Statement Against IIT Kanpur Report on UP Model

  • November 28, 2021

A statement endorsed by a part of the Indian academic community against the unscientific analysis of the ‘Uttar Pradesh model’ battling COVID 19, authored by IIT Kanpur faculty member Manindra Agarwal and others, that became a blanat propaganda of the UP Government.


This statement is meant to be read in conjunction with a detailed critique of the IIT Kanpur report prepared by IITK Citizen’s Forum and Hamara Manch IITK, which can be found here.


A purportedly scientific study by IIT Kanpur titled Covid War, UP Model: Strategies, Tactics, Impact has, over the past few weeks, been widely circulated, discussed, and reported on in the media. The report’s author and chief editor is Prof. Manindra Agrawal, a faculty member at IIT Kanpur and one of the principal architects of the so-called ‘SUTRA Model’, a compartmental model of infectious diseases.


The SUTRA Model is effectively an exercise in curve fitting with little predictive power or scientific merit. Indeed, the model has been empirically falsified multiple times and Agrawal et al. have repeatedly made incorrect public pronouncements based on it. For example, on 9 March, Agrawal announced on Twitter that “there will be no “second wave” in India.”[1] On 30 January, Agrawal et al. lauded the central government’s policies in a scientific paper and claimed that “it is easy to establish why the decisions taken have led to the avoidance of multiple peaks.”[2]


When these predictions have turned out to be false, rather than accepting their errors, Agrawal et al. have simply retrospectively modified the parameters in their model so as to fit the new data. For instance, in a subsequent version of their paper, Agrawal et al. simply quietly deleted the sentence above[3] rather than explaining why their “easy” analysis establishing the Indian government’s ideal practices was flawed in the first place.


The report itself is an uncritical reproduction of government data and the details of government programs, with the transparent aim of making it appear as if the Government of Uttar Pradesh has managed the pandemic better than any other state. Many of its claims are unsubstantiated, its conclusions are often exaggerated, and its data is presented in an obfuscatory manner. Agrawal and his team routinely confuse claims of government expenditure or effort with positive impact on its intended recipients; such claims must be backed by ethnography and fieldwork, and this report contains neither.


On reviewing the reportage from Uttar Pradesh during the second wave, it becomes abundantly clear that the response of the UP government to the pandemic was woefully insufficient. The impact of these failures on many lakhs of working people has been staggering, and we are yet to fully appreciate the damage that has been done. This report is far from an honest appraisal of government policy, and serves no purpose other than to bolster the faulty science of its authors and the flawed policies of the state government.


We believe that IIT Kanpur, and academia more broadly, has a responsibility to study and weigh in on the government’s handling of the pandemic, so that the horrors we have witnessed do not repeat themselves. It is crucial, however, that these exercises be carried out in an open and honest manner, and not in a way that prioritises the interests of a specific government over the interests of the people.


In light of this, we find it unacceptable that the Director of IIT Kanpur should write a foreword endorsing the findings of such a report. We, the undersigned, condemn this effort to use IIT Kanpur’s imprimatur to whitewash the UP government’s gross mismanagement of the pandemic.


