitution, Legislative Policy Making, Functioning of Parliament, and the Budget, and so on. It is impossible to cover all the topics in the one-month training session, but it will provide you with a starting point to start your Fellowship. You will understand the kind of issues you are going to work on with the MP.
There will also be lecturing 2-3 days every month throughout the Fellowship on different policies, such as public finance, tech law, policy, agriculture, international relations, public health, law, etc. Experts from other fields will visit for lectures on various topics, including former government officials, professional experts, etc. It will be an excellent opportunity for you in learning and networking.
Process of allocating MP: LAMP Fellowship
Fellows are allocated randomly to the MPs. There are no criteria for assigning a fellow to an individual MP. You will not have a chance to give preference or to choose according to your wish. But to make it successful and ensure the Fellowship’s smooth performance, consideration like language, regional understanding, profile match of MPs, etc. may get preference.
What are the expectations of an MP’s from a LAMP Fellow? Is there any restriction for a fellow?
The idea behind the Fellowship is to fulfill the gap created by the lack of dedicated research by the MPs of India. They do much work, because of which it is not possible to handle all the work single-handedly. So some MPs employ people only to help them with research work.
LAMP Fellow’s research topics include many issues, such as defense, food security, environment, economics, and foreign affairs. Research tasks include as follows –
- Legislative research
- Briefs on Govt. bills
- Speeches (both in and outside Parliament)
- Parliamentary interventions (such as notices and motions) that your MP may be interested in raising
- Filing of parliamentary questions (the one thing that 99% of MPs do)
- Private Member’s Bills (the best thing that an average LAMP Fellow can work on)
- Committee work, in case your MP is part of any of the various parliamentary committees (almost all MPs in the Fellowship program are a part of some committee)
- Writing articles for MPs
- Research for constituency-related issues
- Data Analysis
- Background research parliamentary debates
- Research for Standing Committee meetings
- Media-related work including drafting press releases, preparing interventions for TV appearances
- Interacting with stakeholders
Thus, a fellow helps the allocated MP with the above work and if needed helps with any other assistance too during the Fellowship.
During your Fellowship, you are also responsible and should follow the rules of PRS while using social media. The life of an MP is always in the eye of the public. So the fellow working with PRS or LAMP fellowship holder or you will be strictly restricted from publishing anything in the public domain that has a chance of becoming ‘political’ during the time of your Fellowship.
Also, you can’t publish any research or political view on social media by your name during the Fellowship.
What’s so great about the LAMP Fellowship?
- You will work with the awesome study group. There will be people around you from different walks of life, various regions of India, and multiple sectors- the diversity of the batch will be unique. It’s a great platform to get to know so many like-minded people (not ideologically, but generally in terms of interest in socio-political issues) and even learn from them.
- You will have access to MPs, work with the country leaders. That itself is a pretty big incentive for doing the Fellowship. The fact that you have the ear of an MP (again, depends on who your MP is) makes you feel entirely responsible. It’s very much possible that the speech you work on for your MP may change the way the public perceives him. Something you researched may attract national attention and may even be acted upon by the Govt.
- You will have access to other things through the MPs. Your identity as a member of the MP’s team gives you access to other MPs, heads of research organizations, and invitations to private events involving policy discussions and so on. The fact that you may have the ability to request your MP to raise specific issues in Parliament you feel needed to ask for the country’s welfare.
- For anyone, it’s an excellent opportunity for getting introduced to public policymaking. You end up interacting with so many people. And these are things which you can’t find out about on your own.
- You will know about the functioning of Parliament and the political scenario in India. Even if you’re not a political junkie, you get to know so much just under being in an MP’s office through the Fellowship.
- Even PRS does several training sessions on technical issues like research resources, budget documents, passing bills, etc. With all these, you will develop an excellent understanding of what’s happening in the Parliament and the country, and what it means for you. It’s not precisely professional expertise, but it’s a great thing to learn, nevertheless.
- In the end, it will give you a reality to check about how things actually work, and how hard-working most MPs (individually) are. We wouldn’t say that it will provide you with a great idea about how politics work, because many MPs don’t involve their Fellows in that kind of work, but it gives you a broad picture of that too if nothing else.
- Most importantly, after the Fellowship, the exposure you will have without involving in the politics directly, nowhere you will have. Later, you may become the critics of the public policy; you may have the offer for work from any politicians who liked your work and worked for the nation in a better position.
LAMP Fellowship Dates
For the year 2020-21, the application window has been closed (Lamp Fellowship’s last date was 26th January 2020). The next application window is expected to begin from January 2021 (tentative). The Fellowship starts from the middle of June every year and concludes in the following April – May (subject to the Parliamentary calendar).