Governance Panel


“If the only tool one has is a hammer, one tends to see every problem as a nail”. If all we hear about issues such as bureaucracy and corruption are that they are a debilitating fact of life in countries like India, how can we ever rise above them? What if we shifted the spotlight away from the nature of the problem and towards ways to solve it? This is precisely what the governance panel will attempt to do - by showcasing real-life case studies from on-the-ground developmental organizations that have tackled governance challenges. Ultimately, the panel will inspire practical templates for facing bureaucracy and corruption, and will be especially relevant to anyone involved in developmental ventures in India.


 Panel Moderator:

S.P. Kothari

Deputy Dean, Sloan School of Management

S.P. Kothari is Deputy Dean and Gordon Y Billard Professor of Management at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, he served as Global Head of Equity Research for Barclays Global Investors (BGI), responsible for research supporting BGI’s active equity strategies, from 2008-09. Prior to joining BGI, S.P. was Deputy Dean at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and earlier he was Head of the Department of Economics, Finance, and Accounting at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In 2005-06, he was Thomas Henry Carroll-Ford Visiting Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Dr. Kothari received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and B.E. (Hons.) from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani.



Dr. Surendra Kaushik

Founder and Chairman, Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College 

Dr. Surendra K. Kaushik is chairman of the Helena Kaushik Education Foundation in New York and founder of the Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College in India in 1999. The College is affiliated with the University of Rajasthan. The college has grown on a 30-acre new campus with 1,100+ graduates with a B.A. B. Sc, B. Sc in Biotechnology, B.Ed., M.A., and M.Sc. in Biotechnology from 2002 to 2012. Dr. Kaushik  received  his Ph.D. in economics from Boston University in 1976 and has taught at Pace University in New York since 1981 where he is a professor of finance in the Lubin School of Business. Prof. Kaushik received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest recognition award given to overseas Indians.

Supriya Sule

Member of Parliament

Supriya Sule is an Indian politician from the Nationalist Congress Party and currently a Member of Parliament (MP) in the 15th Lok Sabha (India’s house of elected representatives). She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in the September 2006 intake from Maharashtra and is a trustee of the Nehru Centre in Bombay.



Dr. Rukmini Banerji

Pratham Executive Committee Member

Rukmini Banerji has been with Pratham since 1996. She is responsible for Pratham’s program activities in several major states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam.  Rukmini has been in the core team of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) since it was launched in 2005 and currently heads ASER Center. ASER is a national annual survey of children conducted in every rural district in India. It is the only annual district level source of information on children’s ability to read and do arithmetic.  ASER has been recognized internationally for its innovativeness and impact on education policy. Rukmini has represented Pratham and ASER at many international forums, including the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in 2008 and the Fast Track Global Initiative meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

Rukmini has extensive field experience both in program implementation as well as in evaluation, survey and research. Initially trained as an economist in India, she did her BA at St. Stephen’s College and attended Delhi School of Economics. She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and completed her PhD at the University of Chicago. She did her post doctoral work at the Population Research Centre at the University of Chicago and later worked as a program officer at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago before returning to India in 1996.

Mr. Vithal (Vikas) Deshpande

Volunteer - Sewa USA International

Mr. Vithal (Vikas) Deshpande is a Boston based volunteer of Sewa USA International,a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that promotes selfless service through 38 chapters in cities and towns across the United States. Sewa’s core mission is to serve humanity in distress by offering disaster relief and by supporting development projects internationally. Sewa also helps local communities and causes, and promotes volunteerism. In India, Sewa volunteers have worked during natural disasters, helping the needy and supporting governmental disaster related activities.

Mr. Deshpande works in the field of environmental sustainability.  He has worked for government, not-for-profit and private sectors to develop policy and solutions  for climate protection as well as water and sanitation projects.  He has mentored start-up companies in the environmental field. Mr. Deshpande is active within the Indian diaspora in the US. Currently, he is serving on the Board of Directors for Groundwork Somerville, a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts, Shashwat Eco-Solution Foundation, India and is a Co-chair for The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) Social Entrepreneurs Group in Boston, MA. Recently, Mr. Deshpande has worked with the Government of Maharashtra, India to provide education and training for local and district level government officials to address the issues of water and sanitation in India’s cities, villages and towns. He is working to organize an International Educators’ Summit as a part of Brihan Maharashtra Mandal (BMM)’s Convention in 2013 that will bring together several universities and colleges in the US and in India.