People of ASER

Dr. Rukmini Banerji

CEO, Pratham Education Foundation

Rukmini Banerji is the Chief Executive Officer of Pratham Education Foundation.

She has extensive experience in design and delivery of education interventions and has played key roles in developing and implementing Pratham’s partnership programs with governments. Over the years, Rukmini has led assessment activities of Pratham including setting up an internal measurement, monitoring and evaluation unit. For ten years, from 2005 to 2014, she was the Director of ASER Centre, Pratham’s autonomous research and assessment unit, which conducts the well-known, nation-wide Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey. Rukmini has been with Pratham since 1996 and took over as CEO in 2015.

Initially trained as an economist in India, she did her B.A. at St. Stephen’s College and attended the Delhi School of Economics. She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1991.

Rukmini writes frequently on education in both English and Hindi and enjoys telling and writing stories for children. Originally from Bihar, she now lives in New Delhi.

Dr. Wilima Wadhwa

Director, ASER Centre

Wilima Wadhwa has been Director of ASER Centre and, since July 2015, has taken over as Head of the Centre. She has been associated with the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) since its inception in 2005. She is the architect of the ASER survey and other primary research studies currently undertaken by ASER Centre. ASER’s unique approach to measuring learning outcomes has been recognized nationally and internationally and has also been adapted by several other countries in Asia and Africa. Dr. Wadhwa earned an undergraduate degree, with Honors, inEconomics from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, post graduate degrees in Economics from Delhi University and University of California, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California.She has been published extensively and teaches statistics and econometrics at the University of California (Irvine), and the Indian Statistical Institute (New Delhi). She has also been a member of various government committees, including the Working Group for the Revision of Wholesale Price Index Numbers, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

Wadhwa’s other research interests include development and monetary economics.

Dr. Atul Varadhachary

Fannin Innovation Studio, Houston

Atul Varadhachary is Managing Partner, Fannin Innovation Studio which works with innovators at the institutions in the Texas Medical Center in Houston to help commercialize early-stage technologies in the life sciences. Atul is a physician with a PhD in Physiology from Johns Hopkins, and over two decades of experience in life sciences and healthcare. Before Fannin, Atul served as President of U.S. operations at Reliance Life Sciences, part of the Reliance Group, India’s largest private sector enterprise, as President & COO of Agennix Inc., a late-stage biotechnology company and as Senior Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Co. He has served on the faculties of Baylor College of Medicine, Rice Graduate School of Management, and the UT School of Public Health. He has served on multiple company and community boards including the Harris Health System and the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), and is on the Healthcare Advisory Committee of the Greater Houston Partnership. Atul has been associated with the ASER Centre since its inception and has served on its board for over a year. He has been associated with Pratham for over fifteen years and co-founded Pratham Health (Niramaya Health Foundation) while on a leave of absence from McKinsey. He has served as President of Pratham USA and serves on the Pratham Education Foundation and Niramaya Boards.

Prof. Bharat Ramaswami

Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi

Bharat Ramaswami is Professor of Economics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi. He has held visiting appointments at universities in Canada, Japan, Sweden and the United States. Before earning a PhD from the University of Minnesota, Professor Ramaswami obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from the University of Delhi. He was awarded the Mahalanobis Memorial Medal by the Indian Econometric Society in 2004 for his contributions to quantitative economics.

His research can be accessed at

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