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Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF)

What is Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF)?

  • MGNF is a Certificate Program in Public Policy and Management offered by IIM. It has been designed at the initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India (GoI).

  • As the academic partner, IIMs will administer a blended program with both class-room interactions and district immersion components.

  • The target group for the program are young individuals who will work with the government at the district level and use inputs from IIMs to engage with the skill and economic development challenge of India.

  1. Why should I apply for the Fellowship?

  • The Fellowship is a unique opportunity to promote skill development in district economies.

  • The two-year blended program combines classroom sessions at host IIMs with mentorship of Fellows while in district.

  • It provides an opportunity to engage with schemes and institutions at the district level to strengthen institutions and improve skill development, link markets and create growth.

  1. Who are the host IIMs?

  • For the 2021-23 cohort, the host IIMs are IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Jammu, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow, IIM Nagpur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Udaipur and IIM Visakhapatnam.

  1. Will each host IIM conduct different admission process?

  • No,  host IIMs will not have different admission process. There will be a common admission process managed centrally by IIM Bangalore.

  1. How do I find out which states a particular IIM is managing?

  • The 9 host IIMs will be handling multiple states. The specific state to IIM mapping will be intimated to selected candidates in their offer/selection letter.

  1. Which were the states covered by IIM Bangalore in the pilot cohort?

  • During the pilot batch (2020-2022), IIM Bangalore covered 6 states- Gujarat, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

  1. What is the exact duration of the Fellowship?

  • The academic calendar of the Fellowship is two years long.

  • It will start from the July 2021 to July 2023.

  1. How many Fellows are being recruited for MGNF 2021-23?

  • 660+ Fellows may be recruited for the second cohort of MGNF.

  1. What is the tuition fee for MGNF program?

  • Candidates selected for the 2021-23 admissions cycle will be fully funded by MSDE, GoI.

  • On joining the program, the participant will receive a stipend of Rs. 50,000 per month during Year 1 of the program.

  • Only on completing the requirements of Year 1, the candidate will receive a stipend of Rs. 60,000 per month during Year 2 of the program.

  1. Where will I be based?

  • In the current admissions cycle, admitted candidates will be placed in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

  • Based on the candidate’s language ability, performance during interviews, the admissions process will match a candidate to a district based on the candidate’s interest, MSDE priorities, and judgement of candidate fit arrived at during the admissions process.

  1. Can I change my district of immersion?

  • No, the allocation of the districts in the respective State shall not be changed under any circumstance.

  1. How will the Academic Module train me for the District Immersion experience?

  • The on-campus academic modules will offer applied and conceptual understanding of key ideas around management, development economics, skills, and an integrated exposure to improve the Fellow’s ability to plan and link different activities to understand the development process, analysis functioning of schemes, and during the course of the two years, develop a skill development in the district.

  1. What is the nature of tasks I am expected to perform as a MGN Fellow?

  • The Fellows will work under the supervision of the respective IIM State Resource Associate. In addition, he or she will be engage with the District Administration in understanding the schemes, identifying skill gaps and looking for different pathways to promote skill development and employment in the district.

  1. What will my work week look like?

  • The Fellowship is a commitment to serve with District Skill Committee (DSC) in a full-time capacity. Fellows are expected to work within the framework of the activities of the DSC and engage on activities required by respective IIMs (for example, collect details on schemes, understand district requirements, write cases in consultation with State Resource Associate, and the Faculty Panel, etc..)

  1. Will accommodation be provided during MGNF? 

  • During the Academic module at host IIM’s campus, accommodation for the Fellow will be arranged by the MGNF office of respective host IIMs. The Fellow will be expected to make their own arrangements in the District for their accommodation.

  1. How many leaves are we entitled to during the program? 

  • The leave policy for the selected candidates will be intimated in their selection/offer letter.

  1. What are the post completion opportunities? Will IIMs assist in placements of Fellows?

  • IIMs will not provide any placement services whatsoever. The Certificate of Public Policy and Management will be given on successful completion of all program requirements.

  • However, it is expected that on successful completion of MGNF, the graduating Fellows will have a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of rural economies, the ability to identify skill gaps, and design ways to address them in a way that the government can take action. The ability to understand what promotes livelihoods, and constrains economic development will be key assets for the graduating Fellow. We anticipate that the graduating Fellows will be successful in finding consulting jobs with state and national government departments across all domains, in private consulting jobs, and with CSR based organizations, non-profit foundations. For those interested in start-ups, this program provides valuable insights and connects that can help them understand the entrepreneurship ecosystem that exists and how to leverage that in their districts as well.

  1. As an MGN Fellow can I pursue any other professional engagement?

  • MGN Fellows are expected to commit to a full-time engagement with the Fellowship. The Fellows cannot pursue any additional professional assignments during their engagement as an MGN Fellow.

