Mr. Achyut Das is the founder member and Director of Agragamee, an organisation working with marginalised and underprivileged communities in the tribal districts of Orissa. For the last 30 years, Mr. Das has been working in the field of rural development in Rajasthan and Odisha. He has been the ex-member of the state Planning Board and of the Joint Machinery set up for coordination between the voluntary agency and Government, by Planning Commission India.
Mr. Ashok Pradhan is an activist working with the Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghatan Samanvay Samithi, a farmer’s organisation in Odisha. Mr. Ashok has been closely associated with the farmers, especially those working in the rice cultivation. He has led several movements, for improvement in the farmer’s income and change in the land use policy for inclusion of the landless farmers and women.
B. N. Yugandhar is a very senior fellow and a former member of the Planning Commission, Government of India. He has been the Secretary to the Prime Minister of India (1995-97), Secretary to the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment, Government of India (1993-95) and Secretary to the Planning and Department of Industries and Commerce, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh (1986-88). Mr. Yugandhar holds a BA and MA degree in Economics. His area of expertise include, poverty alleviation, rural development, capacity building in public administration, local governance, social mobilisation and has been involved in formulating policies and schemes for the same. He has several published articles in his name.
Darryl D’Monte was Resident Editor of The Times of India and the Indian Express in Mumbai. He writes for several newspapers and websites and has devoted himself to networking environmental journalists in India and throughout the world for nearly three decades. He was re-elected as President in Cairo in November 2000 and now serves on its Administrative Council. He is a Trustee of the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre, which in 2007 shared the first Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award for implementing a project in Mumbai which made a difference to citizens’ well being. His has written and also edited books, Ripping the Fabric: The Decline of Mumbai and its Mills, Oxford University Press, Mills for Sale: The Way Ahead, (edited) Marg Publications, 2007. The book, Temples Or Tombs? Industry Versus Environment, Centre for Science & Environment, in 1985, which deals with three case studies in the environment-development debate.
Prof. Amita Baviskar is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Her research focuses on the cultural politics of environment and development. Her first book In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley, discussed the struggle for survival by Adivasis in central India against a large dam. Her subsequent work further explores the themes of resource rights, subaltern resistance and cultural identity. She has edited Waterlines: The Penguin Book of River Writings , Waterscapes: The Cultural Politics of a Natural Resource and Contested Grounds: Essays on Nature, Culture and Power. Baviskar has taught at the University of Delhi, and has been a visiting professor at Stanford, Cornell and the University of California at Berkeley. She is co-editor of the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology. She was awarded the 2005 Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for distinguished contributions to development studies.
Dr. Bharat Patankar is a leading activist of the left wing, Shramik Mukti Dal and of the peasant movement (especially the dam-oustees and drought affected) in South Maharashtra. He is also one of the architects of equitable water distribution movement in Maharashtra. Dr. Patankar has written numerous books and articles, in both English and Hindi.
Dr. Biksham Gujja is the founder of AgSri Agriculture Services and Pvt. Ltd. He was the senior Policy Advisor of the Living Water Programme at WWF-International, Gland, Switzerland. He led a team of professionals in the WWF-ICRISAT project, which focussed on improving the water productivity for major crops. Dr. Gujja has published extensively on water management and improving agricultural productivity. He was a post-doctoral Fellow at McGill University, Montreal, Canada and is associated with several global initiatives.
Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in Civil Engineering in 1968, followed by M. Tech. in Structural Engineering from the same institute in 1970. A practising Structural Engineer till 1984 turned towards rivers of North Bihar debouching into the middle-Gangetic plains from Himalayas. He has written many books on irrigation, flood-control and rivers, in general. He has also documented rivers like the Kosi, the Kamala, the Bagmati, the Bhutahi Balan and the Mahananda. Dr. Mihsra is currently working on the Bihar stretch of the Gandak, the Ghaghra and the Burhi Gandak and lives in Jamshedpur.
Dr. Dubash holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and an A.B. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. He is an Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU, New Delhi. His work focuses on the political economy of institutional change, with an emphasis on the environmental and social implications of economic reform. Major areas of work include the governance of energy, climate change policy, and water conflict and institutions. His recent publications include ‘The Practice and Politics of Regulation: Regulatory Governance in Indian Electricity’ (MacMillan, 2007) and his book on Groundwater, Tubewell Capitalism (Oxford, 2002) was awarded the SR Sen Prize Award. He has a long history of engagement with civil society organizations, including as the first international coordinator of the Climate Action Network, from 1990-92.
