Mr. Pushpadhar Das, chairperson

He is a graduate from St. Stephens’ College, Delhi and has done his PGDM from IIM Bangalore. He is a Member of Gramya Vikas Mancha, Nalbari and also an Advisor to Sitajakhala Dugdha Utpadak SSL, one of the oldest and successful milk cooperatives of Northeast India. He is well known as an agri-entrepreneur with vast knowledge and skills on farm machinery bank, multi-cropping, crop-diversification, dairy, pisciculture, and SRI. Mr. Das has led the MIS implementation at ASOMI and also been offering consultancy on Contract Farming of medicinal and aromatic plants as well as horticulture crops.

Dr. Chandana Goswami, vice-chairperson

Professor Chandana Goswami is the Dean, School of Management Sciences at Tezpur University. Earlier she was the Director of Internal Quality Assurance Cell, and also was the Head, Dept. Of Business Administration.  She did her MBA and PhD from Gauhati University, FDP from IIM Ahmedabad and was a British Chevening Fellow in 2004. She is involved with teaching and research at Tezpur University and has taught for more than 25 years. She has produced eight PhDs so far.  She has presented research papers within the country as well as abroad.  Additionally, she is a corporate trainer and has conducted trainings for Powergrid and Numaligarh Refinery Oil India to name a few.

Mr. Manoj Kumar Basumatary, Treasurer

Mr. Basumatary is a graduate from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He is the co-founder of Symbiotic Foods Pvt. Ltd. and also acting as its CEO. Symbiotic Foods is a unique Social Enterprise established to promote pig rearing and currently working in the value chain of piggery sub-sector. He is a pioneer in establishing pig rearing as a profitable livelihood opportunity and currently acclaimed as a trendsetting Social Entrepreneur. Prior to starting his own social enterprise, he worked as a Chief Manager at State Bank of India (SBI) in New Delhi for 15 years and also worked as a Partner in Udayachal Ventures for 3 years.

Mr. Apoorva oza, member

Mr. Apoorva is a member of Global Program Team of Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and also in the board of AKRSPI (Aga Khan Rural Support program of India), ACT (Arid Communities and Technology), ASA (Association for Social Advancement), INAFI, and Parvah. He is also chairperson of Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell and Sajjata Singh. He is the founder of Working Group for Women and Land Ownership. He graduated in BE Mechanical Engineering from Gujarat University and post graduation in Rural Management from Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). After post-graduation, he worked with Gujarat Dairy Development board for more than 2 years and than joined AKRSPI, where he worked for more than 35 years in various capacities in which he served for 20 years as the Chief Executive.

Mr. Biren Bhuta, Member

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Mr. Bhuta graduated as a production engineer from Bharti Vidyapeeth’s College of Engineering, Pune, Biren pursued a post-graduate diploma in management (PGDM) from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata and started his career as a Corporate Banker with Standard Chartered Bank in Chennai. Later on he switched careers to become a television journalist with NDTV in Mumbai. He consulted Tata steel for rural development in Bastar, Chhattisgarh and also worked with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Odisha on a project to mitigate impacts on Olive Ridley turtles. Post that he worked as the Chief of CSR of Tata Steel for seven years in Jharkhand and Odisha


Ms. Mehta works towards making a positive difference in the lives of those less privileged, through dialogue, innovative solutions, advisory inputs, and institutional transformation, where possible. For about 30 years, she has been working on social and institutional issues around natural resource management (NRM); from participatory forest and water management to pastoralism and climate-smart agriculture, with a focus on enabling social and gender equity. She has capacitated teams and organizations to undertake community-centric planning and implementation of projects in agriculture, smallholder livestock production, forests and water resource management. Currently, she is working as an independent consultant and is based out of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Ms. Sangeeta Barooah, Member
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty is a Delhi-based writer and journalist who specializes on North-east India. Born in Golaghat, Assam, she graduated from the Gauhati University in 1995. She began her journey in journalism in 1996 with the United News of India (UNI), thus breaking the glass ceiling to become the first woman from the North-east to be employed as a journalist in the national news agency’s New Delhi office. Her reportage on the North-east began in The Hindu after she won the Inclusive Media Fellowship of the Centre for Development Studies (CSDS) in 2011 to write a series on the loss of livelihood due to annual erosion in Assam’s Majuli island, Asia’s largest riverine island, in the Brahmaputra river. A rare chance to utilise the digital space for news about the North-east from a New Delhi newsroom led her to join The Wire. She is currently the national affairs editor and chief of news bureau at The Wire. In 2017, she had received the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for feature writing. In 2023, she was the first woman journalist to be accorded the Parag Das Journalism Award. Her first book, Assam The Accord The Discord, was published by Penguin Ranfom House in 2019. In 2023, her second book, The Assamese — A Portrait of a Community was published by Aleph Book company.
Mr. Romeo koch, Staff Nominee

Romeo Koch is a botany graduate from Guwahati University and holds a master’s degree in ecology and environmental science from Assam University. He began his journey at SeSTA as an executive trainee in 2014 and now serves as the Program Director of Operations. With extensive experience in managing projects that support rural livelihoods, Romeo has led impactful initiatives like ITC – MSK Project, Moi Progoti, Livelihood by CRISIL Foundation, SDTT – DBI, and MKSP. His visionary leadership and expertise in developmental studies have made him a driving force in empowering rural communities and promoting sustainable development.

Mr. pradyut bhattacharjee, executive director

Pradyut Bhattacharjee has been the Executive Director of SeSTA ( He is an Engineer by education and has been a development professional for the last 20 years, leading teams and projects during his stint with Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) in Jharkhand & Chhattisgarh; he has varied experience of promoting & nurturing women collectives, grooming young professionals, organization development processes. Pradyut is also an empanelled National Resource Person of NRLM supporting State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) all across North-Eastern states. He has long experience of working on institution building, social mobilization and sustainable livelihoods. He has worked as Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest Women Cooperatives in Jharkhand, working on input and output linkages. Pradyut has been engaging with rural poor under different projects in collaboration with APPI, ITC, TATA Trusts, UNDP, TWC, IFAD, TRIFED, WFP, MORD, NRLM and local administration in several areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and North East Region of India His forte is Organization Development, institution Building, Project Conceptualization and grooming & mentoring development professionals. Post SeSTA, Pradyut is engaged in Organization Development Processes with smaller organizations of NE and is also engaged in permaculture in his ancestral house in a village in Nalbari, Assam. Pradyut loves reading books, birding, trekking, and gardening in his spare time.