The India Observatory

The India Observatory, set up in 2006, is a centre to develop and enhance research and programmes related to India's economy, politics and society. It is involved in public policy engagement in, and with, India and also works in collaboration with international partners for the generation and exchange of knowledge on India and its position in the world.

The India Observatory stands as a prominent institution dedicated to research, policy engagement, and leadership development with a focus on addressing pressing global challenges

The India Observatory (IO) at the London School of Economics is involved in evidence based research and a strong public policy engagement in and with India and beyond. We work in collaboration with international partners for the generation and exchange of knowledge on India and its position in the world. It has a global focus, especially with respect to emerging economies. This is to enable sharing knowledge and experiences between India and other countries with common synergies for better understanding and mutual benefit.

The IO is involved in developing, enhancing and undertaking high impact multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research at the LSE and beyond. It has strong links with academic institutions; public and private sector institutions to further knowledge exchange and contributes to the debate on broader policy issues by promoting and supporting an active engagement around economics and social policy.

About the IO

The India Observatory, established in 2006, operates in conjunction with the IG Patel Chair, forming a collaborative partnership with the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of India. This initiative honors the legacy of Dr. IG Patel, a highly distinguished Indian economist and public servant who served as the Director of the London School of Economics (LSE) from 1984 to 1990 and as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 1977 to 1982.

Leadership and Oversight

Professor Lord Stern and Dr. Ruth Kattumuri jointly serve as Co-Chairs of the India Observatory.

Research and Policy Commitment

The IG Patel Chair and the India Observatory are deeply committed to conducting research and engaging in public policy discussions to address global societal challenges. Their primary focus areas include sustainable growth, social inclusion, population development, and governance.

Dissemination Activities

The India Observatory actively organizes and participates in dissemination activities, leveraging their research and public policy engagement efforts. These activities span across the LSE campus and extend to various locations in the UK, India, and China, in collaboration with their partners.

Executive Training Programs

The India Observatory plays a pivotal role in organizing executive training programs aimed at nurturing future leaders from emerging economies. These programs encompass several key initiatives:

  • Chevening Indian Parliamentarians: A collaborative effort with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to empower Indian parliamentarians.
  • Collaboration with Oxford University: In addition to the Chevening program, there are collaborative efforts with Oxford University, including engagement with Gurukul scholars.
  • Indian Revenue Service Officials: Training programs tailored for officials from the Indian Revenue Service.
  • Reserve Bank of India Officials: Targeted initiatives to enhance the capabilities of RBI officials.
  • Indian Economic Service Officials (Past Program): Previously conducted programs for Indian Economic Service officials.

Visiting Scholars

The India Observatory hosts and supervises post-doctoral and senior visiting scholars from various universities, public sector organizations, and private sector institutions across Asia. Notable visiting fellowships include:

The India Observatory, in collaboration with the IG Patel Chair, stands as a prominent institution dedicated to research, policy engagement, and leadership development with a focus on addressing pressing global challenges. Their multifaceted initiatives and partnerships underscore their commitment to promoting sustainable growth, social inclusion, and effective governance in the global context.

The IO's Relationship with India

Since 2003, LSE has been intensifying its institutional engagement with India still further, developing strong links with Indian academic institutions, government and corporate bodies to foster exchange of ideas and research, contribute to capacity building and contribute to the debate on broader policy issues.

The story of LSE and India starts with the School's foundation in 1895. As far back as 1912, an Indian was the first non-European president of the Students' Union.

Ralf Dahrendorf (1995) refers to the association between India and LSE as a story of soul mates. Through exchanges with government and academic initiatives, LSE has been more deeply entrenched in Indian life than a few highly visible names could achieve. In the words of a well-known Indian political leader, there is a vacant chair at every cabinet meeting in India reserved for the ghost of Professor Harold Laski.

