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Reetika Khera is an Indian economist and social scientist.[1] She is Associate Professor (Economics and Public Systems group) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM Ahmedabad).[2] Khera is on leave from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi).[3]

Reetika Khera
ResidenceAhmedabad, Gujarat (India)
Alma materDelhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

University of Sussex

Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
OccupationDevelopment economist

Early life and educationEdit

Reetika Khera earned a B.A. in economics from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, an M.A. in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and an M.Phil. in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. Khera completed a Ph.D. in economics at the Delhi School of Economics[4] and collaborates often with noted economist and activist, Jean Drèze.

She has received fellowships from the Institute for Economic Growth, the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, King's College London, and from Princeton University (for a project with Nobel laureate Sir Angus Deaton).


Reetika Khera is one of India's leading development economists. Currently, she is Associate Professor (Economics and Public Systems Group) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and is on leave from her post as Sulaiman Mutawa Associate Chair Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Khera is a highly visible, seminal advocate for improved welfare programs in the country and actively helped to implement India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). She has worked with the G. B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad University and is a visitor at the Centre for Development Economics at the Delhi School of Economics. She has also published several research papers analyzing NREGA, the Public Distribution System (PDS) and other programs that affect India's most vulnerable citizens. One of her most important projects is the "Group Measurement," which evaluated the impact the NREGA project has had on India's citizens—that effort is titled, "The Jalore Experiment".[5] In October 2017, she was in residence as an External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center[6] and was nominated for the post (by the Center for South Asia) to edit a book on India's Aadhaar program.

Khera has penned columns and been profiled in the mainstream media in India—for outlets such as NDTV,[7],[8],[9] Outlook India,[10] Financial Times,[11] Reuters,[12] Bloomberg Quint,[13] Quartz,[14] Magnum Foundation,[15] Indian Express,[16] Business Standard,[17] Business Line,[18] Economic Times,[19] Frontline (she wrote the Nov 2016 cover feature[20]), Business Today (she wrote the Jan 2016 cover feature[21]) and the BBC.[22] She is frequently interviewed on Indian television in English and Hindi and in alternative Indian media (such as Newslaundry,[23] (she wrote a feature piece on Aadhaar[24]), Deccan Herald,[25] Livemint,[26] South Asia Citizens Web,[27] Countercurrents,[28] India Together[29] and India Spend (she wrote a cover story on NREGA[30])).

In January 2018, her NYT editorial, "Why India's Big Fix is a Big Flub,"[31] was one of the most comprehensive public arguments ever made on the limitations of Aadhaar. Khera describes how the program aimed to biometrically register India's 1.3 billion residents in an even-handed, judicious way. But although millions enrolled, the program remains riddled with colossal privacy and corruption challenges.

In November 2017, Khera filed a "Right to Information" (RTI) request[32] with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to solicit public data on how much the agency spent to advertise and promote Aadhaar, since the program started in 2009. UIDAI has not commented or responded to the RTI request.

In her January New York Times editorial, Khera argues:

Aadhaar was supposed to showcase the government’s forward thinking about efficient administration; it has only exposed the state’s coerciveness. It was supposed to ease the poor’s access to welfare; it has hurt the neediest. It was supposed to harness technology in the service of development; it has made people’s personal data vulnerable. One of the Indian government’s biggest banner projects has become a glaring example of all that can go wrong with policy making in this country.

As part of an April 2018 story in the New York Times, Khera highlights how India's poorest classes are among those Aadhaar has harmed the most. Rather than being aided by the program, Khera states that, "This is the population that is being passed off as ghosts and bogus by the government."[33]

[34] Her most cited peer-reviewed papers are:

  • Reetika Khera and Nandini Nayak "Women Workers and Perceptions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act" Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 44, No. 43 (24-30 October 2009), pp. 49–57

JSTOR 25663707(cited 137 times according to Google Scholar)[35]

  • Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera "The battle for employment guarantee" World Bank Frontiers [3](cited 139 times according to Google Scholar.)
  • Reetika Khera (2011). The Battle for Employment Guarantee. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-807062-7. OCLC 770450369.
  • Dreze, Jean; Khera, Reetika (2000). "Crime, Gender, and Society in India: Insights from Homicide Data". Population and Development Review. 26 (2): 335–352. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2000.00335.x.(cited 109 times according to Google Scholar.)



