Publications & Resources

Our faculty, students and researchers work together everyday to contribute to a better world by grappling with urgent problems we are facing in India. We conduct rigorous work to produce high quality learning resources and publications to contribute to public discourse and social change. Here, we feature a sample from our work for everyone to access. You can explore featured resources, policies, and the latest publications from the University. 

To explore all the work of our University, please visit our publications repository.

  • Landscape and Urban Planning
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    Urban wetlands are well-known to provide multiple ecosystem services and are essential for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The management practices of local institutions are strongly influential on the sustainability outcomes of urban wetlands, yet the beliefs and value systems underlying distinct management approaches have not been studied thoroughly. Therefore, this study aims to elucidate the perceptions of local stakeholders regarding the ecosystem services provided by urban wetlands, their linkages to the SDGs, and pertinent threats to the wetlands, to reveal the connections between local awareness and sustainable management practices. Using the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) in India as a case study, we used a mixed-method approach to interview 120 local stakeholders associated with two differentially managed wetland systems – community and private. Our results demonstrate that the community wetlands are more socially inclusive in nature than the private wetlands. The private users emphasized economic benefits and livelihood security above all, whereas the community users strongly valued diverse provisioning services and cultural services in addition to the livelihood security. Further, community users identified a greater number of ecosystem services as contributing toward the SDGs relative to private users. We suggest that sustainable development strategies consult and incorporate the perceptions of local community wetland management groups, as these management practices are rooted in more comprehensive value systems and are more aligned with sustainable outcomes. These insights reveal the importance of local awareness of ecosystem services, and may be of value to urban planners and policymakers working toward sustainable urban management.

    Authors: Sukanya Basu, Harini Nagendra, Peter Verburg, Tobias Plieninger

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  • SWI FINAL cover page
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    The Indian story of economic growth and structural transformation has been one of significant achievements as well as continuing challenges. On the one hand, the economy has grown rapidly since the 1980s, drawing millions of workers out of agriculture. And the proportion of salaried or regular wage workers has risen while that of casual workers has fallen. On the other hand, manufacturing has failed to expand its share of GDP or employment significantly. Instead, construction and informal services have been the main job creators. Further, the connection between growth and good jobs continues to be weak.

    Report Files

    Full report – download revised pdf file, see corrections sheet for changes made to earlier version.

    Executive Summary (pdf)

    Results Appendix (spreadsheet)

    Figure data (spreadsheet)

    All figures (pdf)

    Tables (spreadsheet)

    Press Release (English | Hindi | Kannada)

    Media Coverage (spreadsheet)

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  • Image The Impact of Covid 19 on Bengalurus Urban Poor Mar 2023 Page 01
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    Azim Premji University, in collaboration with 9 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), conducted a survey of 3,000 households in 92 low-income settlements across 39 wards of Bengaluru. The survey was done to estimate the continuing impact of COVID-19 induced lockdowns and economic disruptions on employment and livelihoods. The survey also captured information on access to government support as well as coping mechanisms to deal with such a crisis. Workers in a wide range of occupations such as drivers (cab, auto, and others), daily wage workers (construction and others), domestic workers, and factory workers (garment and others) were surveyed. The survey was conducted in the month of November 2021 with the help of Action Aid, Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), The Center for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), Hasiru Dala, Gubbachi, Reaching Hand, Sangama, Swabhimaan Trust, and Thamate.

    Media coverage

    – Print

    – Online

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  • Tnpsc report 2 Page 001
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    In India, as in many countries around the world, most government jobs are allocated through a system of merit-based exams. Over the past few decades, these exams have become incredibly competitive, at times receiving over 1,000 applications for each vacancy.

    Against a backdrop of rising educational attainment, high aspirations, disappointment with private sector opportunities, and a deep unmet need for income security, it is understandable why the demand for public sector employment opportunities is so high.

