Areas of Interest & Expertise
- Sustainable Development and Livelihoods
- Green Jobs
- Waste Recycling and Environmental Management
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
- Social Protection
- Gender and Nutrition
- Policy and Governance
- Democracy and Development
Anjor has a MSc (Econ.) From University of Warwick and a PhD from TISS, Mumbai. His thesis was titled “Food for the Footloose: What Shapes the Practice and Performance of Social Protection Policies.”
He works at the crossroads of research and action in the fields of development and sustainability, focusing on policies that impact the most vulnerable. Both his research and practice have spanned rural and urban areas, across many states in India.
Prior to joining Azim Premji University, Anjor worked in the Planning Cell of MGNREGA in Jharkhand, where he was engaged in the design and execution of policies to strengthen MGNREGA and ensure the policy achieves its goal of sustainable rural development. He helped to set up a holistic grievance redressal and accountability mechanism for the state. The experience helped him gain valuable insights into policy design and implementation.
At the University, Anjor coordinates the Sustainability Committee of Azim Premji University which is tasked with ensuring sustainability is practiced within and outside the University. He is also working along with the University’s Community Engagement Initiative to improve the management of waste in neighbouring panchayats. He has worked with SWaCH, Pune where he contributed towards creating India’s first ISO certified zero-waste ward.
Anjor began this journey as a college student when he conducted a survey of the National Food for Work Programme in 2005, the precursor to the MGNREGA. Soon after, he joined the Rozgar Adhikar Yatra which went through Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, advocating for an employment guarantee programme in India. He experienced how rural India lived and worked. Since then, his work, for over 18 years, has centred on the creation of decent and green jobs and livelihoods for women and men, sustainable environmental management and development, social protection, policy and governance, and the links between democracy and development.
He began his research journey in a project at the Centre for Science and Environment where he carried out one of the first few studies on the impact of MGNREGA on the environment. He then worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) where his research was mainly on hunger, gender and child nutrition.
The well-cited India State Hunger Index Report (jointly written with Purnima Menon and Anil Deolalikar), was written at IFPRI. Another paper written during this period was published in the IDS Bulletin. He also collaborated with Warwick University on an ESRC research project on gender and child nutritional status which resulted in several papers.
A lot of his subsequent research has been on waste recycling and sustainable environmental management; green jobs for (women) waste workers; improving the effectiveness of MGNREGA, focussing on natural resource management, and reaching the most needy workers.
His work on MGNREGA also resulted in a book that was widely cited (and used) in policy circles. Another study led to a practical guide for local governments to measure the impact of MGNREGA public works on the environment. His research studies have been sponsored by UNDP, ILO, ESRC, WIEGO, and NIRD, among others, and have been published in several journals. Alongside, he has also worked on numerous reports and papers.
Noting that the quality of governance, policy design, and implementation shows significant variations across states, his PhD dissertation (which he is now converting into a book) focused on the evolution of the policy for community food centres (Dal Bhat Kendras) in Jharkhand.
In his view, development is essentially a progressive realisation of human rights, and since 2023, he has founded a group called Dialogues on Democracy and Development (DoD), through which he has been coordinating a series of workshops both at the University and in other institutions, with academics, civil society actors and policymakers, on the links between democracy and development.
The group has conducted nearly 20 workshops across several states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The group has also developed booklets that can be used as resource material for those wishing to conduct similar dialogues, workshops and trainings on Democracy and Development.
He has also been engaged in developing curricula and training modules for Social Audit Units for Government Departments and agencies such as the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and the Government of Bihar, which also feed into his larger interest in policy implementation, and in democracy and development.
A lot of his research agenda has been implemented in cooperation with grassroots organisations such as SEWA, PRADAN, KKPKP/SWaCH, Samaj Pragati Sahyog, Hasiru Dala, and others. In addition, he has gained immeasurably by working for nearly two years with a leading waste workers organisation in Pune, the KKPKP/SWaCH. Later, he was able to implement his learning, in conjunction with CSOs, in urban civic projects in several cities.
