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I served for more than ten years as a public administrator before taking a PhD and becoming a researcher and professor. I was recruited to the Indian Administrative Service in 1982, after doing graduate work at the Delhi School of Economics and the Kennedy School of Government. I developed and implemented a number of policies and programs and found the intellectual challenge of work in public affairs very gratifying, but after a return to academics – as a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University between 1993 and 1995 – I believed that I could make a greater contribution by returning to research and learning and working on “the state-of-the-art, building upon my years of responsible field experience.

The combination of these experiences has taught me that planning and implementation should not be regarded as separate activities. Failure has quite often resulted from forcing this separation on decisions and personnel. Bringing research and practice together is necessary for advancing the frontiers of practically relevant information.

My earliest publications relate to this area and are based on what I saw of innovations in public administration. I remain deeply committed to action-oriented research.