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Second National Conference on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning – 2022


Second National Conference on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning – 2022

The Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), NITI Aayog plans to hold the Second National Conference on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (NCMEL 2022) from 16th to 17th March 2022 in virtual mode. With the objective to build institutional capacities and empower critical governance systems at the Centre and State level, the event will bring together stakeholders from across the M&E ecosystem to discuss and deliberate on the emerging issues and challenges at the national and sub-national level and ideate on strategies to address them. The central theme for this year’s conference is ‘Monitoring & Evaluation for Sustainable Development through Cooperative Federalism’ under which the six sub-themes will focus on:

  1. Building institutional and resource capabilities for M&E at the sub-national level 
  2. Making evaluations inclusive & sensitive to the marginalized and vulnerable populations
  3. Building future ready systems through M&E
  4. Contextualizing Evaluation Policy
  5. Data governance, technology and innovation for monitoring and evaluation, and
  6. Developing resilient M&E approaches


  1. Background

As India celebrates 75 years of its Independence, the country is at an opportune juncture – with future development hinging on investing in the right programmes to arrive at intended developmental outcomes and achieve our national priorities, by leveraging good governance systems.  In achieving the aspirations for the country, the importance of data and strong monitoring and evaluation systems (M&E) for clear accountability, adaptability and continuous learning cannot be overemphasised. However, M&E, currently, is challenging in countries such as India where priorities, schemes, implementation structures and governance systems vary at each level - national, state, district, local. Efforts to strengthen M&E systems and capacities need to address the complexities, diversities, and inequities across the country; and achieve synergies and cross-learnings across levels of governments, from the Union Government, to multiple State Governments and beyond.  Hence, cooperative federalism becomes the cornerstone for achieving the national development agenda.


Over the past few years, DMEO has been partnering and working with States towards building a strong M&E ecosystem across India.  The National Conference on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (NCMEL) is one such initiative towards this goal, which provides a platform for sustained conversation in the domain of M&E, allowing more synergy and coherence in the collaborations among various stakeholders. Through the conference, we aim to also bring focus on enhancing both institutional and knowledge capacities, by discussing experiences of stakeholders working at the national and state level, and absorbing best practices from those who have been ahead of the curve in setting up processes, leveraging data systems and technology for M&E etc.


The first National Conference for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, held in March 2021, focused on ‘Institutionalizing M&E Practices for Sustainable Impact’. The sessions covered emerging approaches and technologies for evidence generation, professionalization of M&E to enhance institutional capacities, use of M&E to achieve more equitable results in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. Through the second edition of the NCMEL, we are looking to build upon the learnings from last year and expand the scope of discussions to cover key concerns around issues of capacities, inclusivity, data and quality, supported by relevant strategies, and actionable insights for building strong M&E institutions through cooperative federalism. This is further elaborated in the next section.

  1. About the Second National Conference on Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning | 16-17th March 2022

Objective of NCMEL 2022

Sustainable development is not possible without strong M&E institutions at both the national and sub-national level with clearly defined medium-and long-term visions. This requires building institutional capacities and empowering critical governance functions, like planning, statistics, procurement etc., to collaboratively develop foundational systems and leverage all available innovations for driving M&E across the different levels of government. The complexity arising from varying institutional contexts is further intensified by other systemic deficiencies, including, but not limited to ineffective organizational structures, inefficient resource allocation, use of out-dated methodologies, unreliable data quality and inadequate HR capacity.


Within this context, the second National Conference on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning aims to bring together key stakeholders in the M&E ecosystem to deliberate issues and strategies for addressing challenges as they evolve at the national and sub-national level using best-in-class practices and technologies from India and globally. Through the conference from 16th - 17th March 2022, we hope to consider the following aspects through the lens of cooperative federalism:

  • Discuss latest developments in priority areas for strengthening the M&E eco-system at the national and sub-national levels;

  • Understand the issues and challenges in complex and diverse M&E contexts from National and States’ perspectives;

  • Explore the potential of technology and innovation in M&E for supporting evidence-based policy making; and 

  • Identify institutional gaps in M&E systems and share practices for resilience and course correction.

