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Team

Varun Aggarwal

Varun Aggarwal

Founder & Lead

Varun Aggarwal’s research has focused on migration and development. His initial experience with migration research was at the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels, where he focused on integration policies for asylum seekers and migrants in the EU. Next, he worked with Dvara Research (previously IFMR Finance Foundation) in Chennai on issues around digital financial inclusion. He has also contributed to a World Bank (KNOMAD) project on integration policies for asylum seekers in India. His initial professional experience came working for a range of early stage start ups in the US. Varun obtained a BA in Mathematics from the University of Washington in Seattle and a MSc in Economics from Maastricht University.

Email: varun@indiamigrationnow.org
Nikhil Panicker

Nikhil Panicker

Team

Nikhil Panicker has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from BITS Pilani and did his graduate studies in Financial Economics from the Madras School of Economics. After a brief stint as a derivatives trader with Futures First and as a Big Data analyst with Citicorp in the digital and portfolio space, he left the corporate sector to focus on research. He is currently based at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum. He works on various projects in the field of migration and development, including the latest Kerala Migration Survey. His interests include migration, development and inequality.

Email: nikhil@indiamigrationnow.org
Suhas Thobbi

Suhas Thobbi

Team

Suhas is as an editor at the Rock Street Journal. He took over communication and PR responsibilities soon after 2015 with musicians and an independent record label. He is currently based in Mumbai and will contribute to the India Migration Now’s cause through reaching out to the appropriate audience as well as informing wider base about the project’s initial and eventual goals. He has a graduate degree in Information Technology from Mumbai’s K.C. College.

Email: communications@indiamigrationnow.org
Priyansha Singh

Priyansha Singh

Team
Priyansha works on the migration policy projects at IMN and has been a part of IMN since its inception in February 2018. Priyansha comes with a strong interest in Migration and has worked on interstate migration for both her undergraduate and post graduate dissertations. Her MA dissertation was on the Financial Inclusion of Interstate Migrant labourers in Mumbai where the field study was based in the Sakinaka area of Mumbai. She did the field study with the help of Aajeevika Bureau’s Mumbai chapter. Her undergraduate dissertation was a field study of migrant labourers in the construction sector in Andhra Pradesh. She also worked as a Research Associate at Ar Bhar Consulting in Mumbai. She plans on taking her interest and passion for migration ahead for her further studies.
Rohini Mitra

Rohini Mitra

Team
Rohini is a final year Masters student of Development Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and holds a First Class B.A. Degree in English Literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Her research interests include migration, urban and social transformation, refugee studies, and public policy and she aspires to pursue doctoral studies in these areas. She has interned with the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata as a part of an ICSSR funded research project analysing the impact and implementation of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 in West Bengal. She has also worked with the District Mineral Foundation, State of Gujarat, in collaboration with TISS, Mumbai, on a baseline needs project under the PMKKKY initiative of the Govt of India.”
Rohan Bhatia

Rohan Bhatia

Team
Rohan is currently in his final year of the B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) programme at National Law University, Delhi. He has interned at the NGO Human Rights Law Network where he was involved in a RTI campaign focussing on prisoner rights. He has also researched extensively on state and central legislations related to land ceiling, rent control and slum rehabilitation. He is interested in issues surrounding rural-urban migration, urban planning and citizenship.  
Saniya Singh

Saniya Singh

Team
Saniya began to work on issues of migration in a professional capacity as a Junior Researcher at the European Institute for Asian Studies. She has also worked at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, where she dealt with related issues of migrant smuggling and human trafficking. With her acquired skills in project development, research and communications, Saniya is contributing to the endeavours of India Migration Now to understand the nature and impact of migration in the country and bring it forward as a crucial variable in policy making in India. A Commonwealth Scholar from India, Saniya holds an MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and aspires to pursue a career in humanitarian assistance, serving towards the protection of the most vulnerable populations around the world, especially migrants and displaced persons. Having studied B.A. Political Science at the Delhi University, she has a solid knowledge base in India’s socio-political affairs. At the LSE, she developed a strong academic background in issues of human security, development and public policy. Most notably, one of research papers that analysed the securitisation of Bangladeshi migrants in India in the context of the 2015 India- Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement received high academic acclaim and was recently published in an Indian journal.
Saurabh Suman