  1. How much stipend will I receive as an MGN Fellow?

  • On joining the program, the Fellow will receive a stipend of Rs. 50,000 per month during Year 1 of the program. Only on completing the requirements of Year 1, the Fellow will receive a stipend of Rs. 60,000 per month during Year 2 of the program.

  • Please note that the stipend is inclusive of local travel allowance.

  1. Does MGNF cover expenses for family/spouse?

  • No, MGNF does not provide financial assistance for family/ spouse of the Fellows.

  1. Will I have office space to work out of?

  • Yes, designated workspace will depend on the arrangement provided by the administration at the district level.

  1. Does MGNF provide insurance for me?

  • Yes, group insurance for the entire cohort will be provided by NIMI, implementation partner of MSDE .

  1. Will I be required to travel during the District Immersion?

  • Yes, Fellows have to travel within the district for their projects. The monthly stipend would be inclusive of travel cost within the district. Cost incurred during official travel outside the district will be reimbursed as per HR Guidelines.

  1. Can anyone leave the Fellowship after one year or be asked to leave mid-way?

  • Only under exceptional situations (for example, health conditions do not permit continuance), can the participant may leave. All other candidates, who leave mid-way will be expected to bear the costs incurred on their behalf since the inception of the program.

Who are eligible to apply?

The eligibility criteria for selection as a Fellow can be the following:

  • Should be a citizen of India

  • Age between 21-30 years at the time of application

  • At least a graduate in any discipline (engineering, law, medicine, social sciences, etc.) from a recognized university or a post-graduate from a recognized university.

  1. I turned 30 in February 2021. Am I eligible to apply?

  • The program is open to all candidates who are in the age group of 21 – 30 years of age at the time of application. As the closing date for applications is 27th of March 2021, hence, you are eligible if you are born in-between 27-03-1991 and 27-03-2000.

  1. What personal qualities are you looking for in candidates? 

We expect the candidates to:

  • display a commitment and passion towards skill/rural development

  • display an ability to work in challenging environment with colleagues from different backgrounds

  • possess adaptability, commitment, perseverance and initiative

  1. Is work experience desirable to be an MGN Fellow?

  • Three years of work experience after secondary schooling in the social/non-profit sector with an interest in working in rural areas is preferred. However, individuals with no work experience and a strong motivation to work in this area may apply.

  1. Are candidates with Master’s degrees preferred?

  • The only essential criteria are that candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree in any academic discipline. Candidates with master’s degrees are welcome to apply but will not have an advantage over other candidates. Similarly, the MGNF does not give preference to any particular academic discipline.

  1. Do I need to know any local language?

  • Yes, it is very important to be able to converse, read and write the local language since assignment to a state will be driven by the candidate’s ability to participate in the language of communication used by the state government. Candidates should have proficiency in any one or more of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Mizo, Nepali, Odiya, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.

  1. Is English proficiency a requirement?

  • Yes, English is important. The Entrance test is in English. Further, candidates are expected to able to converse, read and write in English given that the medium of instruction during the on-campus module at IIMs is English.

  1. Can I apply if I am a final year student (2021 pass out)? This course commences by July 2021 and I graduate in June 2021. Am I eligible to apply?

  • No, you are not eligible to apply since you have to submit your graduation marksheet at the time of submitting the application.

  1. What are the application dates for the Fellowship?

  • Applications to MGNF 2021-23 are currently open. The application window closes on March 27, 2021.

  1. Can I choose any state of my choice in the application form?

  • Yes, you can the state of your choice in the application form, provided you are proficient in the local language of the state. However please note that the final decision on the state will be based on the candidate’s language ability, performance during interviews, MSDE priorities, and judgement of candidate fit arrived at during the admissions process.

  1. Does the entire application need to be completed within one session?

  • Yes, the entire application needs to be completed in one session. If you exit the application form before completing it, the information will not be saved. We recommend that you keep all the relevant documents at hand before starting the application so that your session does not expire.

  1. I am not an Indian citizen, but I hold a PIO/OCI card. Am I eligible for the MGNF?

  • The Fellowship is open to Indian citizens only. “Indian citizen” implies someone holding an Indian passport or eligible to hold one. Individuals holding PIO/OCI cards are not eligible for the MGNF.

  1. If unsuccessful can I reapply in the future?

  • Yes, you can re-apply in the next academic year. You’ll have to submit a fresh application the following year.

  1. How much is the application fee?

  • The application fee is INR 500 + GST.

  1. How much is the early bird discount?

  • Candidates applying by March 7, 2021 will be eligible for a discounted application fee of INR 400 + GST.

  1. What is the required length for the Statement of Purposes?

  • The Statement of Purpose should not be more than 800 words.

