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Prof Madhushree Sekher

Professor , Mumbai campus

Dean - School of Vocational Education
Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies
Chairperson - Office for International Affairs

M.A. (Bhubaneswar),
Ph.D. (Bangalore),
Post Doctoral Research (World Bank-Robert McNamara Fellow)

Dr. Madhushree Sekher is Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Currently, she is the Dean of International Relations Office, and Dean, School of Vocational Education, TISS.

Institutions, political economy of representation, governance, inclusive development and policy implementation are her core research interests. Her current research is on institutions for food security, inequalities and social welfare systems, and democratic representation in India. She has been a recipient of the Australian Research Council (Discovery) Grant, DFAT-Australia Awards Fellowship, and grants from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Indian Council for Social Science Research (Major Project Grant), UGC-UKIERI Thematic Partnership Award, grant from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI), and Sir Ratan Tata Trust grant. She is currently associated with an international research consortium to study ethnic power relations funded by Swiss Development Council and Swiss National Science Foundation. She was a Visiting Faculty at IFPRI-Washington, the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart (Germany), the University of Sydney (Australia), and a Visiting Professor at the Tata-Cornell Institute, Cornell University, New York. Author of many research articles and books, including ‘Feeding India: Livelihoods, Entitlements and Capabilities’ (Earthscan, 2013), and ‘Governance and Governed’ (Springer, 2017), and ‘Including the Excluded in South Asia (Springer, 2019), she has a PhD in Political Science, and was recipient of World Bank Robert S. McNamara Fellowship for post-doctoral research.

ORCHID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6154-8171
AU ID (SCOPUS) – 15819824400

Awards/Fellowships -

  • 2016-2017 (October-January): Visiting Professor, TCI, Cornell University, Ithaca NY
  • 2015 (September-October): DFAT Australian Awards Fellowship, Monash University 
  • 2014 (November-December): Visiting Scholar, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney
  • 2011 (October-November): Visiting Fellowship at the the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.
  • 2006-2007: IFAR Fellowship (for linkages with CGIAR centres), with the International Food Policy Research Institute as sponsoring centre. 
  • 2004 (April-May): Indo-Dutch Exchange Program Fellowship to Amsterdam Research Institute for Global Issues and Development Studies (AGIDS), University of Amsterdam.
  • 2001-2002: World Bank Robert S. McNamara Fellowship for Young Scholars – for Post-Doctoral research
  • 2000(October-December): Shastri Indo-Canadian Visiting Fellowship to University of Alberta, Canada 


Areas of Interest

Institutions and governance; inequality and politics of development; state-society interrelationships and user/citizen involvement through participatory approaches:

Within this broad area of interest, have worked on welfare systems and public policy, ethnic power relations and conflict, local governance, rural service provision, food security, gender and governance, natural resource management, and the political economy of public administration.

On-going research : Current research is on Indian Welfare System, social policies, institutions for food security, urban governance, inequalities and grievances, and their link to conflict

(1) “Ethnic Power Relations and Conflict in Fragile States” – in collaboration with ETH Zurich. Funding support is under - Research for Development (R4D) program, funded jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

This study seeks to investigate the relationship between economic and political inequalities across ethnic groups, and political stability and peace, by particularly studying the mobilization processes of ethnic groups as well as states’ accommodation strategies. In doing so, the study aims at increasing knowledge transfer to policy-makers, and other key stakeholders through evidence-based policy recommendations (www.r4d.epr.ethz.ch)

(2) "Poverty, Inequalities and Social Policies: Tracinng Patterns in India Welfare System" - with funding from Indian Council of Social Science Research (Major Research Project of the ICSSR ), New Delhi. 

The research seeks to explain the different welfare systems and varied experience of social policies observed in the country, and provide scholarship to policy development aimed at addressing poverty and inequality in India.

(3) "Climate Adaptive Water Management Plans for Cities in South Asia (CAMPS), in collaboration with South Asia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, with funding support from IDRC, Canada. 

This study focusses on city-scale water management, specifically looking at gender roles in water governance, to arrive at lessons for resilience building for water security in the urbanising regions of South Asia, with case studies from Nepal and India. 

(4) "Establishing a UK-India Research Methods Node: Fostering and Consolidating Research Training and Collaboration in the Social Sciences and Humanities" - UGC-UKIERI Thematic Partnership Award.

Carried out in collaboration with SOAS London, this partnership aims to establish a ‘node’ of research excellence with a strong methods element, exploring advances in social science and humanities research in India



Significant Publications 

Journal articles

Sekher, M, S. Parasuraman, B. Pritchard, S. Kumar, and R. Rai (2017). “Empowering People to Power the Public Distribution System: A Process Mapping Analysis of Six Indian States”, Economic and Political Weekly (Forthcoming).

Pritchard, B, Rammohan, A and Sekher, M (2016), "Land ownership, agriculture and household nutrition: a case study of north Indian villages", 6 December, Geographical Research, doi: 10.1111/1745-5871.12199 (pp1-12). URL-http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-5871.12199/epdf

Goyal, Jaya and Madhushree Sekher (2015) "Accountability, Nutrition and Local Institutions in India", Development, Vol 58, Issue 1, pages: 79-87

Rai, R.K, S. Kumar, M. Sekher, B. Pritchard and A. Rammohan (2014). "A Life Cycle Approach to Food and Nutrition Security in India", Public Health Nutrition, 18 (5): 944-949.

Pritchard, B., Rammohan, A., & Sekher, M. . (2013). “Food security as a lagging component of India’s human development: A function of interacting entitlement failures”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp 213–228.

