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The Research Advisory Board of the National Council of Applied Economic Research includes eminent research and policy practitioners and academics. The Board is headed by Dr Surjit Bhalla, Executive Director for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan at the IMF and NCAER Governing Body member. 



Junaid Ahmad is the Country Director for the World Bank in India. He joined the World Bank’s Delhi office on 1 September 2016. He was formerly the Chief of Staff to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. Prior to joining the President’s office in January 2016, Junaid was the Senior Director for the Water Global Practice, a position he held since the creation of the Global Practices in July 2014. Junaid spent 10 years in the field, first as the Deputy Resident Representative and Principal Economist in Johannesburg, and then as Regional Team Leader of the Water and Sanitation Program in New Delhi. In 2004, he was a team member of the World Development Report (WDR): Making Services Work for Poor People. From 2004-2008, he was the Sector Manager for Social Development in South Asia Region and subsequently for Urban Water & Sanitation before taking on the latter responsibility for the Africa Region in 2010. He was also the Director for Sustainable Development in the Middle East and North Africa Region, a position he held from 2012-2014.

He holds a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard University, and a BA in Economics from Brown University.


Surjit S. Bhalla is Executive Director for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan at the IMF.  He was earlier a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and Chairman of Oxus Research & Investments in New Delhi. Dr Bhalla has worked as a research economist at the Rand Corporation, the Brookings Institution, in the Research and Treasury departments of the World Bank, and as a consultant to Warburg Pincus. He has worked on Wall Street at Deutsche Bank and at Goldman Sachs. He is the author of several academic papers and books, Imagine There’s no Country (2002), Devaluing to Prosperity (2012), The New Wealth of Nations (2017), and Citizen Raj (2019).  His first book, Between the Wickets: The Who and Why of the Best in Cricket (1987), developed a model for evaluating performance in sports. He is a regular contributor to Indian newspapers, magazines, and television on financial markets, economics, politics and cricket.   

Dr Bhalla has an MPA and PhD in Economics from Princeton University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. 


Sonalde Desai (Distinguished University Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland and Professor and Centre Director, NCAER-National Data Innovation Centre, New Delhi) is a demographer whose work deals primarily with social transformation and its impact on the lives of individuals with a focus on education, employment, gender, and maternal and child health. 
She leads the India Human Development Survey of over 40,000 households, one of the few national panel survey in India providing a rich and free public resource for studying the transformation of the Indian society in the 21st Century. Since April 2020, Desai and her colleagues at NDIC have carried out telephone surveys around COVID-related experiences in Delhi National Capital Region.
She is a frequent contributor to Indian newspapers and serves on the editorial board of Population and Development Review. She received a Ph.D. from Stanford University and post-doctoral training at the University of Chicago and RAND Corporation. Desai has recently been elected President of Population Association of America.

Indermit Gill is Chief Economist of the World Bank Group and Senior Vice President for Development Economics. Dr Gill was Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions at the World Bank. Between 2016 and 2021, he was a professor of public policy at Duke University and non-resident Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. Gill worked at the World Bank from 1993 to 2016, where his assignments included Director of Development Policy in Development Economics; Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia; Staff Director for the 2009 World Development Report on Economic Geography, Acting Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific; and Principal Country Economist for Brazil. He has published extensively on issues of middle-income countries, developing country debt, economic growth, managing natural resource wealth, labour markets and inequality. His pioneering work includes developing the concept of the “middle income trap” to describe how developing countries can stagnate after reaching a certain level of income.
He has a Ph.D. and A.M. in economics from the University of Chicago, an M.A. from the Delhi School of Economics, and a B.A. in economics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. He has taught at Duke, Georgetown University, the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Chicago.

 Neelkanth Mishra is a Managing Director, co-head of Asia Pacific Strategy and India Strategist, Securities Research for Credit Suisse. He has been rated among the best analysts in India by the Institutional Investor and Asia Money polls. He has been member of or an advisor to several government committees like the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, the Fifteenth Finance Commission and the FRBM Review Committee. He also advises businesses, and has been part of the Economic Advisory Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry for the past few years. He is a widely followed columnist in prominent newspapers and magazines. Neelkanth has worked on Metals & Mining, Indian Pharmaceuticals, Taiwan IC design, semiconductor foundries and Asian tech strategy research, based out of Mumbai, Singapore and Taipei. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, he was a Senior Technical Architect with Infosys Technologies. He has also worked with Hindustan Lever Limited and has been an entrepreneur. 
Neelkanth is a gold medalist from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, graduating in computer science and engineering, and a Distinguished Alumnus Award winner. He was ranked fourth in the prestigious entrance exam to the IITs. He is currently based in Mumbai.

Arvind Panagariya is Professor of Economics and the Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. From January 2015 to August 2017, he served as the first Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog, Government of India in the rank of a Cabinet Minister. He simultaneously served as India’s G20 Sherpa. Professor Panagariya is a former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank and was on the faculty of the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland at College Park from 1978 to 2003. He has also worked with the World Bank, IMF and UNCTAD in various capacities. Professor Panagariya has authored or edited twenty books. His book India: The Emerging Giant (2008, OUP, New York) was listed as a top pick of 2008 by The Economist and described as the “definitive book on the Indian economy” by Fareed Zakaria of the CNN. His technical papers have appeared in leading professional journals such as the American Economic Review and the Quarterly Journal of Economics and his policy papers in the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. In March 2012, the Government of India honoured Professor Panagariya with Padma Bhusan. 
He holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Princeton University.

Nirvikar Singh is currently Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Center for Analytical Finance at the University of California, Santa Cruz. From 2010 to 2020, he held the Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair of Sikh and Punjabi Studies at UCSC. He has previously directed the UCSC South Asian Studies Initiative. He has served as a member of the Advisory Group to the Finance Minister of India on G-20 matters, and Consultant to the Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. He has recently served on the Expert Group on post-Covid-19 economic recovery formed by the Chief Minister of Punjab state in India. At UCSC, he has previously served as Director of the Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Co-Director of the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, and Special Advisor to the Chancellor. In the 1990s, he organized one of the first major US conferences on Indian economic reform. He has authored over 100 research papers and co-authored or co-edited six books. 
He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and his BSc and MSc from the London School of Economics, where he was awarded the Allyn Young Prize, Gonner Prize and Ely Devons Prize.