    Yet despite the large footprint that public sector recruitments have in our social, economic and political life, many basic questions about them remain shrouded in mystery. Who applies? Why do they apply? Are these intense levels of competition socially productive, or do they make people worse off? Why are people willing to invest so much in exam preparation? Why are people willing to gamble on such low odds of getting selected?

    Our lack of understanding limits our ability to formulate sound labour market policy. As we will see, a large share of college graduates participate in public sector recruitment exams, and candidates for these exams make up a disproportionate share of the overall unemployed population. How can we improve employment outcomes if we do not understand who the unemployed are and how they invest their time?

    The main reason for the holes in our understanding is a lack of data. To date, neither private nor public household surveys include questions on whether individuals are preparing for competitive exams; and recruitment agencies have historically been cloistered institutions, understandably concerned about protecting the integrity of the recruitment process. As a result, the crores of candidates preparing for competitive exams around the country remain largely invisible in data, and by extension in policy.

    This report attempts to shine a light on this dark corner of the labour market. To do so, the researcher uses several new sources of data. First, he draws on administrative data from a recruitment agency. This data allows us to observe the whole recruitment process for the entire universe of applicants — the first time such data has been made available in the Indian context. 

    Second, the researcher uses data from a large-scale survey of over 3,000 candidates, which provides information about their investments in exam preparation, their access to resources, their constraints, and their beliefs. 

    Third, the research collaborators and the researcher conducted interviews and focus groups with candidates to better understand them in their own words. These rich data sources provide new insights into the economic and social life of candidates preparing for competitive exams.

    The goal of this report is to demonstrate how both labour market and recruitment policy can be informed by a better understanding of candidate application behaviour. This understanding can, in turn, help us tackle some of the key challenges in the modern Indian labour market — high levels of educated unemployment, a lack of skill development, low levels of female labour force participation, and more.

    Download the report here

    Summary Articles:

    VoxDev: The costs of extreme competition for government jobs: Evidence from India

    Ideas for India: The costs of extreme competition for government jobs

    Further Reading:

    Mangal, Kunal (2022a), How much are government jobs in developing countries worth?.” Download here.
    Mangal, Kunal (2022b), The long-run costs of highly competitive exams for government jobs.” Download here.

    FAQs:

    Are the statistics in the report official?

    Although the report uses official data, the statistics in the report were not computed by TNPSC. Therefore, none of these statistics are official, and any errors in processing the data are entirely my own.

    Is the report written in affiliation with any coaching center?

    No. We are academic researchers. No one who was involved in either collecting and analyzing the data had any affiliation with a coaching center.

    Will the report be available in Tamil?

    We hope to be able to provide a Tamil summary of the report in the near future.

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  • Employment guarantee during Covid 19 Role of MGNREGA in the year after the 2020 lockdown
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    This study examines the performance of MGNREGA during the Covid-19 pandemic in eight blocks across four states of India, viz. Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. MGNREGA functioning is analysed along the following dimensions: overall impressions of the programme among job card holding households, extent of unmet demand, wage payments, changes in programme functioning during the pandemic, and effectiveness of MGNREGA as a safety net. The blocks were chosen from a list of blocks in which Civil Society Organisations part of the NREGA Consortium are working. All blocks on this list were ranked based on their performance in MGNREGA as reflected in the Management Information System (MIS). Highest and lowest ranked blocks were chosen in each state and are referred to as high performing and low performing blocks in the study The blocks chosen were — Phulparas (Madhubani) and Chhatapur (Supaul) in Bihar, Bidar (Bidar) and Devadurga (Raichur) in Karnataka, Khalwa (Khandwa) and Ghatigaon (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, and Wardha (Wardha) and Surgana (Nashik) in Maharashtra. A two stage random sampling was followed in the chosen blocks. In the first stage, five Gram Panchayats (GP) were randomly chosen in each block based on the Census 2011 list. In the second stage, 50 households were randomly selected in each GP from the MGNREGA MIS list of job card holders. The sampling method ensures representativeness of the results at the block level for all job card holding households. The survey was conducted in November-December 2021. Two reference periods were employed. The first covered the pre-Covid financial year (April 2019 to March 2020) and the second covered the Covid financial year (April 2020 to March 2021). This also includes executive summary of the report.

