RESEARCH

My research combines bodies of scholarship and practice that come together in the field of Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICT4D). I have leveraged my technical training (having worked as a software developer for nearly a decade) and my broad-based social-science training to develop technology-enabled information interventions, employing a method that is half participant observation, half interventionist activism. First, I am developing technology-enabled information interventions to improve accountability that respects the potential and limits of such interventions within particular cultural and institutional contexts. Second, I am critically examining the role of algorithms, artificial intelligence and technology in devising better mechanisms for governance and socio-economic development. In other words, I want to both engage in struggle through criticism as well as constructive development using data and communicative technologies.

Journal Articles

Vivek, S., Narayanan, R., Chakraborty, D., Veeraraghavan, R., Vardhan, V. Are Technology-enabled Cash Transfers Really 'Direct'? Economic and Political Weekly, July 28, 2018. [PDF]

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh. Strategies for Synergy in a High Modernist Project: Two Community Responses to India’s NREGA Rural Work Program. November, 2017. World Development Volume 99, Pages 203-213. [PDF]

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Yasodhar, N., Toyama, K. Warana Unwired: Replacing PCs with Mobile Phones in a Rural Sugarcane Cooperative. Information Technologies & International Development, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp 81-95, Spring 2009.

Gandhi, R., Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Toyama, K., Ramprasad, V. Digital Green: Participatory Video for Agricultural Extension. Information Technologies & International Development, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp1-15, Spring 2009

Kaplan, A., Schmerl, B., and Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Toward Automated Support for Transparent Interoperable Queries. Journal of Information Technology and Management, Vol. 3(4):387- 406, October 2002.

Conference Proceedings (Peer Reviewed)

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh. Seeing with Paper: Government Documents and Material Participation.Documents and work track. (authorship equally shared with Finn, M. and Srinivasan, J.) HICCS. Hawaii, January 2014. (Best Paper Award under Digital and Social Media Category)

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh. Dealing with the Digital Panopticon: The Use and Subversion of ICT in an Indian Bureaucracy. IEEE/ACM Int’l Conf. on Information & Communication Technologies for Development, Cape Town, South Africa, December 2013

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Yasodhar, N., Toyama, K. Warana Unwired: Replacing PCs with Mobile Phones in a Rural Sugarcane Cooperative. IEEE/ACM Int’l Conf. on Information & Communication Technologies for Development, Bangalore, India, December 2007.

 Gandhi, R., Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Toyama, K., Ramprasad, V. Digital Green: Participatory Video for Agricultural Extension. IEEE/ACM Int’l Conf. on Information & Communication Technologies for Development, Bangalore, India, December 2007. 

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Singh, G., Toyama, K. and Menon, D. (poster, 2006). Kiosk Usage Measurement using a Software Logging Tool, IEEE/ACM Int’l Conf. on Information & Communication Technologies for Development, Berkeley, USA, 2006. 

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Singh, G., Pitti, B., Smith, G., Meyers, B and Toyama, K. (2005). Towards Accurate Measurement of Computer Usage in a Rural Kiosk. Third International Conference on Innovative applications of Information Technology for Developing World Asian Applied Computing Conference, Kathmandu, Nepal, December 2005.

Articles Under Review:

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Cat and Mouse Game: The Politics of Technology Use within a Bureaucracy.

Veeraraghavan, Rajesh., Is there such a thing as a Technology enabled “direct” cash transfer?. (With Vivek Srinivasan, Rajendran Narayanan, Vibhore Vardhan)

Research Projects

Warana Unwired, Principal investigator (2005-2007) The project started as an ethnographic field-work to understand the existing technology project, which later turned into an inter- ventionist project. The project intended to replace a set of rural PC-kiosks designated for an agricultural cooperative by a less expensive mobile-phone system. The underlying technology involved a PC turned into a SMS gateway along with low-cost SMS-enabled mobile phones as client devices. I conceived, coordinated the design and deployment and evaluation of the project. 

Digital Green - Digital Agricultural Extension System, Co-principal investigator with Rikin Gandhi (2006-2007) Digital Green is an agricultural educational project that seeks to benefit rural farmers by giving specific targeted advice from extension agents, NGOs, and other farmers by using digital videos. I conceived the project and worked with Rikin to develop the initial prototype. I also played a key role in raising initial grant money from the Gates Foundation to scale the initiative. The research project which started at Microsoft Research India is has now spun out as a separate foundation working with rural communities in India and Africa. I continue providing leadership as a Board Member. 

Computers in Agriculture in rural India – An ethnographic study (Summer 2005) Collabo- rator: Prof. Kenneth Keniston(MIT) and Prof. Balaji Parthasarathy(IIIT Bangalore) Arguably, the most frequently imagined use of computers in agrarian villages is checking market prices for grains. But, what is the real contribution of computing technology to rural agriculture? How are computers integrated into the agricultural supply/distribution chain? We investi- gated this question and others, through extended site visits to communities where informa- tion technology is applied to agriculture. The work from this led to an interventionist project described above (Warana Unwired) 

Digital Urban Observatory: Mapping Unequal Access to Public Services in New Delhi, In- dia (Collaborators: Patrick Heller (Brown University), Bhawani Buswala (Brown University), Partha Mukhopadhyay (Center for Policy research). 

Combating Corruption using Mobile Phones, Program on Liberation Technology, Stanford University (2012-current) (Collaborators: Vivek Srinivasan, Vibhore Vardhan and Rajendran Narayanan) This project seeks to provide citizens living in rural India with relevant infor- mation about changing government practices and public records through mobile phones to foster local public action. Our research strategy combines randomized controlled trials with qualitative methods to understand the effects on corruption. I am a research partner for this effort and the work is partly in my dissertation field site, so I am able to lend support to the research and the institutional agendas of the project. 

Community Radio for Agriculture in Africa, a feasibility study: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Summer 2008 Reviewed grant proposals, interacted with practioners, attended conferences to develop the community radio based agricultural extension strategy for the Gates foundation. 

SMS-based Mobile Auction for Commodity Exchange, principal investigator (2006) Inves- tigated an SMS-based mobile auction system to extend the reach of a commodity exchange market (SAFAL) to be able to connect with remote traders. We ultimately decided not to build this. 

Kiosk Logging Tool, principal investigator (2005) With an effort to quantitatively understand what people do in rural kiosks; we have adapted an existing key-logger to be able to anony- mously monitor kiosk usage. 

Toward Automated Support for Transparent Interoperable Queries (Master’s Thesis) Col- laborators: Alan Kaplan, Bradley Schmerl We proposed and developed a toolset to provide interoperability support that allows application developers to seamlessly and transparently access non-Java Object Oriented Databases (OODBs) from Java applications. Our approach involves embedding statements written in an object query language (called JOQL) into Java applications that are used to query C++ based OODBs. 

Research Assistant, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India (1994) Participated in a customer service appraisal for State Bank of India. I was part of the team conducting the survey.