Home / About Us / Governing Board

Governing Board

The highest decision-making body in PRIA is its Governing Board. The board has developed by-laws to guide the functioning, roles and responsibilities of the members and the chairperson (Ms. Rita Sarin) and the treasurer (Mr. Ravi Seth).

Ms. Rita Sarin - Chairperson

Ms. Sarin is the Country Director of Hunger Project-India. She holds an MA from the University of Nottingham, UK. A pioneer in women's studies in India, Ms. Sarin served as a Programme Officer for the Swedish International Development Agency for 15 years before becoming Country Director of The Hunger Project in 2001. She now leads a nationwide alliance of 60 organisations implementing Hunger Project strategies to empower women in local democracy.

Ms. Lalita Ramdas - Member

Ms. Lalita Ramdas has been active on issues related to literacy, non-formal education and women's empowerment, nationally and internationally. Her early career in the fields of teaching and broadcasting have been followed by a career in development work through education with marginalised and minority communities, with special focus on gender and women. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from Delhi University. She is one of the founding members of the Board of Green Peace India, of which she became a part through her commitment to non-violence.


Mr. Satinder Singh Sahni - Member

Mr. Sahni, retired IAS officer, did his graduation in History from St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, from 1968-71. Later he did M. Sc.(Econ.) Social Development Planning and Management, from the University of Wales, Swansea, 1992-93. He was the Principal Resident Commissioner, Government of Jammu & Kashmir. At the policy formulation level, the sectors he handled included public works, rural water supply, irrigation, and cooperatives. At the planning and management level, he worked in various sectors including horticulture, handlooms, handicrafts and sericulture. He is currently based in Gurgaon. 

Mr. Ravi Seth - Treasurer

Mr. Seth, a science graduate with a specialization in Mathematics and Statistics, qualified as a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India. In the last two decades, he has worked in a number of industries including tobacco, hotels, financial services, real estate, media and pharmaceuticals. He has worked with companies like ITC Ltd., Hindustan Times and Abbott India in senior positions. At present, he is working with ReNew Power, Gurgaon as Chief Financial Officer.

Ms. Sheela Patel - Member

Ms. Sheela Patel is Founder Director of SPARC (Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres), a non-profit society working on issues of equity and social justice in India. SHe was Chairperson of PRIA's Governing Board from 2004 to mid 2017. After completing her Master's in Social Sciences from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, in 1974, she began her career as a child counsellor at the Nagpada Neighbourhood House, a community centre in the inner city of Mumbai. She has been on the board of organizations like Mobile Creches for Children of Construction Workers, Swayam Shikshan Prayog (which supports women's empowerment in rural areas in India), and Partners Urban Knowledge Action Research (PUKAR). She is also a member of CTAG. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2011.

Dr. Rajesh Tandon - President

Dr. Tandon is the co-founder and President of PRIA, since 1982. He has nearly four decades of work in articulating, elaborating and facilitating philosophical and methodological issues of participatory research and popular participation in India, South Asia and across the world. He has written extensively on participatory research and participatory development. He has also championed the cause of strengthening civil society organizations and capacities of the marginalized through the twin process of learning and organizing.

Mr Ashok Kumar Singh - Member

Ashok Kumar Singh is the founder Director of Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra. SSK is a pioneer organization promoting participatory development & capacity building of CSOs particularly in U.P., Bihar and Jharkhand. Ashok Bhai, as he is popularly called, is a well known participatory trainer and has facilitated over a thousand participatory trainings in 30 years. He is a champion for the cause of institution building in civil society, engaged in providing momentum to the civil society movement in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He is a rural management professional from a renowned management institute of India.

Ms Shobha Mishra Ghosh - Member

Ms. Ghosh is Senior Director, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) heading Education (school, vocational education & higher education), Skill Development, Health, Health Insurance, Medical Technology and Life Sciences (Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology). She has experience of working with private sector, governments and multilateral/bilateral development agencies with expertise in policy reforms, areas for public-private partnerships and awareness programmes amongst stakeholders and beneficiaries. She is a trained architect from Sir J J College of Architecture, Mumbai with a postgraduation in Urban Planning from Institute of Housing and Development Studies (IHS), Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Prior to FICCI, she worked with organizations like The Energy & Resource Institute (TERI), Schumacher Centre Delhi (SCD), the Indian partner of IDG (India Development Group) in London, U.K., and ACORD in various leadership positions.


  • PRIA facilitators listen, engage and explain at the level where participants understand and learn through many practical exercises. The best workshop on gender that our employees have attended

    Tsering Youdon
    Program Officer, Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief
    SOIR-IM, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
  • Elected members & officials from Northern Province, Sri Lanka visited PRIA to learn about their exemplary work in developing citizen participation in governance and service delivery. JGU thanks PRIA.

    Prof. R. Sudarshan
    Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy
    O.P. Jindal Global University
  • Undeniably good work done by PRIA. My visits to the communities they work with let me hear grassroots voices and stories...deeply rewarding for my personal growth, work and future research

    Loreen Regnander
    Intern, University of Victoria, Canada
  • PRIA has helped to build a large movement for citizens to use Panchayati Raj Institutions at the local level, to use their leadership, their voice, to bring about democracy from below

    Dr John Gaventa, Director of Research
    Institute of Development Studies
    Sussex, UK
  • Thank you PRIA -- for helping me gain the confidence to speak up. Today, I do not hesitate to speak with the sarpanch.

    Renu Joshi
    ASHA worker
    Hinglaz gali Anganwadi Centre, Siwana Block, Barmer, Rajasthan
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of being able to enroll myself in the course…this program has opened my eyes to possibilities for my life which were previously unconsidered

    Tripti Vinita Pal, Alumnus
    Appreciation course
  • I am a third party facilitator for three large institutions but I did not know half the things we have discussed in the Third Party Facilitator Training I attended organized by PRIA

    Joint Secretary of Lakshmi, an NGO
  • Participatory Approaches for Social Inclusion course was undoubtedly beneficial for my research work, providing a deep understanding of theoretical aspects and the applied side of participation

    Pallavi Mishra
    PhD Research Scholar
    Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • We learnt multi-stakeholder dialogue as a tool for advocacy from PRIA…it is a wonderful tool for organising people

    Ashok Kadam
  • I am an example of the Kishori Panchayat Programme which gave young girls the desire to do something, a reason to embrace life

    Kishori Panchayat Member

Have Query?