  • Drèze, Jean and Khera, Reetika (2015), [null Readings in Social Policy and Public Action], unpublished compilation.
  • De, Anuradha, Khera, Reetika, Kumar, AK Shiva, Samson Meera (2011), PROBE Revisited (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).
  • Battle for Employment Guarantee (2011), (New Delhi: Oxford University Press). Edited.
  • Reviews: Gayatri Sahgal, The Book Review;
  • Rob Jenkins, Realizing the Right to Work, Economic and Political Weekly;
  • Pradeep Baisakh, "Ground Zero Realities", Governance Now.
  • Citizen's Initiative for Right of Children Under Six (2006), Focus On Children Under Six, Abridged Report (New Delhi: Right to Food Campaign). Contributor.
  • Dey, Nikhil, Drèze, Jean and Khera, Reetika (2006), Employment Guarantee: A Primer (New Delhi: National Book Trust).


  • Impact of Aadhaar on Welfare Programmes, Economic and Political Weekly, 16 December, Vol 52, No. 50. Special Article.
  • Aadhaar and Food Security in Jharkhand, Pain Without Gain?, With Jean Drèze, Nazar Khalid and Anmol Somanchi. Economic and Political Weekly, 16 December, Vol 52, No. 50. Special Article.
  • Recent Social Security Initiatives in India, With Jean Drèze. World Development, Vol 98, October 2017, pp. 555–572.
  • Children's Development: Baby Steps in Odisha, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 50, No. 40. Special Article.
  • Clarification on PDS Leakages, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 50, No. 39. With Jean Dreze, Himanshu and Abhijit Sen. Discussion.
  • Food Security: Bihar on the Move, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, No. 34. With Jean Dreze and Jessica Pudussery. Special Article.
  • UID: From Inclusion to Exclusion, Seminar, August 2015.
  • Public Health in North India, An Exploratory Study in Four States Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, No. 21, pp. 53–58. With Kritika Goel. Insight.
  • Understanding Leakages in the Public Distribution System, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, No., February 2015. With Jean Drèze. Insight.
  • UID project: Does Evidence Matter, Yojana, July 2014.
  • Cash vs. In-kind Transfers: Indian Data Meets Theory, Food Policy, 46, pp. 116–128, 2014.
  • Rural Poverty and the Public Distribution System, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 48, No 45&46, 16 November 2013. With Jean Drèze. Special Article.
  • Mid-Day Meals Looking Ahead, Economic and Political Weekly, August 2013.
  • On the NIPFP Response, Economic and Political Weekly, Discussion, Vol. 48, No. 10, 9 March 2013. Discussion.
  • A Cost-Benefit Analysis of UID, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 48, No. 5, 2 February 2013. Commentary.
  • Regional Patterns of Human and Child Deprivation, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 47, No. 39, 29 September 2012. With Jean Drèze. Special Article.
  • Food Security Act: One Step Forward, One Step Back?, Seminar, No. 634, 2012.
  • Revival of the Public Distribution System: Evidence and Explanations, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 46, No. 44-45, November, 2011. Special Article.
  • Trends in Diversion of Grain from the Public Distribution System, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 46, No. 26, 21 May 2011. Special Article.
  • India's Public Distribution System: Utilization and Impact, Journal of Development Studies, Vol 47, No. 3, pp. 1–23, 2011.
  • The UID Project and Social Welfare, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 46, No. 9. 2011. Perspectives.
  • The BPL Census and A Possible Alternative, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 45 (No. 9), 27 February 2010. With Jean Drèze. Special Article.
  • Women Workers and their Perceptions of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 44 (No. 43), 24 October 2009. With Nandini Nayak. Special Article.
  • Right to Food: Beyond Cheap Promises, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 44 (No. 29) 18 July 2009. Insight.
  • Starvation Deaths and “Primitive Tribal Groups, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 43 (No. 52), 27 December – 2 January 2008. Commentary.
  • Self-Targeting on Employment Programmes, Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Volume 51, No. 2, 2008.
  • Access to the Targeted Public Distribution System: A Case Study in Rajasthan, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 43 (No. 44), 1–7 November 2008. Special Article.
  • Empowerment Guarantee Act, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 43 (No. 35), 30 August – 5 September 2008. Commentary.
  • The State of India’s Children (with Jean Drèze and Sudha Narayanan), Indian Journal of Human Development, Volume 1, No. 2, July–December, 2007.
  • Political Economy of State Response to Drought, Economic and Political Weekly, 16 December 2006. Special Article.
  • Mid-Day Meals in Primary Schools: Achievements and Challenges, Economic and Political Weekly, 18 November 2006. Perspectives.
  • Bringing Grassroots Democracy to Life: The MKSS Campaign in the Rajasthan Panchayat Elections, Economic and Political Weekly, 19 February 2005. Commentary.
  • Monitoring Disclosures, Seminar, February 2004.
  • Crime, Gender and Society in India: Insights from homicide data, Population and Development Review, Volume 30, No. 2, 2000. With Jean Drèze.