    Download full report here

    Download Executive Summary here (English, Kannada, Hindi).

    Download Press Release here (English, Kannada, Hindi).

    Download slides of key results

    Press coverage of report findings

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  • FPC 2022 Azim Premji University
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    This report examines the changes in the producer company landscape in the last two years by analysing data on producer companies registered in the country from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021. The report examines changes in geographical spread and capitalization of producer companies in the last two years, in order to determine the extent to which the gaps in the previous promotion efforts have been addressed. It also analyses recent policies to understand their impact on the producer company ecosystem. The report identifies five focus areas to enable the sector to reach its full potential in enhancing the incomes and reducing the vulnerabilities of small producers.

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  • Mpg compendium cover page
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    Eight essays in this compendium, written by experts with long years of experience in administration and academic research take a critical view of governance responses during the three waves of Covid-19 pandemic in India and recommend measures to address governance challenges that India is likely to face after the pandemic. The essays survey the institutional, procedural, legal, and socio-political implications of the Union and the State Governments’ responses to the pandemic-induced crisis in a range of areas such as public health, education, environmental regulation, urban planning, management of vital statistics and reliance on technology-based solutions. A series of policy recommendations have been made in each of these domains to address the problems that the pandemic has left behind, and to make the governance system and processes better equipped for any such future catastrophe.

    The compendium has been brought out jointly by the School of Policy and Governance (SPG) at Azim Premji University, and the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), which is a is a group of retired officers of the All-India Services and Central Services.

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  • USENET Report Final for Release images 1
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    We cannot achieve the demographic dividend unless we create jobs for millions of youth. There are multiple forces – thirteen of them identified in this report — working against employment growth in India from both supply side and the demand side. It is proven that large enterprises create very few jobs. Even these few jobs are created for educated youth. Only Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) can create large number of jobs across India for workers with wide range of skills and education. Out of a total of just over 63 million enterprises in the MSME sector, 62 million are informal micro and very small enterprises (MSEs). Of these, single worker firms (own-account) are 40 million, firms with 2 to 5 workers are 22 million and firms with more than 5 but less than 10 are estimated at 1 million. 107.6 million workers (97% of all employment in the MSME sector) are in this MSE segment. These MSEs, surprisingly, are more rural than urban — 51% are in rural India. Women-owned firms accounted for 20 % of all enterprises, 16 % of all workers and 9 % of aggregate value-added. There is a huge potential to grow these women owned enterprises. MSEs are the most important segment of the Indian Economy if we want to achieve GDP and Employment growth. Moreover, many of these enterprises are closely aligned with households, particularly in location and ownership. These enterprises play a pivotal role in linking the formal and the informal sector through value chains. We don’t need more micro-enterprises or more single-person firms. Instead, we need to scale-up these existing MSEs. How can we do this? By creating a support system which will make these MSEs go digital, grow in scale and increase their productivity. This will automatically create jobs The Udyog Sahayak Enterprise Network (USENET) proposed in this report is that support system. Why a support system? Because it is not possible to educate millions of the MSE entrepreneurs to become digital experts. Why now? Because India and the world are going digital. In the digital marketplace small can compete better and grow.

    Download Policy Proposal Here.

    Read media coverage here.

    Realising India’s demographic dividend requires a focused policy approach for employment generation. Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) can create millions of jobs, across India, for workers with wide range of skills and education. Out of a total of just over 63 million enterprises in the MSME sector, 62 million are informal micro and very small enterprises (MSEs). We do not need more micro-enterprises. Instead we need to help existing MSEs to grow in size. We can do this by creating a support system which enables them to go digital, avail of government schemes, adopt new technologies, and increase productivity. This will create millions of new jobs.

