Abhishek Bharadwaj

Founder – Alternative realities

Mr. Bharadwaj graduated from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in 2004. Mr. Bharadwaj has a passion for working with the homeless population. Mr. Bharadwaj works with the police, the administration and companies. Using diverse methodologies such as street theatre, studies, survey and research,he and his volunteers sensitize the civil society towards the issue, negotiate with other organizations and institutions to use their existing infrastructure as night shelters, and arrange access to medical facilities for the homeless. His goal is to create night shelters for 10,000 people in a year. He would like to make sure that state policies provide for low cost living places within working distances.

Ajay Durrani

Managing Director - Indian SubContinent for Covestro

Mr. Durrani has over 21 years of experience in the chemical industry with a focus on achieving continuous and improved business performance. He was instrumental in smooth transitioning of an established brand, Bayer MaterialScience to a new organization, Covestro through setting up of a core strategic team & functional teams, establishing policies and processes, promoting company vision, mission & values, collaborating with global project team, consulting & law firms, and retaining talent.

Ajay K Katuri

Lead Specialist - Urban Planning and Resilience

Ajay Kumar Katuri is an urban planner working at various scales of settlements across the country. He has been working on issues of urban development, especially, housing since the last 18 years. Mr. Katuri was trained as an architect, urban planner and disaster manager. He has been working on issues of housing vulnerability in various locations in India for various state authorities. His tedious work in Shimla, Pune, Aizawl and other urban areas has been well appreciated by policy makers. He has co-authored a recent publication, “National Handbook for Urban Managers on Disaster Management” to improve the structural vulnerability of housing stock.

Ajay Kumar Katuri at TARU is currently responsible for conducting various studies in close collaboration with local authorities in developing strategies to reducing the vulnerability and increasing resilience.

Ajay Suri

Regional Advisor for Asia - Cities Alliance

Ajay Suri is an economist and a development expert with more than 25 years of experience in formulating strategies and managing people-centred development programs across various states and cities in India, South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives) and South-East Asia (Philippines and Vietnam), Africa (Kenya), West Asia (Lebanon) and Central Asia (Iran).

Throughout his career, Ajay Suri has advised governments, civil society organisations and the urban poor on the formulation of policies, strategies and programmes in response to the needs and aspirations of slum residents, poor households, women, tribal population among others.

As a member of the Cities Alliance Secretariat, Ajay Suri has built strategic partnerships and led policy dialogues with national, state and local governments on urban management, in general, and city development, governance and slum upgrading, in particular.

Akhila Sivadas

Director, Centre For Advocacy and Research

Ms. Sivadas has been actively involved in a seven-city project to empower urban poor communities and improve access to basic services for marginal and at-risk communities living in highly vulnerable and underserved habitats. To achieve this she has been facilitating the formation of User Forums led by women and girls. Her work has involved engaging with governments and municipalities in the three cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur to improve the community access to sanitation services. As the founding member of CFAR (Centre for Advocacy and Research) she brings with her rich and varied experience on issues related to gender and development and its impact on the lives of marginal communities. Her other area of focus has been to empower communities most-at-risk of HIV. This was achieved on scale by collaborating with governments, state lead partners (SLPs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to strengthen support to all stakeholders and organizations across six high prevalence states on HIV prevention.

Alok Dasgupta

Head, Technical Cell - Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE)

Alok Dasgupta has over 32 years of experience in the development sector. Presently, working as the Head, Technical Cell at the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE), Delhi he is engaged in projects and activities on pro-poor urban development through inclusive planning and governance, multi-stakeholder partnerships, institutional capacity building and urban reform. Alok Dasgupta is currently is working on the USAID Taps and Toilets project.

Anand Rao

Managing Director - Chaitanya

Anand Rao is one of the founders and promoters of Chaitanya. His earlier work experience has been in international development at World Resources Institute, Washington DC and prior to that at the Indian Corporate Sector at PepsiCo India and Bosch India. He comes to Chaitanya from Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF), where he worked for five years. He has implemented several innovative projects to provide marginalised families with housing support services like solar lighting, pressure cookers and LPG connections to SHG and JLG members which used microfinance to provide the necessary financing for infrastructure services in the state of Karnataka.

Dr. Anjali Karol Mohan

Head of Research and Policy - Indian Housing Federation

Dr. Anjali Karol Mohan is an urban and regional planner with a PhD in e-governance. Over the last 23 years, her practice and research straddles urban and rural development, urban planning and management, public policy and information and communication technologies and development (ICTD). Dr. Anjali Karol Mohan has also designed and delivered several training and capacity building programmes, both for state and non-state actors primarily focusing on planning, heritage-led planning and attendant governance arrangements.

