Public Lecture by Reetika Khera on Understanding Inequality

Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences
Public Lecture Series
44th edition
in collaboration with St Joseph’s College, Azim Premji University, RV University, Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy, IIIT Bangalore

Monthly talks framed around explorations in and around archives. Discussions by artists, archivists, academics, lawyers, teachers, journalists and others.

Understanding Inequality

Reetika Khera

Friday, Dec 17 2021. 5:30pm.
St Joseph’s College Auditorium


The preamble to our Constitution is, among other solemn commitments, a pledge to secure for all Indians social, economic and political justice and equality of status and opportunity. Inequalities in India – whether we evaluate them from the lens of food, education, wealth or digital technologies – are still high and rising. Popular misconceptions about the country’s so-called middle class only obfuscate this reality. Far too many of us, in the top 20 per cent and even the top 1 per cent, falsely believe we are ‘middle class’. This misconception of the middle class is dangerous. Not just because it shields us from the stark inequality that persists but more critically because it makes us complacent and hinders true progress towards creating a more equitable and decent society.

Reetika Khera is a development economist. Her research looks at social policy in India, including health and nutrition, inequality, and the impact of digital technologies in welfare. For more than 15 years, she has also been involved in various field activities in India related to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Public Distribution System, school meals and others.

Reetika Khera is currently an Associate Professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and holds the Narendra and Chandra Singhi Chair Professor. She studied at the Delhi School of Economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) and Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (M.Phil.), with post-doctoral work at Princeton University. She is widely published in both academic journals and in the media on topics ranging from food security to elections in India. Earlier this year, she was selected for the prestigious Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for her distinguished contributions to development studies.

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.