His two short earlier stints in teaching at Kirori Mal College, Delhi, and St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, stimulated his interest in a two-way learning process with generations of keen minds and brought him to Azim Premji University. He also worked in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, where he conducted environmental education workshops with school children to foster respect, understanding, and commitment towards the environment.
The experiences in Spiti Valley on environmental education were published as a travelogue that won the Green Hiker award from WWF under the title “What does nature do to you”.
He is open to ideas cutting across disciplines, and to collaborating with researchers and development practitioners in his areas of interest.
A course designed to expose students to a variety of contexts in which economists work within the fields of development, in higher education, in public policy and with government agencies.
Books and Published Reports
- Jharkhand Economic Survey: 2015 – 16. (2016). Finance Division, Government of Jharkhand. https://finance.jharkhand.gov.in/updates/Jharkhand_Economics_Survey_2015_16.pdf
- Yadav, P., Bhaskar, A. (with Sunil Gupta and Pankaj Yadav) All’s Well that Ends in a Well — A socio-economic assessment of irrigation wells constructed under NREGA in Jharkhand Institute for Human Development, New Delhi (2015). https://www.ihdindia.org/pdf/Att21_NREGAWellsMonograph.pdf
- India Human Development Report 2011 (contributor). (2011). Oxford University Press and Planning Commission of India. https://www.im4change.org/docs/240India-Human-Development-Report.pdf
- Menon, P., Deolalikar, A., & Bhaskar, A. (2009). India State Hunger Index: Comparisons of Hunger Across States. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC; Welthungerhilfe, Bonn, & University of California, Riverside. https://www.ifpri.org/publication/comparisons-hunger-across-states
Papers in Journals and Books
- (2023, Forthcoming). (with Arpita Sarkar and Preeti Singh). To link or not to link: The Impact of Aadhaar on MGNREGA in Jharkhand, Economic and Political Weekly
- (2023, March). (with Wiji Arulampalam and Nisha Srivastava). Measuring maternal autonomy and its effect on child nutrition in rural India. Warwick Economics Research Papers. No. 1455. ISSN 2059 – 4283 (online)
- (2020). (with Nisha Srivastava) Back to the Barracks: Changing Pattern of Women’s Work Participation in India. in Praveen Jha, Avinash Kumar, Yamini Mishra (ed.) Labouring Women: Issues and Challenges in Contemporary India. Orient BlackSwan
- (2018). Is the MGNREGA Eco-Friendly — An Environmental Assessment of the MGNREGA, in Sunita Narain (ed.) State of India’s Environment 2018. Centre for Science and Environment , New Delhi.
- (2017). (with Amod Shah and Sunil Gupta). 7.5 Crore Green Jobs: Assessing the Greenness of MGNREGA work. Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol. 59, Issue 3. 441 – 461. Springer.
- (2016, May 7). (with Sunil Gupta and Pankaj Yadav). Well worth the effort: An assessment of the wells constructed under the NREGA in Jharkhand. Economic and Political Weekly (Vol. 51 & Issue No. 19, pp 40 – 48.
- (2016, Feb). (with Wiji Arulampalam and Nisha Srivastava). Does greater autonomy among women provide the key to better child nutrition?. IZA Discussion Papers / Warwick Economics Research Paper Series. CAGE WP 269; IZA DP 9781.
- (2016). Social Pensions: The Real Aadhar for the Niradhar, in Priti Darooka (ed.) Road to Rights: Women, Social Security and Protection in India. Sage Yoda Press, Delhi.
- (2012). (with Poornima Chikarmane). The story of waste and its reclaimers: Organising waste collectors for better lives and livelihoods. Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol 55 , no 4 (2012).
- (2011). (with Dr. Bart Minten, Anneleen Vandeplas and Abhimanyu Arora). Opening the Beer Gates: How Liberalisation Caused Growth in India’s Beer Market, in Jo Swinnen ed. The Economics of Beer, London: OUP.
