In addition to the repositories of knowledge, know-how and networks that each of these members brings to the board, it is their shared vision for and investment in the Foundation, one of good governance and sound strategy, that propels us forward, individually and collectively.

  • usha-thorat

    Usha Thorat


    Ms. Usha Thorat has over 38 years’ experience in central banking and financial regulation, having retired in 2010 as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). During this period, she led RBI's initiatives in financial inclusion, and held significant roles, including representing India in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) committee on global banking regulation. As Deputy Governor she served as a member of Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

    Ms. Thorat became the first Director of the Centre for Advanced Financial Research (CAFRAL), an organisation she helped set up in 2011 under the aegis of the RBI, as a Centre of Excellence for Research and Learning. She continued as Director till April 2014, after which she remained associated as a member of the Governing Council till June 2017.

    With an active interest in and commitment to social and environmental issues, Ms. Thorat is a trustee of the Indian Cancer Society and Chair of Lotus Medical Foundation that works in the area of HIV/AIDs.

    An MA in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, Ms. Thorat has written extensively and delivered several lectures, which have been published both nationally and internationally on banking and financial regulation.

  • amrita-patel

    Amrita Patel


    Dr. Amrita Patel is the former Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). She also served on the board of WWF India, Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, and continues to be on the boards of Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development, New Delhi, and the Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute, Vallabh Vidya Nagar. She was conferred the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for her contribution to the dairy and animal husbandry industries, and the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for her significant contribution to the Environment. She featured in the list of Top Business Women of the Year (Business Today) consecutively for five years, and topped the list in 2008.

  • Samar Singh

    Samar Singh


    Samar Singh was in the Indian Administrative Service from 1962 to 2000, when he retired at the level of Secretary to the Government of India. After intensive field experience as Collector & District Magistrate of four districts in Madhya Pradesh, including Bastar (undivided), Ujjain and Jabalpur, he held charge of Education, Forest and Tourism Departments at the State level. Then, on deputation with the Government of India, he worked in senior positions in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment & Forests and also served as Member Secretary of bodies such as the Indian Board for Wildlife headed by the Prime Minister, the Court & Executive Council of Forest Research Institute & Colleges, the National Land Board and the National Commission for Conservation & Development of Land Resources. From 1993 to 2000, he was on deputation with the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) as its Secretary General. He is a Founder Trustee of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and the Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust (DMNCT). He is a recipient of the ‘Order of the Golden Ark’ - an international award for exceptional work done in the field of nature conservation - and is the author of books titled Conserving India’s Natural Heritage, World Charter for Nature, Religion and Conservation, Ecological Security as the foundation of Sustainable Development, Garden Birds of Delhi, Agra & Jaipur and Maintenance of Public Order – A Source Book.

  • Nitin Desai

    Nitin Desai


    Mr. Nitin Desai had a long career in the Government of India, where he worked in the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry, and later in the United Nations, where he served as the Under Secretary General from 1993 to 2003. He was the Senior Economic Advisor for the World Commission on Environment and Development, the Deputy Secretary-General of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the Secretary -General of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. His main contribution was in integrating sustainable development and social development into the global policy dialogue.

  • Deepak Tikku

    Deepak Tikku


    Mr. Deepak Tikku comes with extensive leadership experience in the Dairy sector. He worked with Mother Dairy for over two decades and in 1996, he was appointed as Executive Director of NDDB. In 2000, he was appointed as NDDB's Managing Director - a post which he held till 2010. While working with NDDB, he was instrumental in the organisation's abiding support to cooperatives, thus providing stimulus to the growth of milk production in the country. He retired as the Chairman of NDDB Dairy Services Ltd. in 2017. He has been on the boards of the following institutions:​ Indian Immunologicals Limited, Bharat Aseptic Packaging​ Industries Limited, National Co-operative Dairy Federation Ltd., Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation.

  • Sudarshan Iyengar

    Sudarshan Iyengar


    Sudarshan Iyengar, Ph.D. Economics, is a former Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad founded by Mahatma Gandhi. He has worked with various ICSSR recognised socioeconomic research institutions in Gujarat. He was also Chair Professor, Gandhian Philosophy, at IIT, Mumbai (2016-18). He worked for rehabilitation of tribal families displaced by Naramada Dam project, Gujarat (1989- 94) and relief work during Kachchh earthquake (2001). He is presently living and working at Action Research in Community Health and Development (ARCH) at Dharampur, Valsad, Gujarat.