Dr. Iyengar is currently the Vice Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Earlier he was the Director of Centre for Social Studies, Surat and Gujarat Institute of Development Research. Through his active involvement and research in resettlement and rehabilitation of development projects, he was able to influence the government policy on the rehabilitation of Narmada dam ousters. Dr. Iyengar has been a member of the Environmental Economics Research Committee (EERC) of the World Bank supported national project on capacity building in environmental economics. He has also chaired a sub‐committee on Monitoring and Evaluation of the Watershed Development Programme of the Government of Gujarat. He has authored six books and published more than 50 research articles.
Dr. Tushaar Shah was trained as an economist and public policy specialist. He is a former director of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand, India and is a senior advisor to the Director General at the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Shah's main research interests are in water institutions and policies in South Asia, particularly, a subject on which he has extensive publications. In particular, he has carried out studies on water governance issues in this region, as well as in North China plains. He has also explored groundwater management models in Mexico, China and Spain to distill practical lessons these countries offer for improving groundwater management in South Asia. Dr. Shah was honored with the Outstanding Scientist award of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 2002.
Himanshu Thakkar, an engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, is currently the Coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) and editor of Magazine "Dams, Rivers & People". In the past, he was associated with the work of Narmada Bachao Andolan, World Commission on Dams and Centre for Science and Environment.
Lingaraj is an activist and politician with socialist thinking, politically earlier affiliated to Samajwadi Jan Parishad. He is a social activist working from Bargarh district in Western Odisha and is associated with various social, environmental and farmers' issues. His active political career began in the year 2004 when he contested from Bargarh Assembly constituency.
Medha Patkar is a social activist and founder member of the Narmada Bachao Aandolan. She did her MA in Social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and later was also a faculty member at TISS. Medha was the convenor of the National Alliance People’s Movements (NAPM), an alliance of progressive people’s organisation and also served as a Commissioner to the World Commission on Dams.
Prof. A. Vaidyanathan is a well-known scholar and has contributed significantly to the discourse on water sector in India. A former member of the Planning Commission of India, Prof. Vaidyanathan has also headed various governmental committees including the Irrigation Pricing Committee set up by the Government of India in the early 90s.
Prof. A.C. Bhagabati is a social anthropologist trained at the Universities of Gauhati (B.Sc. Honours, 1956), Calcutta (M. Sc., 1958) and Auckland (Ph. D., 1967). As a recipient of the Commonwealth Scholarship, he carried out doctoral research among the Maoris in northern New Zealand (1962-65). Prof. Bhagabati was Head of the Dept. of Anthropology at Dibrugarh and Gauhati Universities for different periods. He was also the founder Professor and Director of the Institute of Social Change and Development, at Guwahati. Prof. Bhagabati served Rajiv Gandhi University, as its Vice-Chancellor for five years (1993-98). He has been a visiting scholar, under the Cultural Exchange Programmes, in former U.S.S.R. and Hungary. Prof. Bhagabati has published many research papers over the years. His areas of special research interest are social change, ethnicity and identity, and tribal transformation process in North East India. At present Prof. Bhagabati is Tagore National Fellow of the Ministry of Culture, GoI, attached to North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC), Shilpgram Campus, Panzabari, Guwahati, and Honorary Coordinator and Head of Division of North Eastern Regional Centre, Guwahati.
Prof. Goswami is currently a guest faculty with the Dept. of Environmental Science at Guwahati University. He retired as a Head of Environmental Science Dept. in 2003. He has also been a Colin Mackenzie Chair Professor at Anna University, Chennai in 2004 and was associated with John Hopkins University (USA), Howard University(USA), Berne University (Switzerland), NASA Project (USA), NRSA, Department of Space, India; Assam Remote Sensing Application Centre at Guwahati. Prof. Goswami has specialized in Fluvial Geomorphology, Environmental Science, Geoinformatics. His doctoral research was on Fluvial Geomorphology of the Brahmaputra River, Assam, India at Johns Hopkins University, USA. He has more than 150 publications at his name and has been awarded with fellowships and grants from several prestige universities, located at national and international levels.
