Avanish Kumar

Professor, Public Policy & Governance

Email :
Phone : +91-124-4560380

Prof. Kumar explores questions at the intersection of policies and practice that promote sustainability, inclusion and participation in organisations and society. In his over two decades of experience, he brings experience of working with NGOs, government, corporate houses and academic institutions. Prof. Kumar work revolves around mainstreaming marginalised through citizen centric governance, sustainable models of rural livelihoods/social entrepreneurship and designing corporate social responsible practices to promote sustainable partnership between company-community for long term solutions. The common endeavour in his work is to create operational directions/solutions to real-world problems by bridging theoretical and conceptual understanding in the field. His current research interest is to establish interplay between identity, income and insecurity in the context of empowerment

Before joining Management Development Institute, Gurgaon in 2006, he served as a faculty for a brief period in TERI University. At Development Alternatives (DA) he undertook several assessments, including Asia Pacific Programme Capacity 21 (UNDP), designed Process Monitoring System for World Food Programme, India and authored chapters in the State of Environment-South Asia (UNEP); Prior to DA, he worked at IPE (Enterprise London School of Economics) and Center for Development Economic, Delhi School of Economics. 

He has extensive experience of working with the communities in the poorest areas, especially in Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. As a core team member, Prof. Kumar was resource person to Administrative Reform Commission, GoI on “Good Governance in Public Sector”; He was responsible for planning and designing of Mid Career Training (Phase III) of Indian Administrative Services Officers for DoPT with Duke University; he designed Poorest Areas Civil Society Programme (DFID, Phase II).  Dr. Kumar was member Academic Council Advisor to the Public Policy, Law & Governance Programme, Central University of Rajasthan. Currently he is Advisory Member SEEP, BIMTECH Greater Noida; Expert Member of Curriculum Moderation Board (CMB), International Inst. of Democracy & Election Management , Election Commission of India and Board of Academic Studies at TERI University. Dr. Kumar is jury of 2good4good Corporate Social Responsibility award for Economic Times and KPMG; Resource Person to National Rural Livelihoods Mission, GoI since 2014. He was member board at large of  Society for Human Ecology , Washington (2010-11 and 2011-12). 

He has delivered lectures at various academic institutes/universities, multilateral organisations, corporate houses, government departments. He has presented papers and chaired sessions in several national/international conferences/seminars in  Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, France, India. His publications include journals,  Development in Practice, Quantity and Quality, Enterprise Development and Microfinance, International Journal of Organisational Analysis and several peer reviewed journals. He writes column in Governance Now. 


Ph.D. Dept. of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi.

M. Phil.  Dept. of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi

M.Sc. (Social Anthropology), Dept. of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi.

B.Sc. (H) Anthropology, Hans Raj College, University of Delhi, Delhi.

Teaching/ Research

At MDI, he teaches courses on State and Civil Society; Sustainable Development; Qualitative Methods for Policy Research; Social Conscientization & Corporate Social Responsibility and Business, Society & Government.

His current research is focused on models of empowering communities through sustainable CSR and government partnership. He has recently completed a Ford Foundation supported study on rural livelihoods and empowerment. And is working on a manuscript on rural livelihoods in India.