    This report is a first of its kind collaboration between Azim Premji University, FICCI, and TISS-Mumbai. It proposes the creation of an Udyog Sahayak Enterprise Network (USENET) at the national level. USENET is a support system for MSEs that will improve Ease of Doing Business for micro and small entrepreneurs. Udyog Sahayak Enterprises will take servcies such as digitisation and formalisation, availing of government loans, subsidies or other benefits, ensuring compliance with local, regional, and national regulation, aiding partnership with digital marketing platforms and digital payment platforms, to the MSEs at their doorstep.

    Media Coverage


    Press Coverage USENET Report Release
    The Times of India: Support system to up ease of doing business
    The Economic Times: Azim Premji University, FICCI, TISS, roll out plan for employmenet generation in MSME sector
    ETAuto: Policy proposal for employment generation, scale-up in MSME sector
    Business Today: FICCI, Azim Premji University recommend 18 lakh Udyog Sahayak Enterprises network to assist MSEs

    The Hindu: Draft policy to help grow nano, micro enterprises
    The Hindu Businessline: Set up USENET centres micro, small enterprises’ 

    The New Indian Express: Micro firms can create 10.3 million jobs: Report
    The Statesman: Azim Premji University, FICCI and TISS form policy proposal for employment generation for MSMEs
    Telangana Today: USENET could help MSMEs scale up
    The New Indian Express – Edex Live: This network for MSEscan help create 56 million new jobs in 10 years. Here’s how
    UNI: Azim Premji University, FICCI, TISS come out with new USENET policy for creating one crore job
    The Hans India: Azim Premji varsity, FICCI, TISS roll out plan to generate jobs in MSME sector
    SME Times: Report proposes ease of doing biz for MSEs
    Nagaland Post: Policy proposal to scale up MSME sector

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  • Swi21 cover
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    When the pandemic hit, the Indian economy was already in the most prolonged slowdown in recent decades. On top of this, there were legacy problems such as a slow rate of job creation and lack of political commitment to improving working conditions which trapped a large section of the workforce without access to any employment security or social protection.

    The pandemic has further increased informality and led to a severe decline in earnings for the majority of workers resulting in a sudden increase in poverty. Women and younger workers have been disproportionately affected. Government relief has helped avoid the most severe forms of distress, but the reach of support measures is incomplete, leaving out some of the most vulnerable workers and households.

    The report was released on 5 May 2021- you can watch the recording of the online event here.

    Report Files

    Executive Summary (pdf)

    Figure data (spreadsheet)

    Tables (spreadsheet)

    Press Release (English | Hindi | Kannada | Marathi)

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  • Microsoft Word CII Report Employment Livelihoods Edited
    Published
    Authors

    Abstract

    This report essentially takes stock of the employment conditions prevailing in the Indian economy prior to the pandemic and then goes on to delineate the impact of COVID-19 on lives and livelihoods. It also charts a possible policy path forward to address both short-term and long-term challenges of livelihood and employment. The focus is primarily on the non-farm economy while analysis and policy recommendations are at the national level.

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  • Loss of learning
    Published
    Authors

      Abstract

      School closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to complete disconnect from education for the vast majority of children or inadequate alternatives like community based classes or poor alternatives in the form of online education, including mobile phone-based learning.

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    • Stories of change
      Published
      Authors
      • School of Development

      Abstract

      Modern India has a history of a vibrant and active social sector. Many local development organisations, community organisations, social movements and non-governmental organisations populate the space of social action. Such organisations imagine a different future and plan and implement social interventions at different scales, many of which have lasting impact on the lives of people and society. However, their efforts and, more importantly, the learning from these initiatives remains largely unknown not only in the public sphere but also in the worlds of development practice’ and development education’. This shortfall impedes the process of learning and growth across interventions, organisations and time.

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    • Screenshot 31
      Published
      Authors

      Abstract

      On the 25th of March 2020, the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, announced a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. The decision, while imminent, was unplanned and unilaterally made without any consultation with the state governments. This has consequently caught millions of migrant workers and the bureaucracy off-guard, leaving them no time to plan for such an emergency. While millions of migrants successfully reached their home states, only to be quarantined in camps, many remain stranded far from home, with no money or food. We are therefore confronting a lethal combination of crises: health, hunger, sanitation, and trauma, both physical and psychological.

