Governing Body

Mr. Apoorva Oza

Dr. Rita Sharma - Chairperson

Dr. Rita Sharma- Chairperson Dr. Rita Sharma is the former Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Rural Development. She has served as Land Resources Commissioner and Extension Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture. She was Secretary to the National Advisory Council (NAC), in the Prime Minister’s Office. She is a retired member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). In her various assignments in the Central Government and in the State Government of Uttar Pradesh, she has been responsible for the delivery of government programmes and projects for poverty alleviation, employment generation, natural resource management, infrastructure development and risk mitigation in rural areas. Her areas of specialization include development policy and planning, food and livelihoods security, climate smart agriculture, empowerment of farm women and skill development of rural youth.
As Secretary, Rural Development she oversaw the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA), the world’s largest public works programme providing social security and the right to work to rural households. As Secretary of NAC she was involved in the drafting of the National Food Security Bill, formulating the National Agro-forestry Policy, incentivising Famer Producer Organizations, supporting innovative agricultural extension systems and several others. Dr. Sharma served as Commissioner to the International Commission of Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, 2012. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos and the World Agro-forestry Centre, Nairobi. Currently, she is a Board Member of the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences, a Delhi-based Think Tank, and Member of the Steering Committee on Agriculture for Food Security Agenda 2030 (AgriFoSe2030), Stockholm. Dr. Sharma holds a Ph.D. in Development Economics from Cornell University.

Mr. Binoy Acharya- Trustee

Mr. Binoy Acharya- Trustee

Mr. Binoy Acharya holds a M.Phil degree in Social Sciences from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He is the Founder Director of “UNNATI-Organisation for Development Education”. He has been working as a researcher and public educator to promote social inclusion and democratic local governance. Over the last twenty three years, he has been associated with movements, networks and government forums relating to dalit rights, gender issues and decentralised governance. Based on his field experience, he has been writing articles and issue papers in different academic and NGO journals. He also plays a consultative role to a wide range of institutions locally and internationally, like Dalit Adhikar Abhiyan in Rajasthan, Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyaan and Gender Resource Group, Governance and Democracy Programme of Commonwealth Foundation to mention a few. His other areas of interest include programme and strategic planning, organisational development and stakeholder participation and interfacing. He is currently based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat and works primarily in Rajasthan and Gujarat

Ms. G.Jayanthi

Ms. G.Jayanthi- Trustee and Program Director (HR)

G. Jayanthi, is a post graduate in forestry management from Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal.
She has over two decades of experience in development work and has been one of the key persons in setting up Action for Social Advancement (ASA).
She has specialised in community organisation, designing development interventions in the fields of natural resource management, livelihood promotion and institutional development. She steers the human resources development activities in ASA

Mr. Binoy Acharya- Trustee

Mr.M.M.Upadhyay- Trustee

Spanning over a thirty years of illustrious career in public service Shri Madan Mohan Upadhayay joined the all India services first as IFS in 1978 and then IRTS in 1980 and in the Indian Administrative Services in 1981 as a cadre of Madhya Pradesh. He had gone to the St. Stephan’s College, Delhi to complete his master’s degree in Chemistry and subsequently completed his LLB and MBA. Being in government service Shri Upadhayay served in Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh in diverse capacities for thirty years as district Collector, Commissioner, Principal Sectary of various departments like agriculture, rural development, food and civil supplies, health, education, SC/ST welfare, social justice, etc. He retired as the Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Madhya Pradesh in July 2015.
Shri Upadhayay led the Agriculture department of Madhya Pradesh to receive the highest national award called “Krishi Karman Award” for two consecutive years in 2011 & 2012 for excellence in agriculture, presented by the Hon’ble President of India. He is the recipient of the Common Wealth Award for Public Administration & Management in 2008 for excellent work in public services for the safe motherhood initiatives in Madhya Pradesh. Shri Upadhayay has been nominated for Padma Shri Award in 2004 for outstanding performance as civil servant. He is a prolific writer and has fifteen books under his credit on diverse topics such as management & public administration, good governance, art and linguistics, history, culture and poetry. He is a passionate conservator of heritage and has actively participated in heritage works in all his assignments with the government by writing books, publication of reports, survey of Parables and Idioms in the local language and dialects for Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Post retirement Shri Upadhayay is associated with the Institute of Good Governance and Policy Analysis, Bhopal as Principal Advisor. He is also the convenor of INTACH, Madhya Pradesh Chapter.


Mr. Binoy Acharya- Trustee

Ms.Prema Gera- Trustee

Prema Gera is a former United Nations Official where she served in different capacities from 2002 - 2013, with the last post being the Assistant Country Director and Head of the Poverty Programme at UNDP India. Prior to that, she worked with national and intermational NGOs -Development Alternatives and the Aga Khan Foundation respectively - as well as an independent consultant with bilateral and multilateral development agencies such as The World Bank, Department for International Development, IINDP and GIZ. She has also worked closely with national and state governments and a number of NGOs and research Institutions. Prema has nearly 25 years of experience in social mobilisation, rural development and women's empowerment. She has been involved in programme design, programme Management and policy advocacy. Prema is a student of history. She graduated from Lady' Shri Ram College in 1985 and did her Masters from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1987


