Talk by Rajendran Narayanan, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University, on Technocracy as the veil for lack of political will: In the context of NREGA

The Center for Information Technology and Public Policy (CITAPP)

International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIITB)

organized a talk titled

Technocracy as the veil for lack of political will: In the context of NREGA


Rajendran Narayanan

Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm on 17th April 2019 (Wednesday)

Venue: Room #310, IIITB campus

26/C, Electronic City, Hosur Road, Bangalore

About the talk:The Right to Information (RTI) has been a landmark law to increase transparency and accountability of the government. In this regard, Social Audits have been a powerful mechanism of monitoring and participation for the marginalised sections to know their rights and entitlements and act based on that knowledge. Social audits entail culling out and presenting relevant information in a manner that is most useful to people participating in programmes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). The information can then be used to conduct public hearings leading to increased democratic engagement and participation. Rajendran is a founder member of a collective of researchers and activists called LibTech India. LibTech works with an array of civil society organisations across several states in designing and developing “bottom-up” Janata Information Systems (JIS). Such information can then be used for continuous monitoring of government programmes and social audits. LibTech India has also been active in various national campaigns as the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), the Right to Food Campaign, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha and the People’s Action for Employment Guarantee.

Speaker Bio: Rajendran is an Assistant Professor in the School of Liberal Studies, Azim Premji University, Bangalore. After completing his Ph.D. in statistics from Cornell University, he has held teaching and research positions at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, Cornell University, Ithaca and Ashoka University, Sonepat. In his doctoral work, he explored theoretical questions pertaining to eigenvalues of random matrices and shrinkage estimation in constrained regression problems. He has since gradually migrated to the real world and engages in ‘Research for Action’ in questions pertaining to transparency, accountability, and human rights.

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.