Prof. Jayanta Bandyopadhyay after completing his doctorate in engineering from IIT Kanpur, took up research on the inter-disciplinary topic of science and public interest. He closely studied the forest rights movement in the Indian Himalaya, named Chipko, which made him deeply interested in understanding the relationship between humans and the natural environment. He worked at IIM Bangalore, ICIMOD Kathmandu, IAE Geneva, IIM Calcutta, and is presently with JNU New Delhi. His research in the past 25 years has been guided by the objective of generating trans-disciplinary public interest knowledge on critical social issues. He is the Founder President of SaciWaters and was the President of INSEE (2006-08). He has been a CLA for the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment and an adviser to the Water Diplomacy programme at Tufts University, USA. He has published about 150 papers, articles, books, etc. His book Water Ecosystems and Society (Sage, 2009) is a significant contribution to water studies in South Asia.
Prof. M. K. Prasad is a well known environmentalist, associated with movements in Kerala to save the environment. He was a Botany Professor in various Kerala colleges and later became the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Calicut. In 1960-70s Prof. Prasad was the public face of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) – the peoples’ science movement in Kerala, where he addressed pollution issues and destruction of precious tract of tropical rain forests known as Silent valley. Through writings, he brought global attention to these environmental issues, which ultimately helped reverse flawed planning decisions. Prof. Prasad was one of the Principal Co-ordinators of the MoEF project to conduct Carrying Capacity based Developmental Planning Studies for the Greater Kochi Region of Kerala. He played a key role in the preparation of a set of documents called “Peoples’ Biodiversity Registers” , which recorded the living resources and related traditional knowledge of all the Grama Panchayats of the Ernakulam district. He was a member of the UN launched Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Board (2001-05) and continues to involve himself in all issues that impact the human environment in the world around him.
Prof. Nirmal Sengupta earned his Masters and PhD degrees from Indian Statistical Institute specializing in Econometrics and Planning. Retired at present, he has worked for more than forty years on cutting edge research and policy studies serving different organizations and governments. He was a Professor at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai; Director, Madras Institute of Development Studies, and Visiting Fellow at National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad, Indiana University, USA and Institute of Philippine Culture, Manila. He has been associated with various national and international committees. He has worked as a consultant to Water Resources Ministry, Ministry of Environment & Forests, UNDP, FAO, World Bank, World Commission on Dams. Publications include books like User-Friendly Irrigation Designs, Managing Common Property, Destitutes and Development, Fourth World Dynamics: Jharkhand (ed.), Economic Studies of Indigenous & Traditional Knowledge, (ed.), The Economics of Trade Facilitation etc.
Dr. S. Parasuraman has over 25 years of experience as a teacher, trainer, activist, administrator and development worker. He has a strong foundation in critical thinking, conceptual and analytical skills and enjoys working in challenging social, political and physical environments. He pursued his Masters in Anthropology from the University of Pune and a Ph.D. in Demography from the University of Mumbai. He has held key positions in international organisations, as Asia Regional Policy Coordinator, ActionAid Asia; Senior Advisor to the Commission and Team Leader of the Secretariat of World Commission on Dams; and as Programme Director, Oxfam. Currently, he is the Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. Dr. Parasuraman was also associated with the Narmada Movement from 1987 and was a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Committee to review the Tehri Hydroelectric Project. He has over 50 publications in the form of articles in international and national journals, books and research reports.
Prof. Yoginder K. Alagh, is currently the Chairman of IRMA, Chancellor of Nagaland University and Vice Chairman of Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad. He was earlier Minister of Power and for Planning & Programme Implementation with additional charge of the Ministry of Science & Technology and also the Chairman of Bureau of Industrial Costs and Pricing. He was also the Member of Planning Commission. Prof. Alagh holds a Doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught Economics at the University of Rajasthan, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, University of Jodhpur, Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania.
He was awarded the VKRV Rao Award in Economics in 1981. He has seven books and over a hundred articles to his credit published both at home and abroad. He writes regularly for the Indian Express and Financial Express.
Rohini Nilekani is the Founder-Chairperson of ARGHYAM, a charitable trust that funds initiatives in water and sanitation. The vision of Arghyam is to provide ‘safe, sustainable water for all.’ She is also Founder-Chairperson, Pratham Books, which seeks to democratize the joy of reading for children. Previously, Rohini was the Chairperson of Akshara Foundation (2002-2008). She also sits on the boards of many non-profits and funds work in education, health, environment etc. Rohini Nilekani spent many years as a journalist, writing for many leading publications and continues to do an occasional column today. Her first novel, a medical thriller ‘Stillborn’ was published by Penguin Books. She recently anchored a television show called, ‘Uncommon Ground’, which created a rare dialogue between top leaders of the corporate and social sectors in India.