Dr. Mohan is on the board of India Habitat Forum and is a partner at Integrated Design. She has recently been elected as a council member of the Copenhagen based International Federation for Housing and Planning.

Aravamuthan Ramesh Kumar

Chairman and Managing Director - Swarna Pragati Housing

Aravamuthan Ramesh Kumar is a reputed banker with more than three decades of experience in the banking sector. He comes with a deep understanding and knowledge of the Indian and global economy, as well as a rich experience and best governance practices of financial markets.

An ex-Chief General Manager of SBI, he was the head of international offices and subsidiaries of the bank. He was previously CGM of State Bank of India’s Maharashtra Circle. He has been associated with several prestigious bodies viz. Member, Academic Council and Visiting Faculty- NMIMS, Mumbai; Chairman, NABARD National Committee on Rural Habitat; Member, Advisory Committee, Development Alternatives, New Delhi. Aravamuthan Ramesh Kumar’s contribution as Chairman of SME Chamber of India (Northern Region) has brought a vision to the Small & Medium Enterprises to develop into the International Standard Enterprises.

Banashree Banerjee

Associate - Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Banashree Banerjee is an urban planner. In a career spanning more than three decades, the focus of her work has been on inclusive approaches to urban planning and management, particularly related to the poor. She has been responsible for designing, implementing and institutionalizing participatory planning; and monitoring at neighbourhood and city levels. She has also been involved with putting in place city-wide approaches to improve informal settlements in a number of cities.

In the last twenty years Banashree Banerjee has worked extensively as a consultant on urban poverty reduction projects supported by bilateral and international agencies, primarily in India but also in Egypt and Bangladesh. She also conducts short international courses on land management and informal settlements upgrading at Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam.

Bijal Brahmbhatt

Director - Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT)

Bijal Brahmbhatt is an expert in habitat improvement, community development and housing finance. She oversees the MHT’s operations at the national level. She has proven experience in conceptualizing, planning, managing and providing support for slum up gradation programmes across India.

Bijal Brahmbhatt has worked on renewable and efficient energy issues for the poor with various stakeholders including the Government of India and the private sector. Her professional experience focuses on a range of poverty alleviation issues, particularly with women, entrepreneurship, slum up-gradation, Water and Sanitation, income and urban planning, housing finance, housing technology etc.

Dr. Debolina Kundu

Associate Professor- National Institute of Urban Affairs

Dr. Debolina Kundu has over 20 years of professional experience in the field of development studies. She has been a doctoral fellow with the ICSSR and has a Ph.D degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on municipal finance and governance. She has worked as a consultant with LSE, IIDS, UNDP, UNESCAP, KfW Germany, GIZ, Urban Institute, Washington etc. on issues of urban development, governance and exclusion. She is the editor of the journal Environment and Urbanisation, Asia (SAGE) with a large number of articles published in books and journals. She is currently a part time member of the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission.

Dr. Dinesh Mehta

Professor Emeritus - CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Dr. Dinesh Mehta is the joint-director of the research programme on water and sanitation at CEPT University. In 2013, Dr. Mehta was awarded IWA’s (International Water Association) Development Solutions Award in recognition of his contribution to research and practice. In recent years, he has been involved in assessing service level benchmarks for water and sanitation in India. His work on sanitation focuses on small towns where on-site sanitation systems are more prevalent. He has published extensively on housing, water and sanitation, urban planning, poverty and equity issues.

Dr. Dinesh Mehta was involved in the global urban policy and dialogue as head of Urban Management Programme at the UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi. He also contributed significantly to the urban policy formulation by Government of India, while he was a Director of the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, India.

Eilia Jafar

Disaster Management Unit - Care India

Eilia Jafar is a humanitarian professional with more than fifteen years of experience in the field of disaster preparedness, response and rehabilitation. Her experience includes international missions to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. She has led a large number of emergency response operations focusing on shelter, WASH and livelihoods. She has contributed significantly to policy formulation, strategy development, and planning in the disaster risk reduction sector at the national level in India.

Eilia Jafar is also an alumnus of International Visitor Leadership Program in Disaster Management hosted by the State Department, Government of USA. She has authored several academic papers on Disaster management, business continuity management, and gender in emergencies. Before joining CARE, she has worked with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - South Asia Delegation; IFRC India Delegation and UNDP.

Firoza Mehrotra

Strategy Adviser - HomeNet South Asia

Firoza Mehrotra has worked in the Indian Administrative Service, for over 38 years, working both at the policy and field levels.  She retired as Special Consultant in the Planning Commission, Government of India. She also worked with  UN Women South Asia as the Deputy Regional Program Director for over 5 years when she worked  on policy and advocacy  issues with governments of the region, civil society especially women’s groups and research institutions in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In addition, Firoza Mehrota also worked in UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) as the Gender Specialist. Her areas of specialization are home-based workers, gender responsive planning & budgeting, women’s rights, combating violence against women, adolescents and early child care and development.