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    • Farmer Producer Companies: Past, Present and Future
      Published
      Authors

      Abstract

      Eighty-seven percent of agricultural households in India are small and marginal producers, cultivating small plots which generate low returns. Their average monthly income is Rs 6426, making farming on small plots economically unviable (NSSO 2014). Therefore, policy makers and practitioners are turning to producer collectives as a means for improving the economic situation of small producers.

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    • Report

      State of Working India 2019

      in Azim Premji University

      SWI2019 Front
      Published
      Authors

      Abstract

      To contribute to the critical matter of India creating just and sustainable employment, the University has set up the Centre for Sustainable Employment (CSE), which conducts and supports research in areas of work, labour, and employment. The University is attempting to provide empirically grounded, analytical reflections on the state of work and workers in India, as well as to evaluate and propose policies that aim to create sustainable jobs. To this end the University also gives grants to create new knowledge in the above areas. It also hosts a working paper series to which contributions are invited from researchers, policy-makers, civil society actors, and journalists. The University’s CSE website is an important part of this agenda. In addition to research papers and policy briefs, it hosts government reports, as well as data and statistics on the Indian labour market. This also includes executive summary of the report.
       

      State of Working India 2019 consists of labour market trends between 2016 and 2018, and four policy papers around the theme of employment generation.

      Download Full Report

      Executive Summary

      Release event: Presentation and panel discussion

      State of Working India 2019 Release Event Part One — YouTube

      State of Working India 2019 Release Event Part Two — YouTube

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    • Microenterprises in India
      Published
      Authors

      Abstract

      Microenterprises have been the engines of job growth in the majority of dynamic economies. India is home to thousands of microenterprise clusters as well as millions of distributed entrepreneurs who can become job creators. Fostering of such mass-entrepreneurship is key to addressing India’s employment challenge. Case studies of clusters in general, and of women entrepreneurs in particular, show that if key factors such as collective action, infrastructure, credit, and market linkages are in place, returns to entrepreneurship are vastly improved. Inspirational stories are also emerging in the use of fourth industrial revolution technologies to improve access to markets and enter global value chains in a way that awards greater agency to women entrepreneurs.

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    • Report

      Published
      Authors

        Abstract

        The Karnataka Crime Victimisation Survey report is based on the findings of a crime victimisation survey undertaken by Azim Premji University with the assistance of independent field investigators in 2017. The main objective of the survey was to understand the scope and nature of crime in the state and to analyse the extent to which the National Crime Records Bureau records capture the rate of crime in Karnataka. 

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      • crpe-politics-scoeity-2019cover
        Published
        Authors

          Abstract

          The problems of India’s development and governance are routinely linked to the logic of India’s electoral democracy. As a result, a great deal is known about elections, but paradoxically our knowledge of politics and society between elections is relatively underdeveloped. As much as anything else, development and governance outcomes are shaped by how the government functions between elections; including how it relates to citizens on a regular basis, how it provides routine public services to them, and how public order is maintained. Further, governance processes are nested in the social and political relationships between citizens and government functionaries.

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        • Report

          State of Working India 2018

          in Azim Premji University

          SWI 2018 Front
          Published
          Authors

          Abstract

          India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. To be a stable and prosperous democracy, this growth must be accompanied by the creation of meaningful, secure and remunerative employment. Realising this goal requires a grounded and comprehensive overview of the state of labour markets, employment generation, demographic challenges and the nature of growth.

          The State of Working India (SWI) is envisioned as a regular publication that delivers well-researched, analytically useful information on India’s labour market, by bringing together researchers, journalists, civil society activists, and policymakers interested in labour and employment issues.

