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Rajendran Narayanan

Rajendran is an Assistant Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences. 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 gradually become an interpoler to the social sciences and is a rural development practitioner.

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 beneficiaries of programmes such as the NREGA. The information can then be used to conduct public hearings leading to increased democratic engagement and participation. Rajendran works with an array of researchers and activists from various 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. He is also interested in understanding what the proliferation of data, and over-reliance on technological processes mean for rural development and participatory democracy.

Prior to his Ph.D, Rajendran completed his Bachelors in Statistics (hons), with Mathematics, & Economics as ancillaries from St. Xavier's College, Kolkata followed by a Masters from the Department of Mathematics, IIT Bombay.

Rajendran enjoys writing, theatre, films, and reading literary fiction.

Areas of Interest

Rajendran is interested in transparency and accountability of government programmes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Public Distribution Systems (PDS), and pensions. He is interested in social audits and questions pertaining to participatory democracy.



  • Submitted Paper: "Analysis of Payment Delays and Delay Compensation in NREGA Findings across Ten States for Two Quarters of Financial Year 2017-18." By: Rajendran Narayanan, Sakina Dhorajiwala, Rajesh Golani.
  • Submitted Paper: "Analysis of Payment Delays and Delay Compensation in NREGA Findings across Ten States for Financial Year 2016-17." By: Rajendran Narayanan, Sakina Dhorajiwala, Rajesh Golani.
  • Working Paper: "Is there such a thing as a Direct Cash Transfer" By:Vivek S., Rajendran Narayanan, Sai Chand, Dipanjan Chakraborty, Rajesh Veeraraghavan and Vibhore Vardhan
  • "On the Domain of Attraction of a Tracy-Widom Law with Applications to Testing Multiple Largest Roots", By: Didier Chetelat, Rajendran Narayanan, and Martin T. Wells.
  • "Improved Loss Estimation for Lasso: A Variable Selection Tool", Sankhya, The Indian Journal of Statistics (77-B)(45-74), 2015. By: Rajendran Narayanan and Martin T. Wells
  • "Modeling of Statistical Techniques to Improve Static Linearity of Thermometer Digital to Analog Converters Systems" IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (99), 2015. By: Ishita Mukhopadhyay, Mustansir Yunus Mukadam, Rajendran Narayanan, Frank O'Mahoney, and Alyssa B.Apsel
  • "On the Maximal Domain of Attraction of Tracy-Widom Distribution for Gaussian Unitary Ensembles", Statistics and Probability Letters 83(10):2364-2371, 2013. By: Rajendran Narayanan and Martin T. Wells
  • "Airavat: An Automated System to Increase Transparency and Accountability in Social Welfare Schemes in India". Note in the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, Cape Town, South Africa , 2013. By: Vivek Srinivasan, Vibhore Vardhan, Snigdha Kar, Siddhartha Asthana, Rajendran Narayanan, Pushpendra Singh, Dipanjan Chakraborty, Amarjeet Singh, and Aaditeshwar Seth.
  • In Defence of Activism in Universities E-QUALNEWS, Education, and Policy Making in India, Volume 3 , Issue 6 , November 2016. Reprinted and Published in
Short Story
Popular Press
Courses Taught
  • Fundamentals of Probability Theory & Statistical Inference
  • Introduction to the R Programming Language
  • Probability Theory
  • Introduction to Mathematical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking Seminar in Mathematics
  • Mathematical Statistics I
  • Probability Models and Inference
  • Statistical Computing Using the R Programming Language
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Sequential Analysis & Nonparametrics
  • Statistical Methods I
  • Introduction to Statistics

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