Greg Skowronski

Director, Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, AP office

Mr. Greg Skowronski is a development professional committed to delivering social impact and poverty reduction through market-based approaches. He has been responsible for designing and managing private sector development programs in the areas of market systems, value chain, microfinance and small enterprise development. Prior to this he worked with Paradigm Shift where he developed a microenterprise training program that supports livelihood opportunities in low-income communities in South Africa.

Gregor Herda

Regional Housing Advisor for India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka - United Nations Human Settlement Programme

Mr. Herda is an urban planner who has been coordinating the sustainable housing portfolio of UN-Habitat since 2014, including the activities of the Global Network for Sustainable Housing. His research interests include the socio-economic and financial sustainability of social housing programmes, integrated life-cycle energy analysis of housing developments as well as the application of building sustainability assessment and benchmarking tools in the Global South. He is currently based in New Delhi.

Dr H. S. Gill

Executive Director and Head of HUDCO - HSMI

Dr. H. S. Gill heads the Human Settlements Management Institute (HSMI) under the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) under the capacity building program of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. Dr. Gill holds a PhD in Economics from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has been associated with several eminent institutions such as National Institute of Urban Affairs, National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment and Institute of Economic Growth.

Hitesh Vaidya

India Country Manager for United Nations Human Settlements Program

Hitesh Vaidya has over 20 years of experience in the field of urban management, urban governance and local government finance. In the past he has been involved in projects focussing on financial management reforms and improving transparency; urban policy issues; and has a commitment to improve the situation of urban poor.

Hitesh Vaidya has been actively engaged in rolling out the National Urban Missions in India, particularly Smart Cities Mission. Some of his significant assignments include supporting the Ministry of Urban Development in designing and rolling out the National Mission Mode project on e-governance and developing City Sanitation Plans under USAID’s Financial Institution Reform and Expansion (FIRE-D) project. He has worked as a Training Advisor at Indo-USAID Financial Institutions Reform and as a Sr. Municipal Development Specialist for the USAID FIRE Project.

Indu Prakash Singh

National Team Leader - Action Aid

Indu Prakash Singh is a National Convenor at the National Forum for Housing Rights, prior to which he was the head for City Makers Programme for homeless and urban poverty at Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS). He has held the position of Director at Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan.

Indu Prakash Singh has a Masters in Philosophy in Sociology, Women’s Studies from the Jawaharlal Nehru Vishvavidyalaya

Joseph Sagyam

Convenor- Inter Agency Group

The Inter Agency Group is a network of ngos, international ngos and other like minded organisations together in a specific sector. Mr. Sagayam is the convenor for the Inter Agency Group on disaster response for Tamil Nadu based in Chennai.

Mr. Sagayam currently works with CASA, an Indian development and humanitarian organization. Care, Awareness, Service and Action (CASA) was establisged in 1947 with the mission to work for the poorest of the poor irrespective of caste, religion, gender and political affiliations. Their focus is people helping people.

Joseph Scaria

Area Director – Resource Development, Asia Pacific- HFH International

Mr. Joseph Scaria facilitates the Habitat for Humanity’s National Organization strategies in the region to build its resource base sustainable and diverse.

Mr. Scaria is a Social Marketer with over 23 years of experience in marketing, resource mobilization, program development and management, creative and innovative enterprise planning, training and capacity building, grassroots communication and implementing social development projects in various countries in Asia Pacific region, the commonwealth countries and Africa.

He has been a management consultant to various businesses in India and Africa. He is a promoter of Corporate Social Responsibility and provides leadership to begin social enterprises or social businesses as resource mobilization strategy for social development organizations.

Dr. Kamal Kar, Founder

Community Led Total Sanitation Foundation

Dr. Kamal Kar is a specialist in livestock production, agriculture and natural resources by training, with special interest in Social and Participatory Development. He has worked as an independent consultant in South and South East Asia, Africa and Latin America for bilateral, multilateral and international agencies, including the World Bank, WSP, the Asian Development Bank, DFID, UNICEF, UNDP, Ireland Aid, GTZ, and a number of International NGOs, including CARE, Plan International and WaterAid. From 2006 to 2009, he also worked with IDS as a consultant on the DFID funded project ‘Going to Scale’. He subsequently collaborated with Irish Aid and Gates Foundation supported action learning and networking projects on CLTS until 2010 when he set up his own organisation, the CLTS Foundation in his hometown of Kolkata, India. Dr. Kamal Kar in 2015 was awarded the Sarphati Sanitation Life Time Achievement Award.

