About me


Social Impact

The following are a few successes that organizations I worked with have had, in which I am proud to have played a role

  • Government to citizen payments in many transfer programmes often fail to reach the beneficiaries. Libtech India, a group that I founded, has helped reduce delays in payments in hundreds of thousands of cases, and we hope to have a stronger systematic impact in the times to come.
  • Enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) that followed a long campaign by the Right to Food Campaign.  I coordinated the support group of the campaign, and thus played a facilitating role. NREGA is one of India’s largest welfare programmes today.
  • Expansion of school feeding that now reaches over 110 million children in India.  Only a few states of India including Tamil Nadu and Gujarat had extensive school feeding programmes by 2001.  The right to food litigation and the campaign for school feeding led to a major expansion of the programme, and most children in government schools across India receive a noon meal today as a result of this campaign.
  • Amending India’s Constitution to make education a fundamental right: I was a part of the National Alliance for the Fundamental Right to Education (NAFRE), a coalition of over 2,400 CSOs that campaigned for amending India’s constitution to make education a fundamental right.  The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on the day when NAFRE organized its largest demonstration and was passed the next year.
  • Initiating the placement cell at the Delhi School of Economics, which has since become highly successful.

Education

Work

Publications

Book

Vivek S. (2014). Delivering Public Services Effectively: Tamil Nadu & beyond. New Delhi: Oxford University Press

Book Chapters (Peer reviewed)

Vivek Srinivasan 2008. “School Feeding as a Global Obligation.” In Global Obligation for the Right to Food, edited by George Kent. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. [Google books preview]
 
Vivek Srinivasan, and Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis. 2007. “Rights-Based Approach To Development: Lessons From The Right To Food Movement.” In Food Insecurity, Vulnerability and Human Rights Failure. Studies in Development Economics and Policy. Basingstoke: UK: Palgrave-Macmillan.
 
Vivek Srinivasan, and Sudha Narayanan. 2007. “Food Policy and Social Movements: Reflections on the Right to Food Campaign in India.” In Food Policy for Developing Countries: The Role of Government in the Global Food System. Ithaca: New York: Cornell University. [link]
 

Conferences, Newspapers & Reports

Mander, Harsh, Jean Dreze, and Vivek Srinivasan 2002. Freedom from Hunger and Fear. New Delhi: Rajiv Gandhi Centre for International Studies.
 
Vivek Srinivasan 2003a. “Notes from the Right to Food Campaign: People’s Movement for the Right to Food.” In Vol. New Delhi. Delhi: World Food Program. [link]
 
———. 2003b. “Hope in Our Hands.” Humanscape X (Xii; 10th Anniversary Series). [link]
 
———. 2009. “Exploring Linkages of Rights Based Approach to Development & the Human Development Approach.” In Human Rights and Human Development. Bombay, India: Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
 
———. 2010. “Rights Based Approach and Human Development: An Introduction”. Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
 
Vivek Srinivasan, and Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis. 2006. “Gender and the Right to Food: A Critical Reexamination.” In Gender and Food Security. Kolkata: United Nations University: World Institute of Development Economics Research.
 
[Contributor] Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Children Under Six. 2006. “Focus on Children under Six”. Delhi: Circus. [link].
 
সরকার পারে না, এটা একেবারেই ঠিক নয়.  Anand Bazaar Patrika Opinion piece, 24 April 2014 [in Bengali]
 

Current projects

  • Combating corruption with mobile phones: The project supports Civil Society Organizations working in rural India to fight corruption and improve the delivery of public services using technology. The project started in 2012 with support from Google and has been implemented in five states of India. Based on encouraging results, the project received a grant in 2017 for scaling and evaluation.
  • Mobilizing equity: The project aims to improve the effectiveness of Elected Women Representatives in rural India by creating a knowledge base that they could access on questions of governance. We are working towards a digital platform that combines features of a learning platform (with structured content) and a Q&A platform (with an emphasis on peer-led learning).

Previous initiatives

  • Massive Open Online Course on using technology to promote transparency: I was the course leader for a Massive Open Online Course that discusses ways of using technology to promote transparency and accountability. The course was offered in partnership with the National Democratic Institute and involved presentations by over a dozen leaders in this space. It was offered on Stanford Online during Aug-Oct 2016, and select teams from the course met in DC and in San Francisco for an in-person program during summer 2017.
  • Constitution Explorer, a structured database of constitutions that will help people identify how different constitutions have dealt with various problems. I started this initiative with colleagues at Stanford, and the idea was adopted half-way through the project by colleagues in the University of Chicago and University of Texas, and it is now alive as www.constituteproject.org
  • Secretariat to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food litigation: The Supreme Court of India appointed Dr. N.C. Saxena and (the late) Dr. S.R. Sankaran as commissioners in what is known as the ‘right to food litigation’. I established their secretariat and worked with them for three years. The commissioners have been instrumental in framing many of the arguments in this landmark litigation.
  • Placement Cell, Delhi School of Economics: Started an initiative to set up the placement programme at the ‘D.School’ that has since become well-established and very successful.

Invited presentations (selected)

Presentations on my work at the Right to Food Campaign: Boston University (2006), Harvard University (2006), Syracuse University (2007)

Delivering Public Services Effectively: Tamil Nadu & Beyond: Ashoka University (2016), Azim Premji University (2015), Cornell University (2014), Institute of Development Studies, UK (2015), London School of Economics (2015), Queen Elizabeth House of Oxford University (2015), Stanford University (2012, 2014, 2015), Syracuse University (2009), University of Connecticut (2012)

Presentations on technology & accountability: Asia Foundation (2011), Harvard India Conference (2014), Oxford Internet Institute (2015), Singularity University (2012), Stanford University (2011), Syracuse University (2014)

A few links to know me better

 
I am a social scientist with training in qualitative research, design thinking, and data science. These skills were acquired in leading institutions such as the Delhi School of Economics, Syracuse University, Stanford, and the University of Washington. My work experience of 15+ years spans industry, academia, non-profits, and governments with notable clients such as Facebook and Teva. I am highly skilled in UX Research methods such as field studies, rapid ethnography, one-on-one interviews, group discussions, and diary studies. I am also proficient in data analysis and surveys and love to use python packages such as Pandas, PYMC3, SciKit Learn, and PySpark for analyzing data. Beyond techniques, you will find me to have strong interpersonal and organizational skills, and the experience of working with a wide range of stakeholders – ranging from rural tribal users with low digital skills to leaders such as sales directors, CFOs, CEOs, and heads of government administrations. Do get in touch in case you are looking for a researcher with a bias for action. I am especially interested in combining my interests in User Research and Machine Learning, and would be thrilled to participate in the design of AI enabled products. You can learn more about me, my interests and my life through this website including some gossip, my research, articles I published, reflections on life as a doctoral student, etc.  Off late, I have moved away from the academia as my mainstay and have started consulting in the corporate sector.  That journey started coincided with my fatherhood, as a result of which I have not had much time to update this blog on my UXR and Python development life. I promise to get to it someday.

Considering that you have come this far in this page, it looks like you have some interest in my life.  Do come back, and I promise to keep this updated!