Rajendran Narayanan

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Accountability of Public Programmes
  • Public Distribution Systems
  • Social Audits
  • Participatory Democracy


Rajendran teaches Mathematics. After completing his PhD 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 slowly been an interpolar 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 presenting relevant information in a manner that is most useful to rural beneficiaries of programmes such as NREGA. The information can then be used to conduct public hearings leading to increased democratic engagement and participation. Rajendran works with a network of researchers and activists from various civil society organisations in several states in designing and developing bottom-up” Janata Information Systems (JIS) that can be used for continuous monitoring of government programmes and social audits. He is interested in understanding what the proliferation of data and over-reliance on technological processes mean for development and participatory democracy. 

Prior to his PhD, Rajendran completed his Bachelors in Statistics (Hons), with Mathematics and Economics as ancillaries from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata followed by a Masters in Applied Statistics and Informatics from the Department of Mathematics, IIT Bombay.




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