Kamalkant Pandey

Professor- Indian Institute of Public Administration

Professor Kamalkant Pandey has been a member of several UN Expert Groups set up by UN-HABITAT, UNESCAP and UNESCO on Urban development, finance and governance issues namely (i) Local Leadership and Management (ii) Pro-poor PPP (iii) Urban Management (iv) Integrated Water Management (v) Gender and Urban Governance (vi) Institutional Development for Sustainable Urbanization (vii) and Urban Finance. Kamalkant Pandey has delivered workshops, seminars and training courses of national and international recognition.

Kavita Wankhade

Practice Lead - Indian Institute of Human Settlement

Kavita Wankhade works at the intersection of natural and built environment and the socio-economic systems. Her recent work focuses on issues of urban sustainability, particularly in infrastructure systems and urban form. She has worked on a wide range of areas, including environmental services, sustainability and climate change, urban form, and urban governance. While working primarily in the private sector with a range of institutions including the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development, UNDP and IDFC, her work has involved engagement with various state governments in India.

Kirtee Shah

Chairman - KSA Design

Kirtee Shah is a practicing Architect and the Chairman of KSA Design Planning Services P. Ltd. He is also a founder director of Ahmedabad Study Action Group (ASAG) a public charitable trust, for the past 35 years. He was the president of Habitat International Coalition, world’s largest coalition of Habitat Professionals working on issues of housing rights and sustainable urban development, for 10 years; founder President of India Habitat Forum (INHAF) with over 200 members across the country; one of the founders of Ashoka Innovator for the public, which now works in 45 countries of the world.

Kirtee Shah is an active member of the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR) in Thailand and CityNet in Japan. He is a founder Chairman of HOLSAA – Home Losers’ Service Association in Ahmedabad, following the Gujarat Earthquake. He has written several papers on people’s rights on housing, Earthquake Policy and Riverfront Development in Ahmedabad.

Krishnaswamy Rajivan

Consultant - Cities Allaince

Krishnaswamy Rajivan holds a Masters and PhD in Economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He has worked for 18 years in the Indian Administrative Service in infrastructure and industry at various levels, starting from city level administration to the Prime Minister’s office. He was the CEO of the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund for 7 years (1996-2003), a public-private partnership to finance infrastructure. He worked as Senior Urban Finance Specialist at the Cities Alliance, World Bank Washington (2003-08). Currently he is an independent consultant.

Dr. Kulwant Singh

Chief Executive Officer - 3R WASTE Foundation (India).

Dr. Kulwant Singh served as Chief Technical Adviser for the Urban Basic Services Branch of UN-Habitat, Nairobi. He has continued to support the work of UN-Habitat, with reference to the urban basic services comprising, water, sanitation, waste management, energy and urban mobility. He supported the Urban Basic Services Branch in the formulation and implementation of projects and dialogue by partnering national and city governments.

Prior to his term with the UN-Habitat, Dr. Kulwant Singh was Executive Director, Human Settlements Management Institute of HUDCO, New Delhi for 12 years. An urban economist, he was also part of the Indian Economic Service from 1971-1992.

Dr. Madalasa Venkataraman

Researcher – IIM Bangalore

Dr. Madalasa leads the research activities of the centre and is in-charge of the government and academic programs. She is also a visiting faculty at IIM-I and IIM Rohtak, where she teaches finance elective courses in investments and wealth management. She has taught MDP’s in real estate management and valuation at IIMB/IIMI, and also teaches Financial Analytics and other finance specializations at NMIMS Bengaluru.

Prior to this, Dr. Madalasa was associated with the Center of Excellence in Urban Development, Center for Public Policy, IIMB, where she conducted a Land Market assessment study for the city of Bangalore. She has worked in policy and related areas in land markets, governance and real estate valuations. She obtained her Fellow in Management at IIMB in the area of reverse mortgages in 2010.1

Drs. Meera Mehta

Mehta, Professor Emeritus - CEPT University

Drs. Meera Mehta is an international consultant with 30 years of experience in the field of water, urban development and infrastructure finance. She joined CEPT in 1979 and prior to that she was the Director of School for Planning. Her vast experience includes the USAID’s FIRE Project in India, World Bank in India and its Water and Sanitation Program in Africa. She has also consulted for a large number of international agencies, national and local governments and leading international NGOs.

Mahesh Maria Nathan

Head, WASH Program - World Vision India

Mr. Nathan is currently heading the Water, Sanitation and Health program of World Vision India. He has been with World Vision for the last 5 years undertaking development projects for the organization. He pursued his Masters in leadership and Administration.

Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit

Founder and Director- International Housing Finance Program (IHFP); Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit is the Director of the International Housing Finance Program, of the Wharton School Zell / Lurie Real Estate Center, and an Adjunct Professor in the Wharton Real Estate Department and the Department of City and Regional Planning of the University of Pennsylvania.

Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit's research interests include housing market analysis, housing finance policy and subsidy reforms, and the development of monitoring and evaluation systems for urban housing programs. Her recent consulting activities have been towards the development of comprehensive housing strategies and subsidy systems for the Governments of Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname; urban housing market studies in Thailand, South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania; and the development of participatory approaches for urban and housing development for the Governments of South Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit also prepared national strategies for housing finance training for the Governments of Pakistan and India. She is a member of the Working Group on Urban and Housing Research of the World Bank.

Mihir Bhatt, Director

All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI)

Mihir Bhatt studied and practiced architecture and city planning in Ahmedabad and Delhi, India, and later Cambridge and Washington DC, USA. On returning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology he initiated the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI). He received the Russell E. Train Institutional Fellowship from the World Wildlife Fund, USA; Eisenhower Fellowship, USA; and Ashoka International Fellowship, USA. AIDMI works in 35 cities and 49 districts in India focusing on making schools safer from disaster: local district and city planning for disaster risk reduction; and piloting insurance coverage for the small businesses of the poor across six states of India.

Mihir Bhatt advises Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) on vulnerability reduction, renewable energy, urban resilience and climate smart disaster risk management.

Mrinal Gohain

Head-North East Regional office - ActionAid

Mrinal Gohain, heads the North East Regional Office of ActionAid India, out of Guwahati. In his current role he manages long term and short term initiatives in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram. He has been responsible for carrying out projects spanning across districts like Tinsukia, Morigaon, Chandel, Mamit and Lakhimpur directly reaching out to about 93,000 tribal populations of the region.

N. V. C. Menon

Former member - National Disaster Management Agency

Professor N V. C. Menon served as a member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) from 2005- 2010. He has over 28 years of experience in several multi-disciplinary public policy areas, disaster management, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. As a Founding Member at National Disaster Management Authority in India, he contributed to the preparation of National Disaster Management Guidelines, monitoring the preparation of disaster management plans, designing capacity building interventions, launching public awareness campaigns, preparing disaster mitigation projects, strengthening emergency response and strengthening international cooperation in the field of disaster management in India.

Penial Malakar

Disaster Response - Emmanuel Hospital Association

Penial Malakar has a decade long experience in the humanitarian sector. He has developed and spear headed 6 major Disaster Risk Reduction projects across India and Nepal. While at Emmanuel Health Association, he has successfully developed the organization’s disaster management strategy keeping line with the global agenda and best practices. He effectively plays the crucial role of the Incident Commander during disaster emergency response program to ensure effective disaster response.

Penial Malakar started his career with a pharmaceutical company and then served in the medical field for more than 13 years. In 2006, he joined to develop EHA’s (Emmanuel Hospital Association) Disaster Management & Mitigation Unit (DMMU).

Peter Nelson

Executive Director – Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS)

Peter Nelson has a working experience of over 25 years in national level development and program management. His expertise lies in social analysis and organization of people, coordination and networking of NGOs, process reporting and documentation and rapid assessment skills during disasters. Prior to joining IGSSS, at Caritas India, he was leading the effective implementation of around 400 programmes across India with a volume of nearly 100 crores.

Peter Nelson was actively involved in designing and facilitating the implementation of Disaster Preparedness, Natural Resource Management, Livelihood and entitlement programmes. He has successfully handled the Gujarat Earthquake programme and Tsunami Response programme of Caritas India.

Pratima Joshi

Executive Director - Shelter Associates

Pratima Joshi has worked in the area of sustainable low cost housing and sanitation for the urban poor for nearly 25 years. Using concepts like multi-stakeholder consultation, user-centred design and participative governance long before they were fashionable.

Pratima Joshi is widely recognized as a leading planner and designer of slum infrastructure, co-founding Shelter Associates to convert slums into housing societies for the poor, to provide safer and cleaner environment that also retain the community spirit and give access to services like water, sanitation, electricity etc. which often urban slums lack. She Joshi has participated in policy discussions and advised government programs including the Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY), and speaks and presents this work extensively across the world at universities, to government and other social sector organizations.

Professor Santosh Kumar

Executive Director- National Institute of Disaster Management

Professor Kumar a Disaster Risk Reduction, Policy Planning and Capacity Development expert with 25 years of experience in different positions in the Development Planning and DRR Sector. Backed with International exposure at World Bank and Government exposure in different capacities working at the national and state levels, he is an experienced hand in designing, planning and implementing mitigation and long term disaster recovery plan and projects.

