research and policy advocacy for health & wellbeing in India.


Exploring the causes and consequences of widespread open defecation in India

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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


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

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New SARI datasets!

I am so pleased to announce the release of three new SARI datasets from Maharasthra, Jharkhand, and Bihar! You can download the data here after entering your name, email address, and occupation.

Please join me in congratulating Payal, Nazar, and Nidhi on this fantastic data collection and preparation work, and also in thanking the SARI surveyors Bharati Kadam, Gunjan Kumari, Kailash Kumar, Kavita Naik, Laxmi Saini, Nisarg Jagtap, Poonam Saini, Pragati Pandurang Desai, Pramod Rajak, Rohini Hanbartii, Sachin Shere, Sanita Sutar, Sharmili Karkar, and Vivek Koli.  We are so grateful for your hard work!

The Bihar, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra samples of SARI were collected in 2018 and include questions on the following topics:

  1. religion & caste
  2. sanitation
  3. gender
  4. reservations
  5. intermarriage between people of different castes
  6. aadhaar & government benefits
  7. untouchability
  8. household assets
  9. mental health
  10. beef eating & violence against Muslims
  11. compassion for the poor
  12. knowledge about reservations & opinions on policies
  13. attitudes towards meat eating
  14. violence against spouse
  15. medical abortion
  16. experience of discrimination
  17. class identification
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Dean, Diane, Sangita and Nikhil feature in a video made to honour Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

Dean, Diane, Sangita and Nikhil feature in a video project by Chandrakant Agame at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, Lonere, as part of his work as the Literature Secretary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Anniversary Committee.

In this video celebrating the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar, they talk briefly about his work on Indian society and caste, and how that has influenced r.i.c.e’s research in understanding the health and wellbeing of children in rural India.

Watch the entire video which features several prominent scholars and activists from various fields here.


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Dean’s new book on air pollution and climate change is out!

Dean’s new book on air pollution and climate change, “Air: Pollution, Climate Change, and India’s Choice Between Policy and Pretence,” is out!  You can get a Kindle copy here and a print copy here.

Please share it widely online and in person!

From everyone at r.i.c.e., “Congratulations, Dean!”  We are so excited to read this in book form!

Here’s the summary on the book jacket to pique your interest:

India’s air pollution is a deadly threat.  Will its politics meet the challenge?

Hundreds of millions of Indians live and die exposed to the world’s worst air pollution.  The harms are worse than you think.  Because pollution hurts growing children, it threatens the health and economy of the next generation.  No family can save itself from the collective danger of pollution.  That is the task of governments — which instead have enacted showy, ineffective policies while neglecting even to measure the problem.

With a smart package of policies, India could have healthier air.  In fact, some strategies could improve air pollution today, while also reducing India’s deep vulnerability to future climate change. 

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Willingness to sacrifice for Climate mitigation: r.i.c.e’s new research now available

A new research paper by Diane, Payal and Dean that studies people’s willingness to sacrifice to achieve climate mitigation is out now!

Using representative data from round 2 of the Social Attitudes Research, India (SARI), this paper finds that people are willing to accept some electricity cuts to prevent climate damages and the demand curve slopes down, meaning that fewer respondents are willing to accept larger costs of mitigation. Moreover, people who reported that temperatures are increasing and that this is bad were more likely to report being willing to accept electricity cuts for mitigation than those who either did not report that temperatures are increasing or did not report that this is bad.

Find more about the paper and a downloadable link here

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N-ISSUP publishes a short article on Diane’s research on neonatal mortality and facility birth in India

N-ISSUP, the online magazine of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, published a short article based on Diane’s paper “The association between neonatal death and facility birth in regions of India” published in the Demographic Research.

The article summarizes the main finding of the paper that there is important heterogeneity in the association between neonatal death (NNM) and hospital birth across regions in India. The country contributes more NNM to the global NNM than any other country in the world, yet the NNM of 30 per 1000 births masks wide spatial variations. For example, among states with more than 25 million people, Uttar Pradesh had the highest NNM at 45 per 1000, and Kerala had the lowest at 4 per 1000.

Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims to reduce global neonatal mortality (NNM) to 12 deaths per 1,000 births by 2030. Reducing NNM in India is critical to this goal because it accounts for 27% of global neonatal deaths. Diane suggests that it would be worthwhile for future research to compare how delivery and postpartum care practices differ across different regions in India.

Find more on this and a downloadable link of the original paper from our earlier blog post.

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The Wire bulletin covers r.i.c.e’s research on the solid fuel use and LPG ownership.

The Wire covered r.i.c.e’s new research on the persistence of solid fuel use despite increases in LPG ownership[report runs from 00 to 4:30 mins]. Here are some points covered in the bulletin:

The Pradhanmantri Ujjawal Yojna is often presented as a grand success, particularly in the ongoing election season. Most beneficiaries under the scheme, however, are forced to use traditional chulha for cooking.

A new research study by r.i.c.e finds that over 85 per cent of Ujjawala beneficiaries’ resort to using the traditional chulha because of the financial burden involved in refilling the gas cylinder.

The study conducted in the second half of 2018 in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh visited over 1550 households to understand more about the impact of Ujjawal scheme. These four states account for about 40 per cent of the total rural population of India.

Launched in 2016, the government provides a gas cylinder, regulator, and pipe for free, and gives loans to households for the stove and the gas in the first cylinder under the Ujjawala scheme. According to the central government, over 60 million families have benefitted from it; the current study found that 76 per cent of households in these parts of rural India have benefitted from this scheme.

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Check out our new research study on the persistence of soild fuel use despite increases in LPG ownership!

Exposure to air pollution has important consequences for public health. Several studies have held that a major source of air pollution exposure in rural India is the use of solid fuels, such as dung cakes and wood, for cooking and heating. High levels of indoor air pollution can kill infants, get in the way of healthy child development, and contribute to heart and lung disease.

In May 2016, the Indian government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which aims to promote the use of clean cooking fuel in rural India. Reducing the use of solid fuels is an important public health goal because it would reduce exposure to harmful indoor air pollution.  The central government claimed that by December 2018, 6 crore households had received access to LPG through the Ujjwala Yojana, and that 90% of all Indian households owned an LPG cylinder and stove.

An important question to be asking is how successful have these government initiatives been in reducing solid fuel use in rural India? This article addresses this question using data from a 2018 survey on fuel use which revisited households originally visited in 2014 in rural Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

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