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XKDR Forum is a platform where a research community comes together, comprising full time staff and external researchers

Our interdisciplinary approach implies that on any question, there are many points of view in the discussion, and insights from diverse disciplines are brought into play. The team has curiosity, creativity and enthusiasm in making a difference.




From the mid 1990s, Ajay Shah and Susan Thomas, have engaged in quantitative and policy-oriented research on India in a variety of organisations in the Indian landscape. They experienced the limitations that flow from narrow research projects and they experienced the gains from inter-disciplinary work. They also discovered value in conversation and collaboration within the intellectual community, going beyond the confines of academics. They felt that they could build a new organisation that would be unique in terms of creativity, insight and impact. This process began in the middle of 2020. Since then, the new organisation has been rapidly building up institutional capacity to spread its wings across new fields and old.

The Team

Aneesha Chitgupi

Research Fellow

Government contracting, Public finance administration, Government budgeting

Sayan Dasgupta

Research Associate

Data analysis, Government contracting, Capital expenditure

Pavithra Manivannan

Senior Research Associate

Government contracting, City metro railways, Court metrics



Pavithra Manivannan is a senior research associate at XKDR Forum. Her research interests lie in the fields of government contracting, urban transport, contract enforcement and judicial processes. 

Before joining XKDR Forum, Pavithra was an associate at J. Sagar Associates, where her practise focused on general commercial laws and foreign exchange regulations. 

Charmi Mehta

Research Associate

Government contracting, National Highways and roads, Climate and energy strategy

Geetika Palta

Research Associate

Households and finance, Financial inclusion measurement, CPHS data guru

Ayush Patnaik

Research Associate

Alternative data analysis and development, Open-source software developer for Julia



Ayush Patnaik studied Physics, Computer Science and Economics at the Australian National University, and he continues to work at the intersection of these subjects. His current research is in analysing satellite imagery such as nighttime lights for making economic inferences. He actively contributes to open-source software projects, mainly related to the Julia Programming Language. He worked at ThePrint and Crypto Assets Platform before joining XKDR.

Mithila A. Sarah

Research Associate

Households and finance, Financial inclusion measurement, Gender and development

Ajay Shah

Senior Research Fellow And Co-founder, Xkdr Forum



Ajay Shah studied at IIT, Bombay and USC, Los Angeles. He has held positions at Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR), Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and National Institute for Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). His research is at the intersection of economics, law and public administration. His second book, co-authored with Vijay Kelkar, "In service of the republic: The art and science of economic policy", featured in Bloomberg's global "2020 Best Books on Business and Leadership". His work can be accessed on his home page (http://www.mayin.org/ajayshah). He is the founder and chief editor of The Leap Blog (https://blog.theleapjournal.org/). 

Teesta Shukla

Research Associate

Women's land rights and ownership

Karthik Suresh

Research Associate

Technology policy, Court metrics, Public procurement

Susan Thomas

Senior Research Fellow And Co-founder, Xkdr Forum.



Susan Thomas has studied at IIT Bombay and the University of Southern California. She has been faculty at the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research. Her research lies in the areas of finance, markets and the economy. She worked in the design of the NSE-50 ("Nifty") index and the risk management systems of the Indian equity derivatives markets. Her policy engagements with the Ministry of Finance included being a member of the Standing Council of the competitiveness of the Indian Financial Sector (2013), and the Bankruptcy Legislative Reforms Committee (2014). She led the research team that designed and drafted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (2016) and worked with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs on the organisational structure of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India and the National Companies Law Tribunal.

Diya Uday

Research Lead

Land markets, Government contracting, Water and sanitation



Diya leads the research work on land markets at XKDR Forum. Her interests are in the areas of regulatory governance, state capacity and access to finance. She has worked on projects with the National Council for Applied Economic Research; the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, the Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance (Government of India) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. She is also visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Science in Mumbai, and has previously been an associate at leading law firms in India including Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

The Admin

Shyna Adhiya

Project Manager

Government contracting, Court metrics

Ami Dagli

It Systems

IT infrastructure support, data management and support

Jyoti Manke

Program Manager

Financial inclusion measurement, Open source systems development

Santosh Waghmare

Office Assistant

Office administration