India Development Review (IDR) is India’s first independent online knowledge platform for leaders in the development community.

Our mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India. We publish ideas, opinion, analysis and lessons from real-world practice. Our job is to make things simple and relevant, so you can do more of what you do, better. Read more

Although the development community in India has a vast trove of expertise and wisdom on advancing social change, that knowledge often resides in silos, either locked in people’s heads or buried within organisations.

This limited access to learning, insights, evidence and best practices constrains what we can achieve–both individually with our programmes and money, and also collectively as a sector seeking to create impact.

We founded IDR as a nonprofit in 2017, with the objective of surfacing these ideas, experiences and practices, so that together we can do more and do right by the millions of Indians whom we work with and for.

We promise to highlight voices on issues that matter, regardless of whether they belong to little-known grassroots organisations or big-name funders. We will write about what has worked but we will also talk to our failures. We will showcase the big ideas even as we cover the functional knowledge that helps us improve our programmes and organisations.

As a platform for Indian voices, we are committed to reflecting the diversity, complexity, and inventiveness of the sector. We want IDR to be as much yours as it is ours.

Meet the women behind IDR

IDR shares cutting-edge ideas and real-world practice on the development sector in India. Our founding team comes with a combined experience of more than 50 years in nonprofit, private sector, CSR, consulting and journalism.

We’ve worked at organisations such as The Economic Times, Times Now, Swadhaar, the Godrej Group, Dasra and Monitor Inclusive Markets. Our writing has featured in The Economist, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Times of India, The Economic Times, Mint, the Guardian and Next Billion, among other publications.

Smarinita Shetty

Co-founder and CEO

Smarinita is responsible for strategy, editorial direction and organisational growth at IDR.

She has more than 20 years of experience leading functions across strategy, operations, sales and business development, largely in startup environments within corporates and social enterprises. Her core expertise and skills lie in building new markets and ecosystems; she has done this successfully with knowledge process outsourcing, low-income housing and adolescent girl empowerment.

Prior to IDR, Smarinita worked at Dasra, Monitor Inclusive Markets (now FSG), JP Morgan and The Economic Times. She also co-founded Netscribes–India’s first knowledge process outsourcing firm.

Smarinita was the consulting editor for the inaugural issue of Impact India–published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her work and opinion has been featured in The Economist, Times of India, Mint and The Economic Times.

Smarinita has a BE in Computer Engineering and an MBA in Finance, both from Mumbai University.

Rachita Vora

Co-founder and Director, Content and Partnerships

Rachita oversees content strategy, audience growth, institutional partnerships and brand at IDR.

Before IDR, Rachita led the Dasra Girl Alliance, a Rs. 250 crore multi-stakeholder platform that sought to empower adolescent girls in India. She has a decade of experience, and has spent the past eight years working in the areas of financial inclusion, livelihoods and public health. She has led functions across strategy, business development, communications and partnerships, and her writing has been featured in the Guardian, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Next Billion and Alliance Magazine.

Rachita has an MBA from Judge Business School at Cambridge University and a BA in History from Yale University.

Devanshi Vaid

Co-Founder and Director, Outreach and Reader Engagement

Devanshi oversees outreach, dissemination, audience growth, user engagement and media partnerships at IDR.

Prior to IDR, Devanshi worked at Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation. As a part of the advisory research team, she conceptualised, planned and implemented their first comprehensive dissemination strategy. She was responsible for new media partnerships and was closely involved with the organisation’s efforts on digital content.

Prior to Dasra, Devanshi was a news producer at Times Now, where she co-produced The Newshour–the country’s leading prime time show.

Devanshi holds a BA in English Literature from Bryn Mawr College.


  • Abhay Havaldar

    Abhay Havaldar

    Director, National Stock Exchange and Ex-MD, General Atlantic

    Abhay is the ex-MD of General Atlantic, a leading global private equity firm. As managing director, he established General Atlantic’s India office in 2002, the Singapore office in 2011 and retired from GA in 2016 as an advisory director.He has been an investor in Indian businesses since 1996. He co-founded Connect Capital and served as a partner at Draper International. He commenced his career with the Tata group of companies and spent over a decade in various technical and marketing positions worldwide at Tata Unisys.

    Abhay is a Director of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd and IBS Software.

    He has an MA in management from the Sloan Fellow program at London Business School and a BE in electrical engineering from the University of Mumbai.

  • Amee Misra

    Amee Misra

    Investment and Trade Economist, DFID

    Amee Misra is an Investment and Trade Economist with DFID. She has more than 10 years of experience in development research and policy analysis. She has worked on a wide range of international development issues including public financial management, health policy, education, gender issues in international trade and financial inclusion.In the past, Amee has been a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi) and a Senior Economist and ODI Fellow at the Ministry of Education, Government of Zanzibar. She now consults with multiple development organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, UNDP and UN Women.

    Amee holds an MSc in development economics from the School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS), an MA in economics from JNU and a BA (with Honours) in economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.

  • Garima Deveshwar Bahl

    Garima Deveshwar Bahl

    Leadership coach and Founder, Avasaram

    Garima is a leadership coach and the founder of Avasaram. While her clients extend across sectors, she has committed a part of her practice to serving the development sector.Prior to starting Avasaram, Garima spent 16 years in the development sector with the World Bank, UNICEF and the nonprofit SNEHA in Mumbai. She brings extensive knowledge of public health both from India and overseas and of working with large, diverse teams, often in resource-constrained settings.

    Garima has an MA in economics from the University of Cambridge, an MA in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and has been visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has trained at the Asian Leadership Institute and is a certified member of McKinsey & Company’s global network of coaches and facilitators.