Saurabh Suman

Former Team
Saurabh Suman has worked as an trainee and intern with the NGO Commitments, Telangana, NHPC, Kullu, Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST), Delhi, and the International Centre for Environmental Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED), Jaipur. His research Interests are related to forest rights, coastal regulations, and migration. Saurabh is currently pursuing M.A. Regulatory Governance from TISS, Mumbai and, has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from TISS, Hyderabad.

Executive Advisors

Dr. A Didar Singh

Dr. A Didar Singh

Executive Advisor

Dr. A. Didar Singh, author and former civil servant (IAS) served as Secretary to Government of India in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (Diaspora and Migration Ministry) from 2009 to 2011 and as Secretary General (from 2012 to 2017) of India’s largest apex business chamber, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

Dr. Singh is presently Senior Fellow at the Delhi Policy Group, New Delhi. Dr Singh also functions as Chair of the Diaspora group of KNOMAD (Knowledge Network on Migration), of the World Bank and in 2017 was named as Global Fellow at IC2 Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He is presently a Commissioner of the ILOs ‘Global Commission on the Future of Work’ (2017-19).

Dr. Singh has functioned as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Migration (2011-15) of the celebrated World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2011 he was conferred an Award for his service to the Indian Diaspora by GOPIO International (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin).

Dr. Singh is an internationally known strategy expert in e-Commerce, Trade and Migration and has done several studies for international agencies, including the World Bank; International Trade Centre; World Health Organization; and South Centre, Geneva as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat, London. Dr. Singh has four books and several publications to his credit and has given talks and lectures in over 30 Institutions and Countries around the world.

Dr. Meera  Sethi

Dr. Meera Sethi

Executive Advisor

Dr. Sethi is a senior Migration Policy Advisor with 35 years of international, regional and national level experience in Africa, South Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Ms. Sethi has a track record in managing humanitarian, development and migration management programmes in various regions. Ms. Sethi, retired in January 2017, as Director General’s Special Envoy to India, after 22 years of service from the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM).

As Chief of Mission, Turkey, Ms. Sethi led IOMs complex emergency response during the Syrian crises and also initiated several migration management programmes aimed at aligning Turkey with the European Union accession process (2010-2015). On her return from Turkey to Geneva, she served as the Head of the International Partnership Department tasked with providing technical, secretariat and policy support worldwide to inter-state regional consultative processes (RCPs) and inter-regional forums (IRF) on migration.

As Senior Regional Advisor (SRA) for Sub Saharan Africa covering 47 countries (Jan. 2004 to Sept. 2009) and as SRA/South Asia covering 8 countries (Oct. 2009 to Sept. 2010), her primary responsibilities comprised of supporting the Director General, Deputy Director General and IOM regional and country missions to promote IOMs global strategy and core mandate in the region. It also included liaison with IOM member States on regional issues (administrative, operational & programmatic) concerning the IOM Council and the Executive Committee. Enhancing IOM cooperation with the Regional economic communities/institutions in SSA and South Asia as well with the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP), the European Union, Least Developed Countries (LDC), Commonwealth Secretariat, OECD and civil society were amongst her duties.

Whilst in Africa (1995-2003), she opened the IOM Country office in Ethiopia and negotiated various agreements, most importantly the host country agreement on granting immunities and privileges to IOM and thereafter the cooperation agreement with the Organization of African Unity (OAU)/African Union granting observer status to IOM. She contrib¬¬uted to high-level policy dialogues, technical reports/papers and resolutions adopted by Heads of State on migration in Africa. From August 1990 until March 1995 when she joined IOM, she worked with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA) and ILO (one year) in the areas of human resource development, return of skills programmes for Africa and capacity building.

