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Reetika Khera
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
reetika.khera@gmail.com
Reetika Khera is an assistant professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. She studied at the Delhi School of Economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) and Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (M.Phil.).  She was a post-doctoral Research Associate at Princeton University where she worked on child nutrition. Before joining IIT-Delhi, she was a visitor at GB Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics and the Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi.

For her Ph.D., she conducted a primary study in eight villages of Rajasthan.  The thesis looked at the effectiveness of public interventions (such as relief works and the public distribution system) to prevent famines. Since then, she has remained involved in various field activities in India including surveys, social audits and "research for action" related to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Public Distribution System and others. An important part of her work has been to encourage and train university students to participate in these activities. More than 300 university students from across the country have participated in surveys and other field activities under her guidance. She has published in professional journals, magazines and newspapers on issues of food security, NREGA, education, child nutrition and elections in India.

Articles By Reetika Khera
Food Security Act: How are India’s poorest states faring?
Posted On: 29 Jun 2016


The National Food Security Act was passed in 2013. This column reports findings from a recent survey on the status of the Act in six of India’s poorest states. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are doing quite well - the PDS is in good shape and most people are covered; however, Bihar and Jharkhand are yet to complete essential PDS reforms.
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Aadhaar Bill: UID without excessively compromising privacy?
Posted On: 06 May 2016

Tags:   Aadhaar , IT

Can something like UID be created without compromising privacy beyond acceptable limits? If so, how should the Aadhaar Bill have been written? What are its specific and avoidable weaknesses?

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Aadhaar: Move towards a surveillance State?
Posted On: 05 May 2016

Tags:   Aadhaar , IT

Most advanced economies have had some version of UID for a long time, example, the Social Security number in the US, the Social Insurance Number in Canada, etc. This is recorded not only in interactions with the State (example, tax filing) but also in many kinds of non-governmental transactions (example, college admissions or property purchase). Yet, it is arguable that these nations have not become police States, occasional abuse notwithstanding. If privacy concerns in India are justified, is it a reflection of the trust deficit in government specific to India (or poorer countries more generally)? Or do schemes like UID inevitably lead to a surveillance State anywhere in the world?

Tweet using: #AadhaarBill

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Aadhaar and government benefits: Better targeting and reduced corruption?
Posted On: 04 May 2016


Supporters of Aadhaar express the hope that will reduce inclusion errors and corruption by eliminating ghost beneficiaries, say in schemes like MNREGA. Are there substantial benefits to be reaped on this account?

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Aadhaar and government benefits: Risk of increasing exclusion?
Posted On: 03 May 2016


The Supreme Court verdict that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory to receive benefits reflects the concern that it may increase exclusion errors, either by leaving people out of the net or through technological malfunction. Is this a serious concern?

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Aadhaar: Incremental information-gathering powers for government?
Posted On: 02 May 2016

Tags:   Aadhaar , IT

The government already has the means to collect a lot of information on citizens (example, phone conversations and logs, credit card transactions, income tax records, bank account details, etc.). Conversely, there are many activities which happen under the radar (example, cash transactions, informal sector employment, etc.). What kind of information-gathering powers will Aadhaar confer on the State over and above what it already has?

Tweet using: #AadhaarBill

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MNREGA: Technology vs. technocracy
Posted On: 17 Mar 2016


In this article, Reetika Khera, Associate Professor of Economics at IIT Delhi, argues that for MNREGA to flourish in the future, technologies that empower workers should be encouraged, and the tendency to over-centralise the implementation of the programme should be reversed.

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Against the tide: Deaton’s economics
Posted On: 17 Dec 2015


In a tribute to Angus Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics, Reetika Khera, who did her post-doctorate research at Princeton University under Deaton, outlines his India-specific contributions both as a rigorous economist and a public intellectual. She discusses Deaton’s great concern with measurement issues, and the over-reliance on randomised controlled trials as evidence for policymaking; and his support of government action for social policy.
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Child development: How are Indian states faring?
Posted On: 10 Dec 2015

Topics:   Education , Health

The recent release of the ‘Rapid Survey On Children’ report presents an opportunity to take a fresh look at the state of Indian children. Based on a simple Child Development Index constructed for 2005-06 and 2013-14, this column finds that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are at the top. Other states – even Bihar – can catch up, but only if they learn the right lessons from the leading states.
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UID project: Does evidence matter?
Posted On: 05 Feb 2014


The Indian government has been pushing to make UID compulsory, and is now moving towards charging for use of authentication services. This article asserts that the three key selling points of UID – corruption control, inclusion and portability – have been achieved in several states in major welfare programmes, by creatively using simpler technology that is free of the hassles attached to UID.
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The National Food Security Ordinance: Five misconceptions
Posted On: 07 Aug 2013


The National Food Security Ordinance was promulgated in July 2013. The public debate that ensued, especially the criticism in the business media, has tended to be either devoid of facts or factually incorrect. This article attempts to correct the terms of the debate with relevant facts.
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Cutting delays in MNREGA wages
Posted On: 10 Oct 2012


Officials in charge of paying MNREGA wages in the state of Andhra Pradesh can now expect to receive fines if there are delays. This column shows how this move was made possible by a simple automated system, how effective it has been, and how the rest of India should follow suit.
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