A PhD. in Economics, he studied Gender & Development in IDS, Sussex UK and got professional training in Disaster risk Management. He brings with him the rare combination of exposure variation from grass root to national to regional level in all aspects spanning DRR with special expertise in Post disaster loss assessment, Recovery and inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction. Visioning, strengthening and building sustainable institutions are his passion. His insight of bringing development into disaster risk reduction has also allowed new thinking in the framework.

Rajan Samuel

Managing Director - Habitat for Humanity India

Rajan Samuel is a strategic, international specialist in Microfinance. He has previously been responsible for implementing and managing Economic Development and Microfinance programs in Asia, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe. Having a vast background in microfinance, he has established 15 independent Microfinance institutions in 10 countries including Rural Banks, Cooperatives & Credit Unions and Non-Bank Finance Companies.

Rajan Samuel, in his 30 years’ experience has undertaken assignments in over 25 countries. His extensive experience includes working for the World Bank for NRF, Habitat for Humanity International, Opportunity International, US AID, Danish International Development Agency, British Retail Consortium (BRC), Khula Finance, DFID, IFAD, CARE, World Vision, DANIDA among others. Before joining Habitat India, he was the housing finance manager with Habitat’s Asia-Pacific area office.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation - (MHUPA)

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, (IAS), is the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MHUPA). He has served as the Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Gas Distribution Corporation Ltd. Since March 10, 2015 he has been the Government Nominee Director at Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. He has been a Director at National Housing Bank. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra has over 29 years of experience and in the past has been associated with the Infrastructure and Investment Department as its Principal Secretary and with the National Mission for Clean Ganga as the Ex-Officio Mission Director. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kanpur, India.

Rakesh Israni

Director - Avaas by Nebula

Rakesh Israni has spent over 2 decades in the Real Estate Industry in the United States and in India. While in the United States he started his career in the real estate industry and spent several years in both development and investment sector in multiple real asset classes. After 10 successful years in the US he moved back to India to start a development platform. Today, he has led over 30 successful projects and has led one of the most successful FDI Real Estate companies in India. During this time he has partnered on real estate projects with other Foreign Institutional Investors such as Cadim Inc. of Canada and Elbit System of Israel. Rakesh Israni is a member of CREDAI and is a frequent speaker at Industry Conclaves.

Ramchandra Vaidya

Chief Executive Officer - MicroBuild India

Ramchandra Vaidya is a Commerce graduate with an Advance Management Certification from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore. He has over 25 years of experience in the field of financial services and has worked for various non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and banks. Prior to joining MicroBuild India, Ramchandra Vaidya was the Chief Operating Officer at Grameen Financial Services (Grameen Koota), a leading microfinance institution in India.

M. Ramesh Babu

Director-Programmes, EFICOR

M. Ramesh Babu has been working with EFICOR since 1996 in varying capacities. At present he holds the position of Director, Programmes to facilitate the implementation of strategic planning and objectives through efficient and effective implementation of disaster risk reduction projects and community based climate change adaptation. He initiated and implemented sustainable development projects for the Koya tribes. He Babu is known for his ability to steer the team towards optimum outcomes by creating a result-oriented environment during implementation of programs.

M. Ramesh Babu’s articles on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Response have been published in international journals and in-house magazines.

Ms. Renu Sud Karnad

Managing Director - Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited.

Ms. Renu Sud Karnad joined HDFC Ltd. in 1978. After having spent over two decades in various positions, she was inducted onto its Board as Executive Director in 2000. Previously, she served as a Joint Managing Director of Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited from October 2007 to January 1, 2010. Ms. Karnad started her career in the legal and credit department at HDFC and served as Head of the Lending Business in HDFC. She serves as Chairperson of HDFC Education and Development Services Pvt. Ltd, HDFC Property Ventures Ltd, Credila Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. and HDFC Sales Pvt. Ltd.

Under Ms. Karnad's leadership, HDFC has grown consistently in its lending business with cumulative home loan disbursements of over Rs 5 trillion. Owing to her successful spell with the mortgage sector, Ms. Karnad has served as the President of the International Union for Housing Finance (IUHF), an association of housing finance firms present across the globe.

Mr. Karnad is a Parvin Fellow - Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton University, U.S.A.

Richard Northcote

Chief Sustainability Officer - Covestro

Richard Northcote serves as the Chief Sustainability Officer of Covestro AG. He joined Covestro AG in March 2009 as Head of Global Strategic Communications. He worked in the Middle East and Asia as a journalist and editor before returning to London in 1991 to take up the editorship of Construction Weekly and then The Engineer; at Morgan Grampian/Miller Freeman.