  • Mahendra Vyas

    Mahendra Vyas


    Mr. Mahendra Vyas is a senior advocate, Supreme Court of India, and is actively involved in the field of nature conservation. He is a member of the Central Empowered Committee, a statutory Committee under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, constituted by the Supreme Court; and member of the various Committees constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. He has been a Member of the Species Survival Commission's Cat Specialist Group (India) of the IUCN, since 1993.

  • Shailesh Nayak

    Shailesh Nayak


    Dr. Shailesh Nayak is the Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, the Chancellor, TERI Institute of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, and Life Trustee, India International Centre, New Delhi. He obtained his PhD degree in Geology from the M.S University of Baroda in 1980. He joined ISRO in 1978 and pioneered applications of remote sensing to coastal and marine environments, and developed products for coastal management and services for fishery and ocean state forecast. Between 2008 and 2015, he was the Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the Chair, Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO). He set up the state-of-the-art tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean and developed marine services during his tenure in the ESSO-Indian National Centre for Ocean Services, Hyderabad.

    He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy of Sciences, New Delhi, the National Academy of Sciences, India, the International Society of Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing and Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing. He was conferred the ISC Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award in 2012. He has published about 200 papers in SCI journals.

  • Gayatri Menon

    Gayatri Menon


    Gayatri Menon has worked in Development for over 25 years, with a special focus on informal settlements and economies and women's empowerment. She has extensive experience in the NGO sector, where her first forays were in biodiversity conservation and the then newly emerging concerns around intellectual property rights and agricultural trade raised by farmers' movements. She subsequently worked with Swayam Shikshan Prayog in its efforts to rehabilitate women's livelihoods and strengthen their leadership in the earthquake affected communities in Marathwada and other areas of Maharashtra.
    She holds a doctorate from Cornell University and has taught at the graduate and post-graduate levels for several years, at Cornell and later at Franklin and Marshall College, offering courses in political sociology and on theories, politics and practices of development.
    She returned to India in 2013 and continued her engagement with development practitioners, including SPARC and the Huairou Commission, on policy research and participatory action projects related to land rights, livelihoods, community mobilisation and resilience. In 2015, she joined the faculty of Azim Premji University's School of Development, helping develop and execute its core curriculum, and various institution-building initiatives. She has also served on the governing boards of Aangan Trust and IT for Change.

  • NDDB

    National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)

    Institutional Member

    National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) aims to promote, finance and support producer-owned and controlled organisations. NDDB's programmes and activities seek to strengthen farmer cooperatives and support national policies that are favourable to the growth of such institutions. Fundamental to NDDB's efforts are cooperative principles and cooperative strategies.


    National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD)

    Institutional Member

    National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex Development Bank with a mandate for facilitating credit flow for promotion and development of agriculture, small-scale industries, cottage and village industries, handicrafts and other rural crafts. It also extends support to all other allied economic activities in rural areas, promoting integrated and sustainable rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas of India.

  • Sanjay Joshie

    Sanjay Joshie

    Executive Director

    With over 29 years of experience, Sanjay is a results-oriented, mission-driven executive leader with a proven record of working on issues around Community Institutions, Natural Resource Management, Rural Livelihoods and Disaster Management. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director-FES, as Chief Operations Officer (COO), he was responsible for overall operations and setting in place robust systems for the planning, financial management, monitoring and reporting of FES projects.
    His initial years were spent working with communities in rural India across the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Engaging with varied socio-economic groups, especially the poor and marginalized, and living across varied geographies and landscapes, deepened his understanding of the larger issues around natural resource management, and the interrelations between human and natural systems. The learning he gained during these years shaped his career and continue to inform his actions till date.
    He currently leads the efforts to scale FES’ core work and thinking on ground through furthering high quality partnerships, working effectively with governments and programs for execution, building up rural colleges, the capacity building engines of FES, and driving identification and adoption of technologies.
    His interest areas include institution building and governance, gender and inclusion, livelihoods and poverty reduction, networking and policy advocacy around Commons, integrated disaster management and risk reduction. He is deeply invested in nurturing an inclusive and gender-sensitive work culture that embraces diversity, promotes respect and acceptance, and fosters distributed power, leadership and learning at all levels and in all endeavors of FES.

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