Sankar Datta

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Sankar Datta
Sankar Datta Teaching.jpg
Born (1958-02-17) February 17, 1958 (age 56)
Jamshedpur, Bihar, India
Occupation Development Professional, Academic, Professor
Known for PRADAN, BASIX (India), The Livelihood School, Microfinance, Livelihood
Spouse(s) Sonja Datta
Children Soumya Sankar

Dr. Sankar Datta[1] (born February 17, 1958), is an academic & professional development worker. He has been engaged in rural livelihood promotion / support activities for more than three decades since early 1980’s. Most of his field work has been in the undulating terrains of central India, from Chhota Udaipur in the west to Jharkhand in the east inhabited by various tribal groups.

Dr. Sankar Datta[2] is an management Graduate from the 1st batch of IRMA), with basic training in Agriculture from Pantnagar University and Ph.D in Economics from Sardar Patel University.


He is currently Professor[3] in the Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, leading the Livelihood Initiative of the University. Having started his journey as a Spearhead Team Leader organizing soyabean farmers in central parts of India, he continued working with small rural producers as part of the founding teams of BASIX[4]/ Indian Grameen Services[5][6] along with[7] Vijay Mahajan, Deep Joshi, and PRADAN, two notable livelihood promotion/ support institutions of India before joining the University.

He was also the member of faculty of premier Institutions of India such as IRMA,[8][9] and IIM-A as well as policy forums such as Working Group of the Planning Commission of India for the 12th Five-Year Plan.[10]

Sankar Datta is known in India’s development domain for his work in the area of Livelihoods.[11][12]

Early life[edit]

Sankar Datta was (born February 17, 1958) in Jamshedpur, Bihar, India. He spent his early childhood in Bihar.

Academic Background[edit]

His school education in Patha Bhavana, Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan, founded by Rabindranath Tagore in late 60’s and early 70’s.

He completed his Rural Management post-graduation from IRMA, after his basic training in Agriculture (B Sc Ag & AH) from GB Pant University, and did his Doctoral dissertation (Ph D) on `Factors Affecting Performance of Village Level Organisations’ in the area of Economics from Sardar Patel University. Thereafter he pursued higher studies in Agri-Business Management from the Cornell University.

His Professional Contributions[edit]

As an academic[edit]

  • Dr. Sankar Datta is presently Professor,[13] leading the Livelihood Initiatives, Azim Premji University.
  • He was earlier the Dean of The Livelihood School set up by BASIX, undertaking research and training in promotion of livelihoods, especially of the poor households of the country;
  • He was a member of the faculty in Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and Ravi Mathai Centre for Educational Innovation (RM-CEI) of IIM, Ahmedabad.
  • He was also Was visiting faculty for several institutions like XIMB, MANAGE, KIIT-SRM, TISS among others

As a Practitioner/Development Professional[edit]

Dr.Sankar Datta has been closely associated with promotion of Rural Livelihoods as a Practitioner.

  • He was in-charge of operations while setting up the BASIX group of Companies, a new generation livelihood support institution[14]
  • He had initiated and headed the first livelihood project of PRADAN, a major livelihood support NGO of India
  • He was Team-Leader of the Spearhead Team responsible for promotion of soybean in MP and organizing the network of producer co-operatives

Other Professional Engagements[edit]

  • Served on the Board of several institutions[15] including Indian Grameen Services,[16] Village Financial Services Ltd,[17] IndusTree Crafts Ltd. Purbanchal Maitree Development Society.[18]
  • Member of the Advisory Committee of Centre for Management in Agriculture (CMA) of the IIM-Ahmedabad
  • Member of the Livelihood Advisory Group of the Sustainable Livelihoods India Initiative organized by ACCESS Development Services.
  • Member of the Planning Commission Working Group for the 12th Five-Year Plan on MGNREGA.[10]


Apart from presenting various papers[19][20][21][22][23] on the livelihood challenges faced by the poor in various national and international forums he has published several books.[24] One of his frequently used publications is the Resource Book for Livelihood Promotion[25] ,[26] co-authored with Vijay Mahajan and Gitali Thakur.


  • Rural Development[27] in General and livelihood promotion/ support in specific
  • Dryland farming and Value Chain Management[28]
  • Gandhian economics for supporting livelihoods
  • Value Chain Development


  1. ^ "Sankar Datta". Azim Premji University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Datta, Sankar. "Author information". Scholars without Borders. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Sankar Datta". Azim Premji University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  4. ^ BASIX(India)
  5. ^ Datta, Sankar. "IGS eyes ‘poorer’ terrains to meet micro finance targets". The Financial Express. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Datta, Sankar. "India: Indian Grameen Services (IGS) Eyes ‘Poorer’ to Meet Microfinance Targets". MicroCapital. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Datta, Sankar. "Welcome to Indian Grameen Services". Indian Grameen Services. 
  8. ^ IRMA (December 1998). "Editorial". NETWORK. 4 4 (70): 8. 
  9. ^ "Factors Affecting Performance Of Village Level Organisations". INSTITUTE OF RURAL MANAGEMENT ANAND Research and Publication/ Catalogue / Working Papers. IRMA. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Working Group on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA)". Planning Commission ( Rural Development Division). Archived from the original on 2011-10-13. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Datta, Sankar; Mahajan,Vijay; Singha,Ashok Kumar (2009). "Land for Infrastructure Development: Livelihoods and Fair Compensation". INDIA INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT 2009. Oxford University Press. pp. 131–141. Archived from the original on 2012-04-11. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sankar Datta". Azim Premji University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Sankar Datta". BASIX India Website. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Board Members- Mother Earth". Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Datta, Sankar. "Board Members - Indian Grameen Services". Indian Grameen Services. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Datta, Sankar. "Board of Directors". Village Financial Services. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Datta, Sankar. "Board of Director". Maitri. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Sankar Datta -Publications and Writings". Azim Premji University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Datta, Sankar (October 1997). "Power, Politics and Village-Level Organisations: Oilseeds Growers' Co-operatives in MP". Economic and Political Weekly 32 (39): A114–A120. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Datta, Sankar; N. Srinivasan (July 2008). "Consolidating the Growth of Microfinance Microfinance India: State of the Sector Report 2008 by N. Srinivasan Review by: Sankar Datta". Economic and Political Weekly. No. 30 44,: pp. 31–32. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "Books- Lead Author - Sankar Datta". SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Edited by Dr. S.Srinivas, APMAS,Dr. Sankar Datta, ISLP and Prof. S.J.Phansalkar (January 2006). "Rural Livelihood in Andhra Pradesh". Mahila Abhivruddhi Society, Andhra Pradesh (APMAS) and Indian School of Livelihood Promotion. Mahila Abivruddhi Society, Andhra Pradesh (APMAS),. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Sankar Datta; S L Narayana, Sirnivas (23 December 2010). "Savings of the Poor: How they do it..". Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  25. ^ Datta, Sankar. "A resource book for livelihood promotion". Ford Foundation. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "An Introduction to Livelihood Promotion". Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "Sankar Datta: Face to face with Sarpanches". Business Standard. November 30, 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  28. ^ Datta, Sankar. "Sankar Datta on the need for integrated financial services". Microlinks. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

External links[edit]