List of Signatories 


1 Madhusudhan Raman Academic
2 Alok Laddha Chennai Mathematical Institute / Faculty
3 Suvrat Raju ICTS-TIFR
4 Rahul Varman IIT Kanpur
5 Manali Chakrabarti Academic
6 Vaibhav Vaish IISER Mohali
7 Binoy PhD at ETH
8 Vikas Dubey IIT Kanpur
9 shivani upadhyaya UC Berkeley
10 Ram Manohar Vikas Independent Researcher
11 Amit Singh IIT Bombay
12 Ronak M Soni Research Associate, DAMTP, University of Cambridge
13 Pradeep Kumar Seshadri Post Doc Scholar
14 Ashok Kumar PhD student
15 RAJENDRA SAHAI The Institute for Critical Study of Society, Oakland, California
16 Srini IT professional
17 Shiva Shankar Visiting Professor, Electrical Enginering, IIT Bombay.
18 Saptarshi Paul PhD Candidate at IIT Kanpur
19 Anjali Research scholar
20 Sulochana R Research Scholar
21 Dr. G. Ramesh Anna University, Teaching Staff
22 Sanchari Pal PhD Student, IITK
23 Paul Mathew Assistant Professor [BITS Pilani]
24 Grishma Udani IITK Alumni (Y0363)
25 Meenakshi Saharan IIT Kanpur
26 Rubia Student
27 Sarvesh PhD student
28 HS.Shylendra FAculty at IRMA (sent in personal capacity)
29 Himanshu Srivastava Research Scholar, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai
31 Supratik Chakraborty Professor, IIT Bombay
32 Rithwik J C Alumnus
33 Suchetan Das Postdoc
34 Kevin Jose University of Southampton
35 Anit PhD
36 Siddharth Jha IITK Alumni, batch of 2017
37 Asfa Sabrin PhD student
38 Isha P MA student, JNU
39 Komal Singh Chauhan Research Scholar
40 Pranav Minasandra Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour
42 Dr Sibnath Mazumdar Retired PSE executive.
43 Lipika Student
44 Siddharth Ramachandran Professor, Boston University
45 Sankalp Tiwari Student
46 Ahina Nandy University of Osnabrück
47 Yogesh Student
48 Kabeer ANU, Canberra
49 Sandeep Pandey General Secretary, Socialist Party (India)
50 Rahul Pandey Visiting faculty, IIM Lucknow
51 Adwait Gaikwad Tel Aviv University
52 Anurag Kent state university
53 Debanjan Chowdhury PhD Student
54 Aditi Dudeja Rutgers University
55 Firoz School Teacher
56 Gaganjot Research Scholar IIT Kanpur
57 Vinod Khare IITK/CE/2007
58 Dattaraj Dhuri New York University Abu Dhabi
59 Mohamed Rameez Physicists
60 Subham Dutta chowdhury University of chicago
61 Mohini Mullick Retired Faculty and Fellow ,IIT/Kanpur
62 Irfan Qayoom Student
63 Pranjal Nayak University of Geneva
64 Debdutta Paul Science Writer
65 Vivek Kumar Mehta Tezpur University
66 S Nagalsamy Indian Audit and Accounts Service
67 Rishikesh PhD
68 Ashok Gupta Professor Emeritus Ohio University
69 Sushil Handa IITK Alumni
70 Gaurav Student, IISER M
71 Suchitra Mathur IITK Faculty
72 Prashant Kocherlakota Institute for Theoretical Physics, Frankfurt
74 Saikat Ghosh Physics, IIT Kanpur
75 rohan poojary TU Wien
76 Ananyo Maitra CY Cergy Paris Universite
77 Sanyam Gupta IISER Berhampur/Student
78 Arijit Dey IIT Madras
79 Soumangsu Chakraborty IPhT, Paris-Saclay
80 Subramanya H Harish-Chandra Research Institute Allahabad
81 Jigisha PhD student
82 Arnab Priya Saha Harish-Chandra Research Institute
83 Arun karthik B IIT Kanpur
84 Suratno Basu SRM University, AP
85 Dhiman IITM
86 S.Krishnaswamy Retired Senior Professor ex Madurai Kamaraj University
87 SRUTHYMURALI Chennai Mathematical Institute
88 Chandra Kant Mishra IIT Madras
89 TS Ganesan Doctor
90 Ajay Agarwal Student (DIT University)
91 Shiney Public policy research
92 Surbhi Shrivastava PhD Student
93 Somak Paul Assistant Professor, California State University
94 Panchami Jose Research Scholar, HBCSE
95 Anupam Ah ICTS
96 Bindhulakshmi Pattadath Associate Professor, TISS Mumbai
97 A. P. Shukla Retd. from IITK, and Peoples’ Science Activist
98 Chandan Dasgupta Honorary Professor, Indian Institute of Science
99 Ananth Shankar Professor of mathematics
100 Ravinder Banyal IIA Bangalore
102 Chandrashekar KA SRF, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
103 Sourabh Pandey PhD student, IITK
104 Rajaraman Researcher
105 S. Akshay IIT Bombay
106 Aaditya Narasimhan PhD Student
107 gurinder singh Alumni, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
108 Arpan Kundu IMSC/ Research Scholar