- (2011, November). (with Nisha Srivastava) The Challenge of Persisting Undernutrition. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, Vol 4(13), Pages 309 – 328.
- (2009, Jan). (with Purnima Menon and Katharina Raabe) Biological, Programmatic and Sociopolitical Dimensions of Child Undernutrition in Three States in India, IDS Bulletin. Sussex. Lawrence Haddad and Sushila Zeitlyn (ed). Special Issue on Lifting the Curse: Overcoming Persistent Undernutrition in India. Pp 60 – 69
Other Research Reports and Policy Briefs
- (2023). Aligning Development Policies for Land and Ecosystem Restoration, Discussion Paper No. 23⁄002, G20 Global Land Initiative
- (2023). Promoting Green Jobs and Just Transitions in the Waste Value Chain in India: A Case Study of Pune and Ahmedabad, Report of a study commissioned by the International Labour Organisation.
- (2016). (with Harshad Barde and Dharmesh Shah). A Brief Economic, Environmental and Legal Analysis of Technology Options for Sustainably Processing Multi-Layered Plastic Waste. Report prepared as a part of a project for ITC
- (2016). (with Poornima Chikarmane). Making Space for Waste. Policy Brief prepared for SWaCH Pune and WIEGO.
- (2012). (with Poornima Chikarmane). Occupational Health and Safety of Door-to-Door Waste collectors in Pune Policy Brief prepared for SWaCH and supported by WIEGO.
- (2012). (with Poornima Chikarmane). Occupational Health and Safety of Compost Plant Workers, Policy Brief prepared for SWaCH and WIEGO.
- (2011). Analysis of E‑Waste in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and the Role of the Various Stakeholders. Report prepared for SWaCH and GIZ.
- (2010, April). (with Noora-Lisa Aberman and Akhter U. Ahmed) Rebuilding After Crises and Emergencies: A Literature Review. Report prepared for International Food Policy Research Institute.
- (2008). (contributor), Socio-Economic Assessment of Assets Constructed under NREGA in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh). Report prepared for the Centre for Science and Environment as a part of a project sponsored by UNDP and the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India
Other Research Papers
- (2011). Avoiding the Waste of Waste: Organising Waste Collectors, Upgrading Lives and Livelihoods for the Cleaner and Friendlier City”
- (2021). Study of Process Flow of NREGA and PDS in 5 states in India”, study supported by Dalberg
- (2019). Household’s willingness to pay for decentralised waste recycling: A survey of households in Patna city, Bihar”, study supported by the International Growth Centre, U.K.
- (2021). Impact of Linking Aadhaar with MGNREGA in Jharkhand”, study supported by the Digital Identity Research Initiative, ISB
- (2009, April). (with Akhter Ahmed and Abusaleh Shariff). Causes and consequences of the recent food price inflation and the role of social protection in mitigating the impact — A literature review, International Food Policy Research Institute. Washington, D.C..
- (2009). (with Dr. Akhter Ahmed, Jinxia Wang and Wahid Quabili). Water and Poverty in China’s Yellow River Basin . International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Part of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and the Poor.
Popular Articles and Commentaries
- (2023, February 22). Whaa? The Budget? Young Environmentalist. https://young.downtoearth.org.…
- (2022, March 7). (with Anushka Kale) Climate Change, Rural Ecological Health and the Need for MGNREGA Reform, Deccan Herald.
- (2020, Sept 18). (with Preeti Singh). Plug the Gaps: Aadhaar and MGNREGA,. The Telegraph. https://www.telegraphindia.com…
- (2020, May 31). (with Debmalya Nandi). Five Ways to Overhaul the Rural Jobs Scheme, Business Standard. https://www.business-standard.…
- (2020, June 18). Rural Capital: Road to Aatmnirbhar Bharat. The Telegraph. https://www.telegraphindia.com…
- (2019, Sept). (with Arpita Sarkar). Jharkhand’s Community Kitchens: Making a mockery of food security? Down to Earth. https://www.downtoearth.org.in…
- (2013). (with Poornima Chikarmane) Messing Around with Waste. Infochange Agenda, Special Issue on Urbanisation, Issue 27.