Popular media (print)Edit

  • Aadhaar's $11-billion question, Economic Times, 7 February. With Jean Drèze.
  • Why India's Big Fix is a Big Flub, New York Times, 22 January.
  • Aadhaar's Twin Existential Crisis, Business Standard, 18 January.
  • Aadhaar has no role in plugging leakages’, Hindu Business Line, 10 January.
  • Mind you, data security isn't the worst thing about Aadhaar ’,, 8 January 2018.
  • PDS ko khatam kar dega DBT', Prabhat Khabar, 8 January 2018.
  • None of the problems in the implementation of NREGA can be fixed by Aadhaar. On the contrary, Aadhaar is the source of some problems”, Invisible Lawyer, 18 December.
  • It is time for judiciary to call out the Indian government's lie on ‘voluntary Aadhaar’,, 7 December.
  • Why ABBA must go The Hindu, 13 November.
  • आधार पर अदालत की सुनें Amar Ujala, 13 November.
  • Why govt-subsidized Amma, Indira canteens are life-saversHindustan Times, 25 August 2017.
  • Maut aur taqleef se jhoojhti janata Prabhat Khabar, 20 August.
  • आधार: जीवन के अधिकार पर प्रहार Prabhat Khabar, 2 August.
  • The Government is speaking in two tongues on the right to privacy Interview, Business Standard, 23 July.
  • The Different Ways in Which Aadhaar Infringes on Privacy, The Wire, 2 June.
  • Digital India: Ek Nazar, Prabhat Khabar, 18 July.
  • The Real Beneficiaries, Indian Express, 2 June.
  • िनजता दायरे में आधार, Amar Ujala, 16 May.
  • हानिकर है आधार की अनिवार्यता, Prabhat Khabar, 11 May 2017.
  • आधार को पैन कार्ड से जोड़ना कितना ख़तरनाक है?, BBC Hindi, 26 April 2017. Tamil.
  • आधार - निजता और लोकतंत्र पर प्रहार, Navbharat, 9 April 2017.
  • Evidence No Bar, Indian Express, 5 April 2017.
  • Feeding Insecurities, Hindu Business Line, 31 March 2017.
  • मिड-डे मिल में आधार अवैध Prabhat Khabar, 29 March 2017.
  • No Good Will Come from Linking Aadhaar to Mid-Day Meals | आधार को मिड डे मील से जोड़ने पर नुकसान के सिवा कुछ हासिल नहीं होगा, The Wire, 24 March 2017.
  • Four videos that show why Rajasthan needs to desperately fix its public distribution system,, 9 March.
  • What Explains The Popular Support for Demonetization. In Hindi. नोटबंदी को मिले जनसमर्थन के पीछे क्या कारण है? The Wire, 27 February 2017.
  • Ten Things We Need to Change, Livemint, 4 February 2017.
  • Nice to See NREGA Trending. But Urgent Fixes Required, NDTV, 3 February 2017.
  • मनरेगा में कैसे फूंकी जाए जान?, Rashtriya Sahara, 4 February 2017.
  • यूबीआई कितना व्यावहारिक, Amar Ujala, 31 January 2017.
  • After many u-turns, has Modi finally recognised the importance of social security measures?, 8 January 2017.
  • एक अच्छी पहल की खामियां, Amar Ujala, 6 January 2017.
  • A Phased Approach Will Make a "Basic Income" Affordable for India, The Wire, 20 December 2016.
  • Why We Need to Open ‘Amma Canteens’ All Over India, The Wire, 8 December 2016.
  • Amma's canteens, baby care kits most significant additions to Tamil Nadu welfare schemes: Reetika Khera, Catch News, 7 December 2016.
