The CSDD is headed by Dr Syed Sultan Kazi as the Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Dr Monica Banerjee as Director.

Dr Syed Kazi, MPhil, PhD
Dr Kazi has experience working in the development sector since 2002. He was associated with the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development, One World South Asia and Digital Empowerment Foundation. He has worked in key programmes of ITU, NISG, UNDP, BMGF, EU, NASSCOM Foundation, Govt. of Telangana and others. He has also founded the North East Development Foundation (, a not-for-profit society, working for sustainable development in North East India. He has founded ‘eNorth East Award’ (, a regional platform for digital innovations and practices in North East India. He has a masters, an MPhil and PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

Dr Monica Banerjee, PhD
Dr. Monica Banerjee has more than two decades of experience in social justice philanthropy and development work with top-tier development organizations.  She has helped seed, nurture and raise many voluntary organizations working with the last mile communities in most difficult terrains of the country including India’s Northeast. She loves to lend her experience of India’s Northeast, whatever it’s worth, to the world.
Monica has a Ph.D on Gender and Governance from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. She was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Civil Society in London School of Economics (LSE). Her post-graduation is in Agricultural Sciences. Monica’s research interests lie in understanding the virtues and challenges of civil society and institution building. She has research papers on civil society, inclusion, gender and governance to her credit.

Empanelled Research Consultants

Kasmita Basing

Kasmita is Masters in Urban Planning (specialization in Environmental Planning) from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She has over 5 years of work experience in undertaking Developmental Projects of various scales and sectors; from international donor funded disaster management and climate change projects to national level Smart City Planning, slum development, poverty alleviation and urban issues involving community development and community mobilization, environmental issues- WASH and community waste management, community based processes and approaches, health and hygiene, policy review of global frameworks such as SDGs, developmental fundraising exercises. She has been actively working on various integrated urban resilience, disaster risk management, climate change, urban poverty alleviation and environmental projects, development of concept notes and proposals, documentations and content writing, technical programme management, donor management, business development leads management.  

Dr. Manjushree Banerjee 

Dr. Manjushree Banerjee is associated with the Centre for Impact, Evaluation and Energy Access of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi for the past eleven years. Presently, she is on sabbatical and engaged as an independent consultant on energy access. In total, she possess about sixteen years of work experience on Energy Access and Renewable Energy. Dr. Manjushree has led many National & International projects. She has travelled extensively in the remote and rural locations of India for work. Her PhD research from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT, New Delhi) probed into the role of state policies and private sector participation in grid interactive renewable power. Dr. Manjushree has published more than 25 papers/articles/book chapters (few of them in journals like Energy Policy and Current Sustainable Renewable Energy Reports). She regularly writes opinion pieces on energy access. You may visit few of her articles at

Dr Ashok Kumar Ray

Dr Ray has served in Presidency College, Government of Manipur. He has worked in the development sector with AVARD- New Delhi; German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) New Delhi and National Foundation for India New Delhi in different responsible positions. He is a former Visiting Fellow of OKD Institute of Social Change and Development, Guwahati and did research on the land issues in the hills of Northeast India. He has done extensive research works on inter-disciplinary themes of the hill tribes of Northeast India for  more than four decades. The major research issues that were covered included –  Governance (both traditional and modern); Border Governance; Regional insurgency and terrorism; Land and Forest issues; The Look East Policy and Act East Policy etc.

Jolly Kazi

Jolly is Masters in Sociology from Tezpur Central University and attained her MPhil in Sociology of Higher Education from ZHCES, JNU, New Delhi.  She has worked with CCCP, Jamia Millia Islamia University and KK Handique State Open University, Assam. Her specialisation is governance of higher education. She has published various research papers and presented in national and regional conferences. She is a resident of Guwahati, Assam.

Aviskha Baruah

Aviskha has done her Masters from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus. Currently, she is doing her PhD from Department of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University, Assam. Her specialisation is on gender divide and empowerment, transgender community and challenges.