- (2018, Nov 2). TISS: Leading the Way Towards Inclusion and Sustainability. Green Ubuntu. http://greenubuntu.com/tiss-leading-the-way-towards-inclusion-and-sustainability/
- (2018, Nov 3). TISS Mumbai: Only Educational Campus which has travelled to become a sustainable, inclusive space. Counterview.
- TISS, Mumbai: Only educational campus which has traveled to becoming sustainable, inclusive space. Counterview.org. https://counterview.org/2018/11/03/tiss-mumbai-only-educational-campus-which-has-traveled-to-becoming-sustainable-inclusive-space/
- (2012, May 28). Whose Fuel Price is it Anyways. Domain‑b http://domainb.com/economy/general/20120528_price_hike_oneView.html.
- (2011, June). Zero Waste Electoral Ward Initiative at Katraj Gaon, Pune. The Better India. https://www.thebetterindia.com/3531/zero-waste-electoral-ward-initiative-at-katraj-gaon-pune/
- (2011, Jan 25). What does nature do to you. (http://greenhikercampaign.blogspot.com/2011/).
- (2007). Holy Cow. Assumptions, the annual magazine of the Department of Economics, University of Warwick.
- (2005, Oct). Images of a Yatra. Seminar. pg. 57 – 58 (Oct, 2005)
- (2005, September). Voices in Anguish in Rural India. Annual Economics Society Magazine, Delhi University.
- (2005, August). Food for Work Programme in Palamau District of Jharkhand. Report based on findings of a survey in summer 2005. Cited by Prof. Jean Dreze in Economic and Political Weekly.
- (2011). Developing a Zero Waste Ward in Pune: The Katraj Zero Waste Project. Which became the first ward in India to become an ISI certified zero waste ward
- (2016). Technical Support for Developing a Composting Facility for Gurgaon Municipal Corporation, Haryana
- (2017). Technical and Capacity Building support for Developing a Compost Facility in Gaya, Bihar
- (2015). Technical Support for Building a Composting Facility in Gyan Darshan Society, NOIDA
- (2022−23). Technical Support for Developing a Composting System for Parsvnath Srishti Society, NOIDA
- (2017). Training of Executives and Municipal Councillors of Ranchi Municipal Corporation on Sustainable, Integrated Solid Waste Management
- (2022). Started the group Dialogues on Democracy and Development to facilitate dialogues across groups on critical social, political and developmental issues and constitutional values. The group has conducted nearly 20 workshops, creating training and educational material which has been used by Social Audit teams of various states.
- (2010). Environmental Education Workshops for Children in Schools in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh (through Ecosphere)
- (2017−2019). Development of a Monitoring, Evaluation and Grievance Redressal System for MGNREGA for the Rural Development Department, Government of Jharkhand
- (2017−18). Formalisation of MoUs with NREGA Sahayata Kendras in Jharkhand for strengthening the implementation and MGNREGA in the state.
- (2013). Audit and Verification of 5 Schemes in Nandurbar and Osmanabad districts in Maharashtra (supervised by Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera)
- (2012). Supported the Campaign for Universal Pensions for the elderly, titled the Pension Parishad on behalf of KKPKP, Pune.
- (2012). Social Protection Camps for Informal Waste Workers in Delhi
- (2005). Part of Rozgar Adhikar Yatra to campaign for a National Right to Work
- (2005). Part of a team from Delhi to support in rehabilitation in villages in Tamil Nadu ravaged by Tsunami (through ANHAD)
- (2004). Part of a team which went to Godhra in Gujarat assess the situation of households with people put in prison in response to the burning of a train coach in Gujarat.