Theme of the Conference

Keeping in mind the above goals, the central theme of the National Conference for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning 2022 is ‘Monitoring & Evaluation for Sustainable Development through Cooperative Federalism’. Over the course of two days, the conference will bring relevant stakeholders together to discuss best practices, share success stories and ideate on areas related to the following six sub-themes:

  • Sub-Theme 1 - Building institutional and resource capabilities for M&E at the sub-national level: Government programs are implemented within different institutional contexts, each of them operating within their own constraints. While the central ministries, departments and states have regularly relied on M&E to assess the performance of their different schemes/programs, there is high variation in their capacity and experiences. The key question to be addressed here is how can we align M&E institutional capacities to facilitate sustainable development and achievement of national priorities. The conference will delve into the existing gaps in institutional capacities at the sub-national level, and also identify possible solutions for enhancing M&E capabilities of institutions at the Centre, State and district level.

  • Sub-Theme 2 - Making evaluations inclusive & sensitive to the marginalized and vulnerable populations: Sustainable development requires an enabling environment for inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable populations, such as women, senior citizens, children, persons with disabilities, migrants, minorities etc. Assessing and reducing inequities and disparities across segments of society remains a core development priority. The conference will address two aspects of inclusivity with respect to evaluations. Firstly, how can the voice of the marginalized and vulnerable populations be captured and translated into inclusive outcomes through evaluations and secondly, what approaches can be taken for making programme assessments more participatory and citizen-centric?

  • Sub-Theme 3 - Building future ready systems through M&E: For sustainable development, economic growth needs to be balanced with social, economic and environmental priorities. Both the Centre and State Governments have an extremely crucial role to play when it comes to planning, channelizing resources, implementation, and ensuring movement towards sustainable development goals through continuous monitoring and evaluation. The conference will explore how M&E systems can be effectively utilized as an assessment as well as learning tool to decide key milestones and guide decisions for building sustainable systems.

  • Sub-Theme 4 - Contextualizing Evaluation Policy: Lessons from other countries such as Mexico, Canada, and South Africa suggest that a formalized national evaluation policy ensures sustainability of evaluation culture and practice across multiple governments. Considering the diversity of India, it is also important to learn from states as to how evaluation systems can be contextualized to measure performance of public programs, track key development results, and support evidence-based policy planning and budgeting at the sub-national level. The conference will explore the pillars for comprehensive and effective evaluation policy and how it can be contextualized to the state and district level for achieving growth targets.

  • Sub-Theme 5 - Data governance, technology and innovation for monitoring and evaluation: Although much progress has been made especially on monitoring of schemes, the measurement of outcomes remains elusive. For effective evidence-based policy making, outcome-based monitoring needs to be integrated at the scheme design stage itself. The conference will facilitate a discussion on how outcome-based monitoring can be institutionalized at different levels of the government.  It will also attempt to address aspects of how data architecture and data collection mechanisms can be strengthened by leveraging latest technologies and innovations for effective tracking of outcomes and evidence-based policy making.

  • Sub-Theme 6 - Developing resilient M&E approaches: The COVID pandemic has highlighted the need for agility and adaptability in M&E systems. The conference will bring into focus critical developments that India and the world has seen over the past two years – grappling with uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic, and climate change – to identify the role and importance of M&E systems and planning improvements. It will also examine how M&E systems could be re-aligned for resilience during pandemics & disasters.

  1. Conference Logistics

    Date: 16th & 17th March, 2022

    Mode: Virtual (Cisco WebEx)

Target audience:

  • Planning officials from Central Ministries, State Governments and Union Territory administrations of India;

  • M&E practitioners;

  • National and international policymakers;

  • International organizations;

  • Academic/research institutions (academia, students, fellows etc.) and think tanks; and

  • NGOs and consulting firms engaged in M&E.

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