    Garima is married with two children and lives in Mumbai. Beyond her coaching work, she practices and teaches the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of yoga and meditation.

  • Sandhya Rao

    Sandhya Rao

    Finance Specialist

    Sandhya is a Chartered Accountant and finance specialist with rich experience in professional services firms, particularly in the areas of finance, accounting and audit.Sandhya has 18 years of experience across corporate and development sectors. Having worked at RSM & Co, EY, Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Dasra, she has developed deep insights on how businesses are run and their impact on finance and accounts.

    Sandhya has in-depth knowledge on auditing standards and experience in audit planning, execution and reporting. Her technical expertise also includes International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP).

    During her stint in the social sector, Sandhya developed and monitored organisational and program budgets, was responsible for board and donor reporting, and managed donor audits. She also helped set up and strengthen processes and systems around governance and embedded controls and consistency across departments.


IDR works with a diverse community of experts, practitioners, funders, researchers and writers. Below is a starting list of individuals who have agreed to contribute regularly to IDR.

Knowledge Partners

  • Alliance
  • The Bridgespan
  • Dalbego
  • FSG
  • Next Billion
  • SSIR

Philanthropic Partners

  • Ashoka
  • Tata Trusts
  • Chandra Foundation
  • Nilekani Philanthropies

We will forever remain indebted to our colleagues and friends who have without exception, given us their time, attention, expertise, guidance and unwavering support in transforming IDR from an idea into India’s first knowledge platform for the sector.

Aditya Krishnamurthy, Amy Lin, Anand Sinha, Anantha Padmanabhan, Aparajita Gogoi, Arjav Chakravarti,  Asha Rai, Ashish Karamchandani, Azad Oomen, Chris Turillo, CV Madhukar, Cyrus Dastur, Dipa Nag Chowdhury, Eric Nee, Gaurav Gupta, Gaurav Singh, Gautam John, Hari Menon, Inchara Shanthappa, Ingrid Srinath, Jaideep Bose, Jayati Vora, Jennifer Davis, Jerry Rao, Jithamithra Thathachari, Karan Malik, Katie Smith-Milway, Koreel Lahiri, Krittika Sharma, Krishna Dahya, Lakshmi Chaudhary, Laurette Cucuzza, Madhavi Soman, Manasi Soni, Moomal Mehta, Naresh Fernandes, Nawshir Khurody, Nidhi Hegde, Nisha Dhawan, Noshir Dadrawala, Paresh Parasnis, Pooja Sehgal, Pooja Taparia, PR Ganapathy, Pramath Sinha, Pronoti Dutta, Radhika Nayar, Radhika Prabhu, Raj Gilda, Rajesh Tahil, Ratan Batliboi, Reshma Anand, Riddhima Krishnamurthy, Rohit Menezes, Sarah Afraz, Shankar Venkateswaran, Shloka Nath, Sneha Philip, Sundeep Kapila, Swapneel Rane, Varad Pande, Vidya Shah, Vinay Hebbar.

We would also like to thank Ashish Dhawan for seed-funding IDR. His knowledge and encouragement have been instrumental in getting us to where we are today.

Ethics Statement

Our Work

IDR’s mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India.

Our editorial focus is on cross-sector solutions to development problems, cutting-edge ideas and real-world practice.
We know that knowledge is only a part of the solution for any complex problem; but we also know that it is a crucial part. Therefore, we aim to publish substantive, well-written and thought-provoking articles in jargon-free language.

Our editorial direction is independent of any funder, non-profit or partner relationship. We choose what to write about based on our collective judgement and experience of what will be most interesting and useful for our audiences. Independence, excellence and relevance are our highest priorities.


IDR works with a diverse community of contributors such as experts, practitioners, funders, researchers, writers, designers and freelancers. A large number of people working or investing in development in India consume, create or contribute to IDR. While we may speak in different voices, we share some core values.

We believe that the development community in India has a vast trove of expertise and wisdom on advancing social change. However, not all of it is accessible, locked as it is in people’s heads or within organisations. It is important to enable access to these valuable lessons, insights and decisions in order to move the field forward.

Operating Principles

IDR’s guiding principles are based on our responsibility to the reader to produce fair, independent and quality content.


We curate and create content for our readers. While we do our best to ensure the accuracy of the external pieces we publish, we trust that our contributors have verified all facts, charts, graphs and data included in their articles. When errors are brought to our attention, we correct them right away.

Editorial Opinions

Our editorial content is often written by contributors external to IDR. Any opinion thus expressed should not be construed as an opinion endorsed by the whole organisation.


India Development Review is a Section 8, nonprofit company. Our board provides financial oversight and corporate governance, and also offers strategic advice to the CEO and senior staff. A complete list of board members can be found on the website.

Relationships with Funders

Since IDR will always feature a variety of voices in the development sector, it is possible that there will be times when a current funder will write for or be featured by IDR. In such instances, we will provide a full disclaimer of the relationship along with the article. As a nonprofit reliant on grant funding, we also maintain full transparency regarding all our funders.

Personal Conflict

In the event that an employee of IDR is a board member or has a spouse, partner, or other close relationship with an employee of an organisation that gets featured on IDR, we will disclose the relationship in the article.

Professional Appearances

Members from our team are often asked to appear in a professional capacity as experts at various conferences, roundtables and on media platforms. These appearances do not constitute endorsement of any organisation or individual that gets discussed.

Relationship with CSIP

IDR and Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) have a close partnership that leverages each organisation’s strengths across research, networks, content and dissemination. While we exchange learnings and insights and share strategic choices, IDR and CSIP exercise full independence with respect to their editorial and research policies, mandates and practice.

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