I did my summer internship in PRS Legislative Research, Delhi. It was a seven week internship. PRS is the only organisation in the country which tracks down everything happening in the parliament. The parliament through a consensus passes different bills which finally become laws applying to the whole country. Of the many things that PRS does, they compress fifty page parliamentary bills filled with legal jargon into two page summaries which you and I can understand. PRS also advises the Parliament on the potential concerns that a bill may raise after having done an analysis which includes talking to affected stakeholders. They maintain professional contacts with several MPs and MLAs providing them their reports and summaries whenever required. The organisation is in its 7th year and has grown from 6 to about 20 employees, all of whom are highly qualified from places like LSE, Wharton, IIM, IIT etc.
So yeah, it’s a pretty cool organisation if you’re interested in Policy and more specifically in Legislative policy. It’s a good place if you’re looking for a non-core, non corporate intern. I had to get my internship through contacts since I was late in applying through the regular route. To apply you can send an email provided on their website : firstname.lastname@example.org. For a winter internship they will consider applications in September. Do check out their website, to know more.
The office of PRS is located in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. It’s a diplomatic area. The nearest bus stop to work was the Chinese embassy from where I would take a two minute walk to reach office. Attire was formal and there were no casual Fridays. Average day temperature was forty-five degrees but it wasn’t a problem. AC bus travel charged me 30 bucks a day, and if you’re coming from far, metro is a convenient option. Afternoons were spent in their air-conditioned office. There was a great library there with Economist, Foreign Policy and Time available in the magazines section along with the usual stuff.
During my month and a half stay, I was staying in IIT-Delhi. I was sharing my cousin’s room who was a final year student. I would pass off as any other student on campus and ID cards were not checked at the entrance gates. To be frank, the place is a terrorist’s dream. I got great company at IITD of my cousin and his group. If you know a good friend in IIT-D, even you can get acco on campus. There are no legal routes to avail acco in IIT-D unless you’re doing a project in their institute.
Mine was an unpaid internship. As with most non-core internships, my work did not require any engineering skills, which I think is a good break from the academic slog during term time. I was given several mini projects under different analysts.
- My first project was to conceptualise (not code) a fun, interactive game for the PRS website.
- The second project involved understanding a Planning commission report for determining Natural Gas prices in India and summarising it.
- One project involved establishing an excel database for documenting the targets and achievements of the Health Ministry.
- I also had to compile a brief document about the Shipping Ministry regarding-what laws govern its functioning, which sectors come under it, etc.
At the end of my internship I had to make a presentation to the entire PRS team of my work.
What I most miss about my internship are the people at PRS. Often the real learning comes from the interaction with new colleagues, knowing about different opportunities that you were ignorant of and talking to someone whose accomplished what you aspire to. The folks out there were friendly and cheerful. Lunch was a good time to socialise. I witnessed three birthdays during my term which were celebrated with ordered cake and the ‘happy birthday’ song. I got a chance to see the Parliament from the inside when one of the senior analysts took me along for some work. I discussed US politics with an analyst who had worked for the 2008 Obama campaign. I talked at lengths with an IITB alumni about Indian politics, Women’s reservation Bill, lan ban in IIT and valfis!
2 out of 3 of my co-interns were from law school and the third was doing a history course on India and was from Harvard. This is an organisation which is still obscure in our insti. PRS does not come through the ptcell and you have to apply on your own. Given a significant number of us in insti look for non-core internships, this is a place to keep in mind.