109 Lakshmi Ramesh Masters Student, TU Kaiserslautern
110 RATHEESH T V IMSc, Chennai
111 Md Mahafujur Rahaman Indian
112 Anustup Basu Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
113 Ishan Santra Research Scholar, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai
114 Amber Habib Shiv Nadar University
115 Kala G Pradeep IISER Mohali – Student
116 Sourav Biswas PhD, IITk
117 Tanmay Krishna Student
118 Mayukh Chakrabarty MS Student, IISER Mohali
119 Prakash Matthew IIT Kanpur Alumnus
120 Ramakrishna Majumder Ex IITK student
121 Dr. Abhay Shukla Public Health professional
122 Mayank Pal BS-MS 5th year, IISER Mohali
123 Dileep Jatkar Harish-Chandra research institute
124 Harish C Karnick IIT Kanpur/Emeritus Fellow
125 Gurvinder Alumnus IIT Bombay
126 Nirmalya Kajuri Postdoctoral Fellow, IACS, Kolkata
127 Prasanna Chebbi Software Professional
128 Pronay kumar Karmakar IISER Mohali
129 Swagata Sarkar CEBS, Mumbai/ Faculty
130 S.P. Rajaguru Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Professor
132 Aaditeshwar Seth IIT Delhi
133 Vinay Kulkarni Physician and researcher
134 Sayash Kapoor Princeton University / PhD student
135 isha sood MBA
136 K Ashok Rao M.S. (System Science)
137 Aniket Sule HBCSE-TIFR, Mumbai
138 Ajin K Thomas Researcher, Ahmedabad
139 Bhavtosh Bansal IISER Kolkata
140 K Ashok Rao Retired.
141 Indira C Public Health Researcher
142 Reeteka Sud Neuroscientist
143 Surya Pratap Student
144 Shashank Gupta Quantitative Developer
145 MANOJ KUMAR student
146 Bittu K Rajaraman Ashoka University
147 R. Shankar retired professor from IMSc, chennai
148 Manoj Puravankara TIFR, Mumbai
149 Meesam Jafri Student
150 Anurag Sahay NIT Patna
151 Alka Hingorani IIT Bombay
152 Ranjith Jaganathan Ex-Scientific and Research Staff, IITK
153 Waquar Raza Research Scholar
154 Aravind Muthusamy Ph D student
155 Peehu Pardeshi TISS Mumbai
156 Basheer Ahmad Khan IIT Kanpur
157 Akhil Singh Post doc. associate at KIT Germany
158 Shobha Madan Retired from IITK
159 Kanchana Boston Medical Center
160 Pavan Dharanipragada IMSc, PhD student
161 Siddhartha Ghosh IIT Bombay
162 Manu Institute of Physics
163 Rihan Sadiq NIET Greater Noida
164 Aryan Kumar Student, IITK
165 Nikhil Jaiswal IIT Bombay 2020 batch
166 Dishant Medical student
167 samiksha kanaujia Ph.D, University of Hyderabad
168 Ibrahim Ali Bangalore University
169 Kunal T IITB Alumni
170 Abdul Ali IIT Bombay
171 Ankana Das PhD student, IIT DELHI
172 Spandan Pratyush Principal Engineer, Alumnus IIT Delhi (2014)
173 Shibi Rajaram Student
174 Arun Goyal IITK Alumni
175 Ketan Bagga Alumnus, IIT Kanpur
176 Amitabh Joshi Evolutionary biologist; Professor, JNCASR, Bengaluru
177 Sandeep Krishna NCBS, Bangalore
178 Ram Sagar Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore 560034
179 Renuka Viswanathan Former Secretary to Govt of India in Cabinet Secretariat
180 Ninad Jetty Research Scholar
181 Partha Paul Chennai Mathematical Institute
183 Gopikrishnan PhD student
184 Neeraj M P Ph. D
185 Tibin Thomas IIT Madras
186 Aparna R Student
187 Akshit Goyal MIT
188 Uma MBA, Leadership coach
189 Dr Himender Bharti Punjabi University
190 Sitabhra Sinha IMSc Chennai
191 MOHAMMAD UMAR Azim Premji Foundation
192 Keerthana M Student, IITK
193 Amar Jesani Independent researcher and teacher (Bioethics, Public Health)
194 R Srinivasan Prof (Retd) IIMB
195 Srikanth Sastry JNCASR
196 Rajesh Vishwakarma Former senior associate in RGF Delhi. Working in Development sector.
197 Ishwar Murthy Professor IIM Bangalore
198 sushil mishra IIT Bombay
199 Shihab Khan IITB PhD Student
200 Sania Mariam Iit bombay , Ph D
201 R. Mazumdar Professor
202 Sujatha Ramdorai University of British Columbia
203 Abhinav Deshpande Postdoctoral scholar at Caltech
204 Kavita Ramanan Professor, Brown University
205 Narayanan Kurur Academic
206 Kheya Sengupta CNRS, France
207 M. V. Ramana University of British Columbia and IIT/K alumnus
208 Anwesh Bhattacharya ESPCI Paris
209 Rambabu Social activist
210 Siddharth Krishna Independent Researcher





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