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Featured Faculty


Avinash Thomas

Director, ISDG Academy

Avinash Thomas is currently the Director of ISDG Academy. He was the ISDG Project Coordinator for the Saksham Livelihood Project supported by Plan India. He has previously worked on multiple research studies on local governance and budgeting. He played a crucial role in the study by Oxfam India on India's Development Cooperation initiatives with Sri Lanka. He holds a Master's degree in Economics from Loyola College, Chennai.


John Samuel

Chief Mentor and Faculty

John Samuel is the Chief Mentor of the Institute for Sustainable Development and Governance, Trancivic International, and Bodhigram Foundation. John was former Head of Global Program for Governance Assessment and Global Democratic Governance Adviser at UNDP. He was the international Director of Actionaid International, CEO of Forum Asia, and Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty and Asia Democracy Network. John was the President and former CEO of the National Centre for Advocacy Studies. He has more than 25 years of training and leadership experience in India and internationally. John was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and Advocacy Institute, Washington. He has initiated various research and advocacy networks and institutions, including the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, Bodhigram and Social Watch.

Dr. Abraham George

Dean of Faculty

Dr Abraham George is the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development &
Governance (ISDG). He has a PhD in Economics and his research interests are in the areas of International Economics, Development Economics and Education Policy. He has more than three decades of experience in teaching and research and has several publications. He was the Principal of Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla (Mahatma Gandhi University), Kerala. He also continues to serve as an Assessor with the National Assessment and Accreditation Council


Prof. MA Oommen


Dr M.A. Oommen is the former Chairman of the 4th State Finance Commission, Govt. of Kerala. He is also an Honorary Professor at, Centre for Development Studies. Dr Oomen is an economist of repute with a rich collection of professional papers and numerous books to his credit. A postdoctoral scholar of the Rockefeller Foundation and a Visiting Fellow at Yale University, he was also a Senior Fulbrighter. He has taught in the Universities of Kerala, Calicut and Botswana for more than three decades, and has occupied several important positions, besides serving several important commissions and committees in India and abroad. His books include Kerala Economy, Economics of Cinema, Issues in the Teaching of Economics in Indian Universities and Panchayats and their Finance.


Yamini Aiyar


Yamini Aiyar is the President and Chief Executive of the Centre for Policy Research. Her research interests span the fields of public finance, social policy, state capacity, federalism, governance and the study of contemporary politics in India. She has published widely in academic publications and the popular press and writes regularly on current affairs and policy matters in mainstream Indian newspapers. Yamini is an alumna of the London School of Economics, St. Edmunds College, Cambridge University and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.


Ritu Dewan


Ritu Dewan was the first-ever woman Director of the Department of Economics, University of Mumbai, and the founder-member of the first Centre of Gender Economics. She has over a hundred publications, including 20 books and monographs. Prof. Dewan was a member of the Feminist Economists’ Group for Engendering the 12th and 11th Five Year Plans, and is closely associated with training and capacity-building related especially to gender issues, and has conducted numerous workshops for several state governments including Jammu & Kashmir, Goa, Tamil Nadu, etc. She is also currently President of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies. Her research focus is linked primarily to issues and concerns of the marginalised groups and movements.


Amitabh Behar


Amitabh Behar is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam India, is a global civil society leader, and an authority on tackling economic and gender inequality and building citizen participation. Mr. Behar currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society across the globe. He also serves on the boards of several other organisations, including the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, an Indian public policy think tank. Prior to Oxfam, Mr Behar was the Executive Director of National Foundation for India and served as the Convener of National Social Watch Coalition and the Co-Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty, a network of over 11,000 civil society organisations.


Dr. S.S Lal


Dr S.S. Lal is a Public Health leader with over 25 years of experience working across the globe mainly on infectious diseases controls programming in a wide variety of health systems. Currently, he is the President of the Global Foundation for Health and Hygiene, and Professor and Head of Public Health, Global Institute of Public Health, India. He has a medical degree (MBBS), a Masters degree in Public Health (MPH), Business Administration (MBA), and a PhD in Medicine/Health Policy.


Subrat Das


Subrat is serving as the Executive Director of CBGA and has worked extensively on government financing of social sectors, fiscal policy and social inclusion, and some of the structural issues in the federal fiscal architecture in India. He has a Masters degr Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.




Jagadananda presently leads the Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD). He demitted the office as the State Information Commissioner, Odisha to advance the Right to Information (RTI) agenda in the State in August 2013 and was a member of the State Planning Board of Odisha, following his active campaigning for people-centric decentralized planning. He is also the President of the National Social Watch (NSW). In 2008, he was a Member of the Committee on State Agrarian Relations and the Unfinished Task in Land Reforms.

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Dr. P. Krishna Kumar


Dr. P. Krishna Kumar started this career as a college lecturer in 1980.He retired from government service as the head of the post graduate department of economics, Mahatma Gandhi College, Trivandrum. Now he is the professor of economics in Kerala Law Academy, Law College and Honorary Associate professor in Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies. He is the chief co-ordinator of the Institute of Gandhian Studies and Research (the research wing of Gandhi Darshan Vedi ). His areas of research include welfare economics, economic planning and development. He had completed several research projects sponsored by reputed research institutions  and published several research articles. He has presented research papers in several national and international seminars.


Zuhail Sainudeen


Zuhail Sainudeen has a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Arizona Tech University, USA. He is finishing his PhD in Nanotechnology from Cornell University and currently pursuing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Micromaster's in Statistics and Data Science.

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Vineet John Samuel


Vineet John Samuel is a policy researcher who was awarded the German Chancellors Fellowship for the year 2021. He was educated at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the National Law School of India University. As a Fellow with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he studies the gig economy, digital platform regulation and the future of work. Prior to his arrival at the Hertie School, Vineet was the Asia Democracy Network Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi and has written extensively on issues of social policy, tech regulation and public finance.

Faculty: Team Members
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