research and policy advocacy for health & wellbeing in India.

Sanitation

Exploring the causes and consequences of widespread open defecation in India

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Sanitation

Social Inequality

Understanding how social discrimination impacts child and maternal health in rural India

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Social Inequality

Maternal Health

Exploring challenges and policy responses to adequate nutrition in motherhood to improve child health

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Maternal Health

Environment

Understanding the health consequences of climate change and air pollution, and exploring policy responses.

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Environment

Where India Goes: Book launch and preorder on Amazon!

r.i.c.e. is delighted to announce Harper Collins’ publication in July of Dean and Diane’s new book Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development, and the Costs of Caste!

Book launch: Come for snacks and discussion at 7:20 pm, Friday 14 July at the Juniper Room of the India Habitat Centre in Delhi.

Pre-order for kindle:  The book is available for pre-order for delivery to your kindle on July 10th!  Links:

AIIS Joseph Elder Prize:  We are honored that Where India Goes has received the 2017 Joseph Elder book prize in the Indian social sciences.  Read the prize announcement here!

Foreword by Angus Deaton: r.i.c.e. is grateful to Nobel laureate economist Angus Deaton for his foreword to Where India Goes.

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An insightful article on Swachh Bharat Mission

An article in last month’s Caravan magazine covers the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission and provides sharp insight into some of the problems the program faces in rapidly reducing open defecation. Sagar, the author of the article, visited three places close to Modi – Ahmedabad, Varanasi, and villages that have been adopted by Modi under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana – places that if anything would present a rosier picture than the average. But, he says, “Most of what I saw, heard and read was not encouraging.”

An important issue that remains unaddressed by the Swachh Bharat Mission is pit emptying. In rural areas, the government promotes the use of latrines that can be emptied manually, after the fecal sludge decomposes. However, what is almost entirely ignored is that because of the persistence of beliefs in untouchability, manually emptying a latrine pit is considered by many caste Indians to be something that only a Dalit should do. By disregarding this belief and failing to try to change it, the Swachh Bharat Mission risks perpetuating manual scavenging,  a practice which is now illegal. Sagar succinctly sums it up:

“The Swachh Bharat Mission raises questions for which the government does not appear to have adequate answers. Manual scavenging exists in the yawning gap between the amount of excreta produced by India’s enormous population and the country’s existing capacity for processing it sanitarily.

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An article on rural outdoor air pollution in The Caravan!

Until now, concern and action regarding outdoor air pollution in India have focused on Delhi and other large urban centers. However, 30 percent of Indians live in rural Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which satellite images show falling under a cloud of smoke every winter. The article reports on what Nikhil and I experienced when we spent a week in Reusa block, Uttar Pradesh, last January.

Reusa has no air quality monitors. In fact, there are no government air quality monitors in rural India at all. But the portable air quality monitor that Nikhil and I took with us showed levels of air pollution that rivaled those of Delhi and Lucknow. Monitoring outdoor air quality in rural areas is essential for better understanding the problem, and bringing more attention to it’s scale.

Read the full article here.

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r.i.c.e. at PAA

Diane and I were at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America 2017 in Chicago this week. Diane presented her paper, co-authored with Ashwini Deshpande, Jeff Hammer and Dean, “Local social inequality, economic inequality, and disparities in child height in India”. I don’t have a photo of Diane presenting, but I did take one in which she was on the panel with other presenters.

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Nidhi’s article in THE WIRE!

Reservation in jobs, and in academic institution is seen as one of the most delicate issues being discussed in contemporary India. Our research fellow, Nidhi Khurana, used Social Attitudes Research for India (SARI) data to address several aspects and fallacies of the debate.

To understand more about people’s perception on reservations in jobs, and in academic institutions read this eloquent piece by Nidhi here.

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Work with r.i.c.e. and 3ie on a project to learn about latrine use measurement!

We are delighted to announce that we are seeking applications for a team to carry out a new project — in partnership with 3ie and the WASH team at the Gates Foundation — that can help us learn about how to measure latrine use in rural India!

This project will be part of the Promoting Latrine Use in Rural India Thematic Window, also in collaboration with 3ie and the Gates Foundation. The window is funding several research teams to implement and evaluate behavior change interventions that aim to promote latrine use in rural India.

The projects under this window present a unique opportunity to also learn about how to measure latrine use.  The project for which we are seeking applicants now is about testing different data collection tools across different settings in rural India to figure out which ones measure latrine use most accurately.

The Swachh Bharat Mission aims to eliminate open defecation. However, how to measure open defecation accurately is still an open question. We hope this study on measurement will provide some insight.

See more at: http://www.3ieimpact.org/en/announcements/2017/04/20/consultant-team-latrine-use-measurement-project/

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