J-PAL Asia del Sur

J-PAL South Asia, based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in India, leads J-PAL’s work in the South Asia region. J-PAL South Asia conducts randomised evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programmes.

We have a growing number of partnerships in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In 2011, we were selected to host the South Asia Center for CLEAR, a global initiative coordinated by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. Under this initiative, we host a knowledge sharing roundtable series and equip practitioners with the expertise to carry out rigorous evaluations through training courses, advisory services, and joint research projects.

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Message from J-PAL South Asia Executive Director, Shobhini Mukerji

Shobhini Mekerji In March 2020, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the imposition of a nationwide lockdown in India prompted an overhaul of even longstanding institutional structures. Public school systems reckoned with prolonged school closures and government social security ecosystems as well as public health apparatuses faced their toughest stress test in living memory. 

While early 2021 brought with it a reduction in the number of daily cases, this respite was short lived. As of April 2021, rising numbers of Covid-19 infections in India have sent shockwaves across the country and pushed the country’s health infrastructure to the brink. 

From the beginning of the pandemic and into this deadly second wave, J-PAL South Asia has prioritized caution in face of uncertainty: staff and leadership embraced the challenge to  pivot support to our partners and address new policy challenges, while keeping safety paramount. Throughout, we have been closely monitoring the on-ground situation across the states and districts in which we work, and have taken systematic measures to suspend all field research activities to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and the communities we work with. All J-PAL South Asia offices are currently closed and travel halted. However, we continue to be available to our partners and stakeholders to engage and support them in this crisis.  

We thank our staff and partners for their continued support during this unprecedented calamity. We have a long road ahead, of great opportunities and lots of good work in the fight against poverty. But right now, our focus must be singly on the health and well-being of all our staff, our families, and our responsibility towards the communities we live and work in. 

We are continuing to work closely with our partners and informing their decisions with evidence.

Please visit our Covid-19 Research and Policy webpages for more information on our efforts. 

Shobhini Mukerji signature

Shobhini Mukerji
Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia
April 23, 2021

blue images of virus, vaccine, and doctors

A pandemic, an infodemic, and the fear of vaccination

Shreya Chaturvedi from J-PAL South Asia writes about government preparation for Covid-19 vaccination drives. While governments prepare for Covid-19 vaccination drives, sharing information strategically can promote behavioral changes and influence public opinion. In addition to traditional messaging...

Four children in sit in the Mindspark lab in India, engaging with a learning program on their computers.

A well CAL-ibrated approach to addressing learning losses in a post-Covid classroom

When schools in India reopen after the pandemic, the learning gap may further widen for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Research suggests personalizing instruction can be one of the most effective ways of improving learning while making judicious use of existing educational resources. 

Graph showing the last month's enterprise sales compared to pre-lockdown enterprise sales, as reported in August 2020

Building resilience among ultra-poor for times of crisis

Shagun Sabarwal and Maximilian Lohnert from J-PAL South Asia write about the lack of integration into the existing social protection system exacerbates the poor's vulnerabilities, leaving them without adequate support structures during a crisis. They also discuss how investing in a livelihood...

Migrant workers in India sitting on the sidewalk

Covid-19 lockdown and migrant workers: Survey of vocational trainees from Bihar and Jharkhand

The nationwide lockdown in India hit migrant workers particularly hard and once travel restrictions were lifted, 11 million interstate migrants returned home. In this note, Chakravorty et al. present key findings from a phone survey of youth from Bihar and Jharkhand who were previous trainees of...