  • Aadhaar-enabled Exclusion and Corruption, Deccan Herald, 27 November 2016.
  • निन्यानबे फीसदी बनाम एक फीसदी, Amar Ujala, 22 November 2016.
  • The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Modi's 'surgical strike' on Black Money, NDTV, 14 November 2016.
  • Policy Disaster, Frontline, 11 November 2016.
  • कुपोषण से कैसे लड़ सकते हैं, Amar Ujala, 19 October 2016.
  • Big Media's Take on the Aadhaar-LPG Savings Saga Highlights Why We Can't Trust It, The Wire, 7 October 2016.
  • Could the virtual world of Pokémon Go be used to help rich Indians see real struggles of the poor?,, 30 July 2016.
  • क्या 'आधार' लोगों का अधिकार छीन रहा है?, BBC Hindi, 27 July 2016.
  • On Aadhaar Success, Its All Hype - That Includes the World Bank,, 23 July 2016.
  • Food Security Act: How are poor states doing?, Ideas for India, 29 June 2016.
  • Jean Dreze & Reetika Khera: Any state can reform PDS if it has political willInterview, Catch News, 17 June 2016.
  • Five Aadhaar Myths that Don't Stand Up to Scrutiny, The Wire, 23 March 2016.
  • मजदूरों के हक में मनरेगा, Amar Ujala, 4 February 2016.
  • Digging holes, filling them up, Indian Express, 3 February 2016.
  • For NREGA, Tamil Nadu is the only hope",, 2 February 2016.
  • Community kitchens: An idea whose time has come,, 22 January 2016.
  • The Right(s) Perspective on Populism, Business Today, 17 January 2016.
  • Child Development: Kerala tops, Gujarat flops, Bihar hops, NDTV 24x7 | बाल विकास - केरल टॉप, गुजरात फ्लॉप, बिहार हिट NDTV India, 18 November 2015. With Jean Drèze.
  • Child Development: How are Indian states faring?" Ideas for India.
  • PDS in Bihar, The Road Ahead Live Mint, 3 November 2015.
  • A Nobel for the idea of well-being, The Hindu, 17 October 2015. Against the tide: Deaton's economics" Ideas for India.
  • गरीबी के बारे में डीटन ने बढ़ाई है अर्थशास्त्र की समझ, Outlook Hindi, 15 October 2015.
  • Five Myths About Aadhaar, Outlook, 18 September 2015.
  • Thought for Food, खाद्य सुरक्षा: सुधर सकते हैं फिसड्डी राज्यों के भी हालात Outlook, 21 August 2015. With Jean Dreze.
  • आधार: ज़िंदगी में तांकझांक का तर्क कितना सही?, BBC Hindi, 17 August 2015.
  • गरीबी से जंग के भोथरे हथियार, Amar Ujala, 31 July 2015.
  • Nurture Mission, Frontline, 24 July 2015. With Rajkishor Mishra.
  • Seven reasons why India needs eggs,, 10 June 2015.
  • Eggs and Prejudice, Indian Express, 6 June 2015.
  • And the Unique Identification juggernaut keeps rolling, The Wire, 3 June 2015.
  • नकद हस्तांतरण से क्या हो पाएगी खाद्य सुरक्षा, Amar Ujala, 26 April 2015.
  • Whose Bharat is it?, Outlook, March 2015.
  • Ending the APL Scam, LiveMint, 3 March 2015. With Jean Dreze.
  • The Meaning of Vikas, Outlook, February 2015.
  • Fiscal Attention Deficit, HuffPost, February, 2015.
  • Kaise Pahuche Garibon Tak Anaaj, Amar Ujala, February 2015.
  • Social Welfare: India is trailing among the BRICS, The BRICS Post, 1 December 2014.