Richard Northcote sits on the Steering Committee of the Oxford University Business Economics Programme (OUBEP); is an advisor to the Board of the European Institute for Industrial Leadership (EIIL) and a member of both the European Chemical Associations (CEFIC) Sustainability Council and the Editorial Board of Reed Business International's chemical magazine ICIS. He studied Geography and Economics at Glasgow University before qualifying as a Quantity Surveyor from Croydon College of Technology in London.

Dr. P.S.N Rao

Chairman - Delhi Urban Arts Commission, Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India and Head of School of Planning and Architecture

Dr. P.S.N Rao’s expertise extends to smart cities, housing, land and real estate, design of townships, civic and municipal issues, architecture, urban planning and urban arts, city development plans and strategies, public private partnerships and town planning.

Salmon Jacob

National Coordinator : Climate Change & Environment - World Vision India

Mr. Jacob is presently working as ‘National Coordinator at World Vision India, based at Delhi. He completed his Masters in Environmental Management (M.E.M), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Environmental Science & presently pursuing doctoral studies. He started his professional career as lecturer in Environmental Science- at Shivaji University, and he subsequently worked in different capacities as Environmental Consultant, Project Officer- Operations, Technical Specialist – Environment & WASH, and DRR specialist in different national and international organizations. Salmon at present is actively involved in developmental programmes with communities at the grassroots across India, on issues of climate change.

Sameer Gandotra

Director - Avaas by Nebula

After a stint in investment banking with Bank of America in New York, Sameer Gandotra moved to CIS & Russia where he initially worked in M&A with Nelson Resources, an independent oil & gas company. He went on to hold Senior Management & Board level positions in Engineering & Construction companies in the region before establishing his own Oil & Gas services business. Since 2013 he has been an active investor in Real Estate projects in India. Sameer has a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Stephens College, Delhi and an MBA from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sanjiv Ray

Terwilliger Fellow, India

Sanjiv Ray is an accomplished finance professional with extensive global education and experience. He has a unique blend of experience both in the Corporate and Social Development space. He recently joined the Habitat Asia-Pacific Team, as a Terwilliger Fellow in India. Previously, Sanjiv Ray worked in impact investing with social enterprises and held various management positions with private sector firms including IDFC, Oracle, Xerox and Nabisco. He holds a MBA from McGill University in Canada and is a Chartered Management Accountant.

Shalini Sinha

India Country Representative - Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing

Shalini Sharma holds expertise in gender and pro-poor issues in India and South Asian context, decent work and livelihood opportunities for women workers in the informal economy. Her work focuses on developing and documenting decent work and livelihood opportunities for women workers in the informal economy, especially women home-based workers in urban locations. Prior to joining WIEGO, she worked as an independent consultant specializing in labour, gender and social development issues for national and international NGOs and funding agencies. Shalini Sharma holds an M. Phil in Political Science from Delhi University.

Shailendra Narain Pattanaik

Program Officer- Catholic Relief Services

Mr. Pattanaik completed his MSW and Executive-MBA in Disaster and Construction Management. He has been in the development sector for the last 26 years. His work has revolved around Natural Resource Management and Disaster Risk Reduction.

Mr. Pattanaik has been involved in shelter (re)construction programming with Catholic Relief Services in India, especially in Odisha since 2010 including post disaster reconstruction and demonstration of model shelters to build community resilience. As the Shelter Lead person in the country, his role includes working closely with CRS’s Global Shelter and Settlement Technical Team to develop the prototype for low cost rural housing with disaster resilient features and its demonstration in field as well as prepare the partner level technical persons on the Shelter Design and strategize its implementation.

Dr. Srinivas Chokkakula

Senior Research Fellow - Centre for Policy Research

Dr. Srinivas Chokkakula holds research positions at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK, and at the Department of Geography, University of Washington, USA. He is a political geographer with a PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle; and has degrees in environmental planning and civil engineering.

Dr. Srinivas Chokkakula is a British Council’s Chevening Scholar, and recipient of many other fellowships and scholarships. His work extends for over 20 years covering wide-ranging topics: water conflicts, natural resources management, urban and regional planning, governance in India, disaster response and reconstruction. His current research interests focus on trans-boundary water conflicts, development studies and state-society relations in South Asia.

Suresh Koidhalli Krishna

Managing Director - Grameen Koota

Suresh K. Krishna had been at the helm of activities at Grameen Koota Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. since its inception in 1999. He continues to be a non-executive Director. He has also founded and run small business enterprises in computer education, industrial safety products and consultation in local area networks in companies. He has been instrumental in establishing various social enterprises such as NGOs, Industry Association, NBFC MFIs and other companies. Suresh K. Krishna has studied and observed the nuances of microcredit at various leading international microfinance institutions and has developed the Grameen Koota microfinance model. He has studied international microfinance models and strategies from several reputed establishments including Grameen Bank, Bankakademie, Germany and Harvard Business School, USA.