  1. What should I write in the Statement of Purpose?

  • Your statement of purpose should identify professional and academic goals. You can discuss what excites you about MGNF and how you propose to contribute to it based on your past work history, your interests, and any other relevant experience. Your statement should offer insight into who you are as an individual.

  1. What references do I need to submit? Should the current designation of the referee be entered or the one during the time of the professional/ academic relationship?

  • We ask the candidates to provide two references, either academic or professional. Please mention current designation of the referees while providing their details.

  1. Which marksheet has to be uploaded – 10th/12th or Graduation? 

  • All the three marksheets – 10th, 12th and Graduation (and Post-graduation, if applicable) have to be compiled and uploaded in a single file.

  1. The application form won’t show up when I click the banner or the button. What do I do?

  • Try using a different browser. We prefer Chrome, but you should be able to access the application on Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer as well.

  1. I tried all four of those browsers and it still isn’t working. Now what?

  • If refreshing the page does not work, it could be an issue with our website. If it is still not working within a hour, please email for help.

  1. I have filled out all of the required questions on the application form, but the website still won’t let me submit the application. What do I do?

  • Please be sure you are following the character limit guidelines. As a reminder, these are character limits (spaces count as characters), not word limits.

  1. I submitted my application too soon and I forgot to add one thing. Can I still add it?

  • All submitted applications are final. Please carefully review your application before submitting.

More questions? Please email

Selection Process

What does the selection process look like?

Applicants will be short-listed on the basis of:

  • A multiple choice-based aptitude exam to test the applicant’s General Awareness (GA), Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). This will be physically conducted in each of the state capitals keeping in mind physical distancing norms and other relevant safeguards considering COVID-19.

  • Candidates shortlisted after the MCQ based written exam will be invited for personal interaction comprising of three parts; namely Case Writing Ability (CWA) written exam, personal interview, and written Language Proficiency Test (LPT) to judge the candidate’s fit, motivation, and proficiency in the official language of the state applied for respectively. These interviews will be conducted in the state capitals.

  1. What if I cannot make it to an in-person interview?

  • We do not offer Skype or phone interviews. Candidates are expected to make their own arrangements and pay for all expenses incurred while attending the interview in person.

  1. When will I know if I have been short-listed for an in-person interview?

  • We aim to contact all short-listed applicants for interview by end of April, 2021. Please ensure the email address you include in your application is valid, and check your junk mail, as bulk-generated mailings may end up there.

  1. When will the interviews take place?

  • The interviews will take place during the second week of May to end of May.

  1. Where will the interview be held?

  • The interview will be held in the capital of the states.

  1. When would I start work?

  • MGNF classes and District Immersion responsibilities are tentatively scheduled to start in July 2021.

  1. Can I defer my placement?

  • No, you cannot defer your placement. However, you can re-apply in the next academic year.

MGNF Entrance Exam

  1. What is the pattern for the MGNF entrance exam?

  • A multiple choice-based aptitude exam to test the applicant’s General Awareness (GA), Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). The GA section will test candidate’s awareness on Indian economy, geography, history, and polity with special reference to public administration and governance etc.

  1. Where will the MGNF entrance exam centre be?

  • Exams be physically conducted in the capital of all states.

  1. Is this a computer-based exam? Or Paper based exam?

  • The MGNF entrance exam is a paper-based exam.

  1. What do the candidates need to bring to the exam centre?

The candidate is required to bring following at the examination centre

  • Admit Card along with passport size photograph affixed on it.

  • One passport size photograph to be affixed on attendance sheet.

Candidates are advised not to bring any other item at the examination centres. There will not be any arrangement for safe keeping of any material at the centre.

  1. How many non-MCQs are there in each section?

  • The MGNF Entrance is a multiple choice-based aptitude exam. The number of questions in each section may vary and cannot be disclosed.

  1. What is the marking/ grading scheme for MGNF Written Entrance Test? Is there negative marking for a wrong answer?

The scoring scheme for Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) is as follows:

  • Each correct answer is awarded 3 marks.

  • An incorrect answer fetches -1.

  • No marks are given or deducted for unattempt questions.

  1. How long is the exam?

  • MGNF entrance exam is for 2 Hours.

  1. Will any candidate be able to leave early if he/she finishes the test before the allocated test time?

  • No candidate will be allowed to leave the examination hall/room before the test concludes.

  1. Does MGNF 2021 have a syllabus for exam preparation?

  • No, the MGNF exam does not have a defined syllabus. However, you can refer to the previous year’s question paper on MGNF official website.

  1. If one does not get Admit Card, whom should he/she contact?

  • Admit cards will not be sent to candidates. These will be uploaded on application portal. Candidates need to download the Admit Card from the website only. If you are unable to view your Admit Card after logging in, contact the MGNF Helpdesk:


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