Vivek Srinivasan


About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.



This is the text of a presentation on the Combatting Corruption with Mobile Phones Project in Portuguese. The talk was delivered online for a conference at UFPA, Brazilian Amazon on 4 Nov 2014. Boa tarde. Meu nome é Vivek, sou um cientista social na Stanford University. Hoje, vou tentar algo muito audacioso: fazer uma apresentação em português. Isso é audacioso porque eu não falo bem o português. Eu aprendi essa língua em um curso de português que fiz por três meses há doze anos atrás. Eu preparei esta apresentação usando o google translate. Agora, você vai entender porque eu falo […]

Combater a corrupção com telefones




With days to go for the Delhi state election of 2015, a group called the Aap Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM) held a press conference to expose 4 checks of Rs. 50 lakh each (a very substantial sum) that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had got from companies that earned very little income themselves.  AVAM argued that the companies were used as a front for money laundering i.e. illegal cash was given by AAP to the company which in-turn issued a check, converting the black money to white to use in the election. Opposition parties, especially the BJP were quick to […]

AAP’s political financing controversy: My take


Aiddata .org provides over 1 million data points of information on aid flows from a large range of donors, creating an unprecedented level of transparency about international aid.  The information covers most official aid bodies (e.g. DFID, USAID, et al) and the latest version (3.0) also includes data on private charity organizations in the US and flow of remittances.  The data can be downloaded in full or visualized online.  There is also a robust API system to build apps on top of the rich database. Based on a quick review of the datasets, I feel that it would be a […]

Aiddata.org: Open data for international development


UReport Uganda is an initiative to do SMS-based polling among a large number of Ugandan citizens on different topics weekly.  The service boasts an impressive subscriber base of over 2,50,000 people as of Oct 2014.  While the base is large, the poll data on the website indicates that SMS polls are sent to a smaller subset of participants each week with responses ranging from 20-50% in the polls I reviewed. The website provides a word cloud on the basis of responses and it also provides charts in case the question of the week had multiple choice responses.  Samples of text […]

UReport Uganda



The fact that common people started becoming assertive only helps us understand why governments became more responsive to popular demands. It does not explain why public services, rather than an alternate policy agenda such as land reforms or rapid industrialization became the favoured policy. This article discusses how that agenda came to be.

Why public services & not land reforms?





In many villages, people had fought for decades to demand one amenity after another. As an activist put it, they would struggle one year and get 100 metres of road, street lights required another protest, and many basic amenities had to be gained through sustained collective action. The impact of such protests over time was to gain an impressive array of services. Such protests date back at most to the 1970s.

The root of TN’s commitment to services


My training in mainstream economics and my social background had convinced me that government programmes to address hunger were a waste of public resources. I adhered to the idea that they should be eliminated in favour of promoting economic growth. That changed in 2002 when I travelled to the Chambal Valley of Madhya Pradesh, which was suffering its third consecutive year of drought. Here is a short note on that transformation.

How I became interested in TN’s public services


Tamil Nadu is one of India's exceptional states when it comes to delivering basic public services such as schooling, child care, water, public transport and the Public Distribution System. These services reach most people in the state and the quality is remarkable, compared to most other states of India.

About Delivering public services effectively: TN & Beyond



Gates Foundation in collaboration with other organizations are building a unique identifier for philanthropic organizations across the globe.  The project is called BRIDGE (Basic Registry of Identified Global Entities).  The hope of the project is to collate information from millions of sources so as to create greater information sharing and to enhance transparency of the philanthropic sector. This interview with Victor Vrana of the Gates Foundation provides details on the ambitions of the project and how it came about.

Many organizations respond simultaneously during humanitarian crises and coordination between them is a challenge.  The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is working on information management practices for sharing and accessing information.  One component of this effort is to develop a standard vocabulary – the Humanitarian eXchange Language (HXL).  More information on the initiative can be found in the project website.

To realize the full potential of technology for transparency, we need a legal guidelines on how public data could be used. Open licensing can also have radical implications for transparency in public-private-partnerships.

Copyright and the right to information




The Open Contracting Partnership is working on a set of data standards for information on public procurement.  OCP explains the need for standards as: Governments around the world spend an estimated US $9.5 trillion every year through contracts. Yet in most countries, information about these contracts is unavailable for public scrutiny, rendering the contracting process vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. This project aims to enhance and promote disclosure and participation in public contracting by creating a simple, machine-readable and easy-to-understand open data standard. The draft document on the data standards for procurement is available for public comments and comments will be reviewed after Sept 30, […]



The INGO Accountability Charter is a commitment of international NGOs to a high standard of transparency, accountability and effectiveness.  The Charter provides the only global, fully comprehensive and cross-sectoral accountability framework for NGOs driven by NGOs. The Charter defines standards on areas of NGOs’ work, such as governance, programme effectiveness and fundraising.  International NGOs that become members of the Charter are required to report annually on fulfilling these commitments using a reporting tool developed for the purpose.  The charter outlines 10 “Accountability commitments” viz: Respect for human rights, independence, transparency, good governance, responsible advocacy, participation, diversity/inclusion, environmental responsibility, ethical fundraising […]