Suresh K. Krishna has built GK into a large, reputed microfinance institution operating in 5 states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh reaching out to 1.2 million poor households with microfinance services.

Swapnil Chaturvedi

CEO and Chief Toilet Cleaner, Samagra

Swapnil Chaturvedi is changing the widespread practice of open defecation in urban slums, by strategically influencing key emotional and rational decision-making. Through the principles of human-centred design, he is improving the condition of community toilets to create “compelling experiences” for its customers while also building a sustainable model in collaboration with the municipality, FMCGs and local businesses. His work has instilled ownership and created better user experiences. Simultaneously, he understands the needs of communities to introduce a dynamic system of rewards and feedback that are aimed at bringing about a sustainable shift in behaviour.

Swapnil Chaturvedi intervention in Pune slum blocks has led to a 600% increase in payment for toilet usage and the average number of daily users is over 2500, thus reducing the impact of open defecation and related diseases.

Swetan Sagar

Chief Operating Officer - MCRIL

Swetan Sagar has a professional experience of 17 years. He has worked in various countries on microfinance, micro-insurance, enterprise promotion and business development services (BDS). His expertise is in designing large-scale research projects, providing advisory and hand-holding services and strategic guidance to MFIs & enterprise promotion organizations.

Swetan Sagar started his career as a Marketing Manager for Jungle Lodges and Resorts, a chain of ecotourism resorts of Government of Karnataka. Initially, he was the Team Leader of the Regional Development Centre for providing strategic support to SIDBI partners in 14. Since then, he has led various assignments across countries and has been a key member in the growth of the research division of M-CRIL.

Thiru G Prakash (IAS)

Director - Municipal Administration, Chennai

Mr. Prakash has held many positions in the Chennai Government. Mr. Prakash served as the Joint Secretary, Industries Department Government of Chennai. He has also been the Director of Handlooms. In the past Mr. Prakash served as the collector of the districts of Tirunelveli and Thoothkudi.

V Satyanarayana

Chief Executive Officer - Aarusha Homes

V. Satyanarayana, Co-Founded Aarusha Homes Private Limited and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. He is an urban sector professional with 19 years of experience in: structuring bankable large-scale urban infrastructure projects; municipal bonds; private sector participation; slum upgrading; housing finance; establishment of new institutions; and, implementation of state and national reforms for improved housing and infrastructure in Asia ... and Africa. He was previously with the Slum Upgrading Facility (SUF), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT),- Nairobi, Kenya and at the Indo-USAID Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion (FIRE) Project, Delhi. He holds a master’s degree in housing planning from CEPT and a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from KITS, Warangal.

Vasudevan Suresh


Vasudevan Suresh has over 4 decades of experience in Housing, Urban Development, Infrastructure and Real Estate sector. He is a strong advocate for sustainable development and the green building movement. He served as the CMD of HUDCO till June 2002. He has previously worked with the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department and Bureau of Indian Standards.

Vasudevan Suresh is the member of CII National Committee of Real Estate & Housing, Member of Indian Merchants’ Chamber Housing Committee, MEDC and CREDAI. He is currently the Principal Executive Officer of HIRCO, leading real estate development enterprise dealing with integrated and self-contained township development.

Vikrant Mahajan

Chief Executive Officer - Sphere India

Vikrant Mahajan leads the organisation’s work on humanitarian coordination, advocacy and capacity-building and coordinates the South Asia Together for the Humanitarian Imperative (SATHI) network. He has a rich experience in working with governments, UN agencies, corporate and civil society organisations in diverse contexts. An experienced facilitator, he has trained senior and middle management professionals on a range of subjects including risk management and humanitarian quality and accountability standards.

Vikrant Mahajan was a commissioned officer in the Indian Army Corps of Engineers for nine years, participating in operations and exercises in complex humanitarian situations. He has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, public administration, organisational development and humanitarian assistance.

Dr. Y Malini Reddy

Associate Professor - Administrative Staff College of India

Dr. Y Malini Reddy specializes in marketing, educational quality, behaviour change communication, participatory approaches and social entrepreneurship. She has more than 19 years of professional experience working with academic institutions, business organizations, state and local governments in India, international foundations and not-for-profit organizations.

Dr. Y Malini Reddy leads initiatives on WASH in Schools, social entrepreneurship and is engaged as Project Manager in several national and international assignments in the areas of sanitation, smart cities and improvements in public service design and delivery. She is currently pursuing a Social Impact Leadership Program.