          The report is based on the research of CSE staff, as well as on background papers which are available online. SWI conceives of India’s ongoing structural transformation as composed of two processes — movement of workers from agriculture to non-farm occupations (the Kuznets process) and from informal activities to formal ones (the Lewis process). But it adds crucial considerations of social equity and ecological sustainability to this standard framework. In the 21st century, Lewis and Kuznets have to meet Ambedkar and Gandhi.


          Report Documents

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        • Issues in Education Vol 1 cover page
          Authors

            Abstract

            Education is fundamental to every society in many ways. It is the most organised process for economic, social and cultural development. It is also a systematic effort of a society to progress towards its ideals. In the case of India, to bring to life the vision and values of the Constitution. For a democratic society, a vibrant public education system is foundational.

            Our Series on Issues in Education aims to bring into focus educational matters that are important for the improvement of the education system in India. It will attempt to connect to the reality of education on the ground, which is often complex and defies any kind of clear narrative and definitive conclusions.

            This series emerges from the deep presence of Azim Premji Foundation in 50 disadvantaged districts in the country and our work with school systems in over 15 States and the Government of India. We bring to bear our 19 years of experience in working directly and continuously with over a million public schools, teachers and education leaders. The first volume in this series is on teachers and teacher education.

            In this volume, we look at the functioning of teacher education institutions, examine the kind of support that teachers in the public system receive and understand the conditions within which teachers work.

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          • Frontline workers cover
            Authors

            Abstract

            Aren’t we frontline warriors?’ asks a community health worker in a webinar that we had organised in May 2020 where grassroots health care workers were at the centre stage sharing their experience of working during COVID-19.1 This question resonates with several other community health workers who have been braving their lives against all odds to protect the communities against COVID-19. Yet a sense of lack of recognition of their contributions distinctly looms large! The idea of this compendium arises from the felt need of the community health workers to be heard. It was evident during the webinar that spaces for sharing such experiences are few while opportunities for garnering support and shared learning are many.

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          • UHC Cover
            Authors

            Abstract

            The report is based on the data drawn from detailed interactions with civil society organisations working on urban health in different cities and town across geographies including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Surat, Lucknow, Guwahati, Ranchi, Delhi etc., inputs from health officials in select cities, analysis of select data bases including NFHS, Census of India, government websites and secondary literature on urban health. 

            The report focuses on:

            a) Understanding the health vulnerabilities of the urban poor 

            b) Availability, accessibility, cost and quality of health care facilities and challenges therein 

            c) Propose possible pathways towards fixing the gaps in urban health care governance and provisioning. It also outlines the detailed provision and governance of health care in four different cities and towns including Bengaluru (Tier I), Thiruvananthapuram (Tier II), Raipur (Tier III) and Davanagere (Tier III).

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          • Issues in Education Vol 2 21 Aug 23 web version cover page
            Authors

              Abstract

              The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented situation, which resulted in prolonged school closure in India and across the world. Schools were fully or partially closed in India for over two years, among the longest periods in any country. Governments responded as best as they could, primarily through enabling education using technology. However, given the nature of digital divide in the country and the lack of readiness of teachers, these efforts were suboptimal at best. Further, while face to face learning was not possible, some efforts at teacher-driven community-based learning were made. However well-meaning, these efforts could not prevent the loss of curricular learning for the period schools were closed as well as loss of learning or forgetting what had been learnt before schools were closed. At the same time, the efforts of teachers during these difficult times must be noted. Despite these severe unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, it was the concerted effort of engaged and motivated teachers that provided rays of hope. As frontline professionals who are the best positioned to understand, empathise, and devise innovative and consistent approaches to the challenges faced by the children who come to their schools, many teachers across the country showed how the seemingly insurmountable problems of the pandemic could also be addressed. Like other frontline workers across government departments, many engaged teachers across the country ignored the fear’ of the pandemic and took it as their professional calling to devise ways and means to stay connected with the children from their schools and communities, offering what they only can do to help children stay connected with schools and learning processes even during multiple adversities they were facing. This volume brings together a series of studies done during the pandemic. It is an attempt to document and to highlight the unique challenges of the situation as well as efforts to overcome these challenges.

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