  • The Whys and Whats of NREGA,, 4 November 2014 | मनरेगा से क्या है मोदी को दिक्कत?, BBC Hindi, 25 November.
  • 'विकास मॉडलों' के बीच ओडिशा से सबक, BBC Hindi, 17 November 2014. With Jean Dreze and Rajkishor Mishra.
  • माई-बाप सरकार' की वापसी, Amar Ujala, 15 October. | Mai-Baap Sarkar Returns,
  • Bitter Pill to Swallow, Indian Express, 2 September 2014.
  • The Hills Aim Higher, Outlook, 24 August 2014. | हिमाचल को भी देखिए, Amar Ujala, 14 July 2014.
  • Aadhaar-enabled DBT is more demanding than DBT, Business Standard, 28 June 2014.
  • मेरे गुजरात की कहानी, Amar Ujala | Growing up in Gujarat, NDTV, 8 April 2014.
  • UID project: Does Evidence matter?, Ideas for India, 5 February 2014.
  • सामाजिक सुरक्षाः अपने ही क़ानून मरोड़ती सरकार, BBC Hindi, 19 November 2013.
  • Do Government Schemes Ever work?, Yahoo News 22 October.
  • A Welcome Intervention, Deccan Herald, 29 September 2013.
  • Five Misconceptions about the Food Security Bill, Reprinted in LiveMint, 8 August 2013. Ideas for India version.
  • The Devil is in the detail, The Hindu, 6 August. | व्यक्ति नहीं परिवार अहम, Amar Ujala, 3 August 2013.
  • Don't crunch this lunch, Times of India, 21 July 2013. Hindi translation published in Dainik Jagran.
  • Food Security is Affordable, Hindu Business Line, 14 April 2013.
  • Lessons from the East Godavari Pilot, The Hindu, 11 April 2013.
  • Cash for Vote, Frontline, Volume 30, No. 4, March 2013. | Malayalam translation, published in Mathrubhumi. | DBT par Sanshay, Hindi translation, published in Rashtriya Sahara, 24 February 2013
  • Working Things Out, Hindustan Times, 20 February 2013.
  • Is UID Linked Cash Transfer a Good Idea, Business Standard, 10 January 2013.
  • Food Security Act: Should the Centre Emulate Chhattisgarh?, Hindu Business Line, 28 December 2012.
  • Benefit Transfer or Vote Transfer, Deccan Herald, 16 December 2012.
  • Long Road to Cash Transfers, Financial Express, 4 December 2012.
  • खरा नहीं है नकद का सौदा, Amar Ujala, 28 November 2012.
  • Tamil Nadu's Striking Progress in Welfare, India Together, 10 September 2012.
  • A Bill that asks too much of the poor, The Hindu, 5 September 2012. With Jean Drèze.
  • Putting Kerala to Work, The Hindu, 1 August.
  • Experiments with Aadhaar, The Hindu, 27 June 2012, with Jean Drèze and Bharat Bhatti. | Response to the Minister's response, The Hindu, 4 July 2012, with Jean Drèze and Bharat Bhatti.
  • Adhaar se Kiska Uddhar, Amar Ujala, 28 February 2012
  • UID: Road to Exclusion?, The New Indian Express, 16 February 2012
  • Ghere Se Bahar, Amar Ujala, 31 December 2011
  • Lessons from Brazil, Frontline, 17–30 December 2011
  • PDS Leakages: The Plot Thickens, The Hindu, 12 August 2011
  • Signs of Revival, The Hindu, 12 June 2011.
  • Going Against the Grain, Hindustan Times, 27 January 2011.
  • Biscuits, Tehelka, Volume 7, Issue 52, December, 2010.
