Need for an Interdisciplinary Approach in Public Sector Capacity Development for Socio-Economic Recovery and Development: Case of India’s Public Governance Structure


Socio-economic recovery and development involve multifaceted processes that must contribute to long-term resilience building. With advancing technology, varying vulnerabilities, and widening inequalities, the challenges in a developing context like urban India are becoming more complex by the day. This requires coordination among a multitude of stakeholders with insights from multiple disciplines, having a common understanding of interdependencies beyond their own sectoral vocabulary.

This paper maps how the structure of India’s public institutions at the national, state, and local levels reflect these sectoral boundaries in governance. The framework within which these institutions operate lack a systems approach, thus impeding innovation. An interdisciplinary approach is required at the policymaking, planning, and implementation stages to ensure sustainable development. Although there is a growing recognition of the need for interdisciplinary collaboration, these are limited to task forces, committees, and working groups that are constituted for specific time-bound purposes.

This paper argues that there is an urgent need to institutionalise interdisciplinarity through training and capacity building approaches at the individual and organisational levels, to enhance public governance capacity for socio-economic recovery. The paper also makes recommendations for integrated pedagogical methods and training design, for creating a learning journey beyond the limitations of disciplines or sectors.