Mr. Samir Ghosh

Mr. Samir Ghosh- Trustee

Mr. Samir Ghosh currently works as a senior consultant with the World Bank and UNDP. Earlier he has worked as a senior consultant with UNICEF India as Social Planning expert. He has also undertaken various projects and research studies for several national and international organizations in Social Exclusion. He has prepared the Maharashtra state Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). His work in decentralized planning has been appreciated and accepted by the Planning ComMission, Core values and Objectives GoI. He was founder- Chairman of “Rehabilitation India”. He was a working committee member of the India’s IXth & Xth five-year Plan and also governing body member of several committees at the GoI and United Nations. He was the editor and leader of the drafting committee on preparation of global policy paper on ‘Policy guidelines on prevention of handicapping conditions’. He has authored the State Comprehensive Disability Policy document for Government of Chhattisgarh and Bihar which has been recognized as the best practice policy in India by World Bank in the India Country Report 2009. Currently he is advising the Govt. of Rajasthan on Social Policy and advising Rajasthan Mission, Core values and Objectives on Livelihood on preparing inclusion strategies for PwDs within the mainstream livelihood initiatives. He is also anchoring a project by Planning ComMission, Core values and Objectives-UNDP which is a documentation of best practices from ten states of India in the area of “Livelihood and PwDs" in 10 States of India. The final document is expected to provide major leads for the 12th five year plan and strengthening the chapter on disability for NREM.

Ms. Soma Dutta

Ms. Soma Dutta- Trustee

Soma works as an independent consultant, working on issues surrounding environment, energy and sustainable development, including Gender, poverty and energy; Energy access, rural and renewable energy programme support including project design, planning, monitoring and evaluation; Capacity building; and Research, analysis and documentation. Until December 2011, she was the Asia Regional Coordinator for ENERGIA: the international network on gender and sustainable energy. ENERGIA, which is in its Phase 4, is an independent programme hosted by the ETC Foundation, a non-profit-making organization based in the Netherlands. In Asia, ENERGIA operates through national focal points in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines, Lao PDR, Indonesia and Vietnam. She has also been working as a technical advisor and trainer on social inclusion and gender mainstreaming for energy and environment projects and programmes in Asia and Africa. She also provides support to NGOs in India and other Asian countries.

Mr. Binoy Acharya- Trustee

Mr. Subhash Mittal- Trustee

After working as a chartered accountant in UK and in India (with PwC) he chose to work in social development sector, associated with agencies like Unicef, World Bank, Danida and several other bilateral and multilateral agencies, as an independant consultant. His experience includes public project and organization appraisals, financial management, accountability assurance, public expenditure, developing manuals, etc. In the last 2-3 years he has focused on Training and capacity building of professionals in social development sector with organising more than 30 training programs. Also he has promoted Socio Research Reform Foundation and started an e-platform of SRRF Dialogue with more than 5000 members, who actively participate in social issues.

Mr. Binoy Acharya- Trustee

Mr. Subrata Dasgupta- Trustee

Subrata has been in the financial sector of IT industry for more than 30 years. He has managed organizations, software development groups and large projects; architected and built large business solutions and portals. He has subject matter expertise in financial solutions, including Retail Banking, Micro-Finance, Stock Exchange, Securities Processing, Custodial Services, and Accounting. He is presently an Associate Director - Solution Specialist, BFSI for India/South Asia region in IBM and has been associated with them for 10 years. Prior to joining IBM, he was the Vice President of Onward eServices Limited, a 100% subsidy of Onward Technologies limited, managing their Banking business for about two years. He led the Capital Market Business Development group in i-flex solutions (now Oracle Financial Solutions Services), where he spent 14 years of his career. As a fresh Electrical Engineering graduate from BIT Mesra, he started his journey into IT industry in 1983 with Tata Burroughs Ltd. (now part of Tata Consultancy Services)

Dr. Yogesh Kumar

Dr. Yogesh Kumar- Trustee

Dr. Yogesh Kumar completed his Ph.D. from the Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow as an ICSSR Doctoral Fellow in Development Economics in 1990. He worked in a bilateral development programme on rural water and sanitation in U.P. Dr. Yogesh Kumar the founder Director of “Samarthan- Centre for Development Support”, Bhopal, which primarily works for strengthening civil society efforts to promote participatory development and governance in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Samarthan also functions to provide management support to the NGOs, facilitates participatory and strategic planning in development programme and engages in research and policy analysis, besides working on strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions and urban local bodies at the grassroots.

Mr Ashis Mondal- Managing

Ashis Mondal, Director
Ashis Mondal is the founder Director of Action for Social Advancement (ASA). His major working experience of over twenty five years includes the development of livelihoods for smallholders, particularly tribal and other marginalised groups through natural resources management – particularly watersheds, minor irrigation, sustainable agriculture, financial inclusion and promotion of smallholders’ organisation for agribusiness.
He has consulting experience with several organisations like the World Bank, FAO, the Asian Development Bank, State’s Planning Commission, etc. in the areas of designing monitoring and evaluation systems, community institutional design for large irrigation projects, impact assessment of agriculture projects and social research. He has worked for short term assignments in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Argentina.
He has served as a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) of the Government of India from 2012 - 2014, where he played leading role in the areas of smallholders’ agriculture, farmer producers’ organisations, agro-forestry policy in India, and public agriculture extension systems. He is also a Member, Agriculture Sector Innovation Council, Govt. of India since 2013, National Advisory Committee of Producer Organisation Development Fund of NABARD and is the Honorary Director of NABKISSAN, a Finance Company of NABARD. Ashis is an executive body member of the Round Table for Responsible Soybean Association (, a global body for improvement of soya bean value chain.
Ashis possesses vast writing experience and has co-authored books “Monitoring for Outcomes in Community Driven Projects”, published by The World Bank, Washington DC, 2007; and “A Handbook on using Participatory Monitoring and Learning Tools”, published by the Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2007. There are more than ten technical papers authored by him.