  • Chhattisgarh Shows the Way, The Hindu, 14 November 2010. With Jean Drèze.
  • Not all that Unique, Hindustan Times, 30 September 2010.
  • Wages of Delay, Frontline, Volume 27.
  • Slow but Steady Success, The Hindu, 25 April 2010. With Karuna Muthiah.
  • Incentives that work, The Hindu, 10 May 2009. With Meera Samson and Anuradha De.
  • Lok Adalat or Joke Adalat, The Hindu, 22 February 2009. With Jean Drèze.
  • Pati Experience, Frontline, Volume 26, No. 1, 2009.
  • Battle for Employment Guarantee, Frontline, Volume 26, No. 1, 2009. With Jean Drèze.
  • Banned but still there, Frontline, Volume 26, No. 1, 2009. With Jean Drèze.
  • Rajasthan Way Ahead, Frontline, Volume 26, No. 1, 2009. With Anish Vanaik.
  • From accounts to accountability, The Hindu, 6 December 2008. With Jean Drèze
  • The Black Hole of NREGA Records, Yojana, August, 2008.
  • Glucose for the Lok Sabha?, Hindustan Times, April 2008. With Jean Drèze.
  • Rajniti ko Badalti Rozgar Garanty, Hindustan, March 2008. With Jean Drèze.
  • Corruption in NREGA: Myths and Reality, 22 January, The Hindu, 2008. With Jean Drèze and Siddhartha.
  • Employment Guarantee and Migration, 18 July, The Hindu, 2006.
  • India's Right to Food Campaign, Just Change, October 2005.
  • Beasts in Uniform, Tehelka, 18 June 2005.
  • Not everybody loves a good drought, The Hindu Magazine, 2 January. With Aruna Roy.
  • Using your Illusions, Hindustan Times, 18 February 2004. With Jean Drèze.
  • Mid-Day Meals in Rajasthan, The Hindu, 13 November 2002.
  • Poverty of Policy, Scarcity of Will, The Times of India, 17 May 2001. With Jean Drèze.


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  3. ^
  4. ^
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  18. ^ Surabhi (10 January 2018). "'Aadhaar has no role in plugging leakages'". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
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  20. ^ Khera, Reetika (11 November 2016). "Policy disaster". Frontline (India).
  21. ^ "It's time to give every Indian a social security net". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
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  27. ^ "Reetika khera news - Livemint". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
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  30. ^ IndiaSpend. "The Whys and Whats of India's Rural Jobs Scheme | IndiaSpend-Journalism India |Data Journalism India|Investigative Journalism-IndiaSpend". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  31. ^ Khera, Reetika (2018). "Opinion | Why India's Big Fix Is a Big Flub". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  32. ^ "UIDAI Refuses To Disclose Details On Money Spent On Aadhaar Branding". Outlook. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  33. ^ Goel, Vindu (7 April 2018). "'Big Brother' in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  34. ^ [1] PEEP Survey 2013
  35. ^ [2]

External linksEdit