Sekher, M. , Manoj K. and L. Singh (2010). "Governance and Service Delivery in Urban Local Communities: The Case of Urban Governance in Orissa", Vikalpa: The Journal of Decision Makers, Vol. 35 (1), pp.93-96.


Pritchard, B, A. Rammohan, M. Sekher, S. Parasuraman and C. Choithani (2013). Feeding India: Livelihoods, Entitlements and Capabilities. Earthscan Publishers, UK.

Co-author (2010). Gender and Governance in Rural Services: Insights from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia (Agriculture and Rural Development Series). World Bank and International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC. (Book was written by an author team from IFPRI and country collaborators)

Raju, KV, A. Aziz, S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram, M. Sekher, S.P. Wani and T.K. Sreedevi (2009). Guideline for Planning and Implementation of Watershed Development Program in India. Global Theme on Agro- ecosystems . International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, New Delhi

Aziz, Abdul, N. Sivanna, M.Sekher, M.Davendra Babu, and C.C.Nelson (2002). Decentralized Governance and Planning in Three Southern States: A Comparative Study. Macmillian Publishers, New Delhi.

Chapters in Books

Sekher, M (2014). ‘Inclusive service delivery: Insights from urban governance in two Indian cities’. In Krishna Shrestha, Hemant R. Ojha, Phil McManus, Anna Rubbo & Krishna K. Dhote (Eds.), Inclusive Urbanization: Rethinking Policy and Practice in the Age of Climate Change (pp. 256 pages). London: Routledge

Raabe, K, R. Birner, M. Sekher, K.G. Gayathri Devi, A. Shilpi and E. Schiffer (2012). ‘Overcoming the Governance Challenges of Implementing MGNREGA? Insight from Bihar Using Process-Influence-Mapping’, in Ashok Pankaj, edited, Right to Work and Rural India: Working of the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. SAGE India, New Delhi.

Sekher, M and G. Sahu (2011). Community-Based Environmental Governance and Local Justice’, in H.Anheier, M.Glasius, Mary Kaldor, Gil-Sung Park, and C.Sengupta. edited : Global Civil Society 2011: Globality and Absence of Justice. Palgrave Macmillan, UK. pp: 108-119

Sekher, M (2003). ‘Creating Alternative Institutional Arrangements: Role of User-group Self-initiatives’, in Alka Dameja, edited : Contemporary Debates in Public Administration, Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited, New Delhi. pp: 352-369.

Sekher, M (2001). ‘Organizations for Participatory Common Property Resource Management’, in Bhaskar Vira and Roger Jeffrey, edited: Analytical Issues in Participatory Natural Resource Management, Palgrave Publishers, Hampshire. pp: 73 – 89.

Working Papers

Sekher, Madhushree and Suchandrima Chakraborty (2016). Politics of Public Policies in India: Explaining the Institutional Internalization of Inequality in Policy Legislation. Working Paper No.17, Kassel University Press, Kassel, Germany.

Birner, R, M. Sekher, and K. Rabee (2012). Reforming the Public Administration for Food Security and Agricultural Development: Insights from an Empirical Study in Karnataka. IFPRI Discussion Paper 01175, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC. (Web Link- http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01175.pdf )

Rabee, K, R. Birner, and M. Sekher, K.G. Gayathridevi, A. Shilpi, E. Schiffer (2010). How to Overcome the Governance Challenges of Implementing NREGA: Insights from Bihar Using Process-Influence Mapping. IFPRI Discussion Paper 963, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC. (Web Link- http://www.ifpri.org/publications/results/taxonomy%3A468 )

Rabee, K, R. Birner, M. Sekher (2009). The Effects of Political Reservations for Women on Local Governance and Rural Service Provision - Survey Evidence for Karnataka. IFPRI Discussion Paper 878, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC. (Web Link- http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/dp/ifpridp00878.asp.)

Bracer, C, S. Scherr, A. Molnar, M. Sekher, B. Owuor Ochieng and G. Sriskanthan (2007) . Organization and Governance for Fostering Pro-Poor Compensation for Ecosystem Services. Working Paper 39. Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre. 2007. (Co-author: with Bracer, C., Sara Scherr, Augusta Molnar,) www.worldagroforestry.org

van Beukering, P, M.Sekher, R. Gerlagh and V. Kumar (1999). Analyzing Urban Solid Waste in Developing Countries: A Perspective on Bangalore, India. CREED Working Paper Series, No. 24, International Institute for Environment and Development, London, 1999. http://www.iied.org/creed

Following are some major completed studies:

2011-2015-“Institutions for Food Security:Global Lessons from Rural India” – in collaboration with University of Sydney, and University of Western Australia, with funding support from Australian Research Council-Discovery Grant. 

2008-2011: “Gender and Governance in Rural Services”, carried out in collaboration with and funding from IFPRI, Washington DC.

2008-2009: ‘Institutional Reforms and Public Service Delivery in Indian Cities’, carried out as part of a Ford Foundation sponsored project through Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmadabad.

2006-2007: ‘Global Scoping Study on Compensation for Ecosystems Services’, carried out with financial support from IDRC, Canada, and coordinated by ICRAF, Nairobi.

2006-2007 - ‘Making local governance and decentralization work for rural poor’, carried in collaboration with and funding support from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington D.C.

State, democracy and civil society ;

Nation-state and Inclusive Development ;

Public policy, Institutions and Governance;

Perspectives on Inclusive development;

Participatory Research Methods

Email: madhusekher[at]tiss[dot]edu

Madhushree Sekher