She has over 8 years of international teaching/training experience in the United States (1987-89), Ethiopia (1983-86 & 1990–91) and Zambia (1976) at the higher education level. Currently, she is an International Consultant with the International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD) working on the EU-India Cooperation and Dialogue on Migration and Mobility (CDMM) project.

Dr. Sethi has a PhD in Public Administration and Comparative Government from Northern Illinois University, USA. Her graduate studies were in Political Development at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India following her degree in Political Science Honors with Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, India.

Dr. Priya Deshingkar

Dr. Priya Deshingkar

Executive Advisor
Dr Priya Deshingkar is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Global Studies and Principal Investigator of three research programmes
  • The DFID funded Migrating out of Poverty Research Consortium,
  • The Capitalising Human Mobility for Poverty Alleviation and Inclusive Development project in Myanmar (CHIME)
  • Research in Myanmar under The British Academy Tackling Slavery programme
Her research focuses on migration and poverty with a focus on precarity and agency, migration brokerage and the migration industry, trafficking, modern slavery, migration and development. As Research Director of MOOP, Priya has played a key role in designing and overseeing mixed methods research in five global regions: South and Southeast Asia as well as East, West and Southern Africa where she has worked closely with the Asia Research Institute in Singapore, The Centre for Migration Studies in Ghana and The African Centre for Migration and Society in South Africa. She has also developed a strand of work within the consortium on the migration industry which has resulted in path-breaking research on brokerage in the migration of domestic workers in Ghana and brokerage in the migration of low skilled construction workers from Bangladesh to Qatar. As the PI of the CHIME project, Priya has designed and led mixed methods research in four regions of Myanmar which will yield unique evidence on migration drivers and process in the country. Priya holds a PhD from the Institute of Development Studies and is an internationally recognised authority on internal migration. She has played a key role in influencing the global policy discourse on internal migration and development. Her most recent book is Circular Migration and Multilocational Livelihood Strategies in India (co-edited with John Farrington, 2009). Until 2009, Dr Deshingkar was Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute.
Dr. S. Irudaya Rajan

Dr. S. Irudaya Rajan

Executive Advisor
Dr. S. Irudaya Rajan is a leading regional and global migration scholar, with over two decades of research experience on migration and demographic dynamics. As Professor and Chair of the Research Unit on International Migration at the Centre for Development Studies, Kerala, India, Dr. Rajan has coordinated numerous national and international research projects with organizations such as the ILO, IOM, UN agencies, EU, IDRC and World Bank, conducted several migration surveys in India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Goa) and the Gulf (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar), provided advisory support to State and National committees on migration governance, and facilitated the formation of research networks and collaborations by organizing conferences, workshops, and annual training programs for young scholars. He is a member of the National expert group on developing migration policy, editor-in-chief of the international journal Migration and Development, series editor of the India Migration Report and South Asian Migration Report, and has served on the International Advisory Committee of the Global Forum on Migration and Development and Core Group on Gender Responsive Labour Migration Management of UN Women, New Delhi.
Dave Wallack

Dave Wallack

Executive Advisor
Dave Wallack was a founding trustee of IFMR Trust, a private trust with the mission of proving complete access to finance for every individual and every enterprise in India. Dave led innovation and leadership across the IFMR Trust group while serving as Executive Director and Chief Design Officer of IFMR Rural Finance and CEO of IFMR Ventures. Previously, Dave was a political campaign consultant for statewide and national level political candidates and nonprofits and an executive coach working with executives in technology and entertainment. He received his MBA from Stanford University and did graduate study in Demography at Georgetown University.

Project Advisor

John Patton

John Patton

Project Advisor
John Patton is an technology executive with two decades of experience building early stage digital ventures. His skills include team building, product development, partnerships and strategy. John received two degrees from Stanford University and did graduate study at Texas A&M.