Among the many famous Indians who have passed through LSE, two of the most prominent are Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, a founding father of the Indian constitution and a leader of the Dalit community in India and ex-President KR Narayanan. Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen is an LSE Honorary Fellow. Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is an Honorary Fellow of the Asia Research Centre. Thus the LSE-India partnership has been sustained and strengthened over the years.

Dr IG Patel was the ninth Director of LSE from 1984-90. In 1999 Professor Anthony Giddens, then Director of LSE and author of The Third Way, delivered the BBC Reith lecture in Delhi. Former Director Howard Davies visited India in early 2004 when a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) for collaborative activities and projects / knowledge-exchange programmes to facilitate interaction on new innovations in business practices. He also visited the then President of India Dr Abdul Kalam.


Dr Ruth Kattumuri (India Observatory Co-Chair)

Professor Lord Nicholas Stern (IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government; India Observatory Co-Chair; and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute)

Dr Sandeep Kumar Kujur (Subir Chowdhury Visiting Fellow) 

Dr Niyathi R. Krishna (Sir Ratan Tata Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow)

Dr Wasim Ahmad (Subir Chowdhury Visiting Fellow)

Dr Ashish Dongare (Sir Ratan Tata Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow)

Shantanu Singh (Research Fellow)

Dr Soham Sahoo (Subir Chowdhury Visiting Fellow)

Dr Malvika Tyagi (Sir Ratan Tata Fellow)

Akshita Goyal (Research Intern)

Manas Goyal (Research Intern)

Sophie Savage (Research Intern)

Mehak Garg (Research Assistant)

Kerrie Quirk (Administrative Staff)


Dr Ehtisham Ahmad 

Professor Sumantra Bose 

Dr Saipriya Kamath 

Dr Sunil Kumar 

Professor David Piachaud 

Professor Tirthankar Roy 


Research Approach

The India Observatory works in partnership with key academic, government and corporate organisations in order to:

  • Support and promote research into economic, social, developmental and cultural issues relevant to India

  • Promote research related to India within LSE by developing and supporting a network of academics from across the school

  • Forge partnerships with India, Asia, Europe and other regions for collaborative research and knowledge sharing issues related to India and Asia

  • Support public-private partnerships for research and dissemination

Research Projects

EFFECT – Ecosystems For Futuristic Entrepreneurship through Collaboration and Technology

The EFFECT project aims to explore opportunities and challenges for furthering knowledge economies in India and the UK, through partnerships that enable ecosystems for entrepreneurship. This is to enhance mutual economic prosperity, human capital development and social welfare. Using a systematic multi-disciplinary approach, the project focuses particularly on ecosystems for technology-based entrepreneurship including in financial services and FinTech. 

Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Development

The programme focuses on understanding and evaluating the deployment of AI technologies and prevalent algorithmic approaches with a focus on the enhancement of human capability.

Economic Development in Palanpur, A North Indian Village

The sixth and seventh rounds of study of Palanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India - led by Nicholas Stern - examine a perspective from seven decades of economic development in this north Indian village.

Environment Sustainability and Climate Change

The India Observatory works with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and the Bangalore Climate Change Initiative - Karnataka to develop research and programmes related to India on this theme.

Fiscal Policies and Governance of Financial Institutions

This research programme focuses on the current state of governance and stability of financial institutions across the world, with a particular reference to Indian financial institutions. This collaborative research is by Ruth Kattumuri and Rachita Gulati.

Sustainable Human Capital Development

This programme focuses on skilling for human capital development by identifying the link between up-skilling, upward economic mobility and equitable economic development. This programme is led by Ruth Kattumuri.

Urbanisation, Infrastructure and Governance

The LSE India Observatory and the University of Hyderabad, India, partnered jointly on this project. The research was supported by a grant from UKIERI



Sir Ratan Tata Post-doctoral Fellowship

The Sir Ratan Tata Fellowship is available to scholars with experience researching on South Asia in the social sciences. The Fellowship is for a period of six months.

Subir Chowdhury Post-doctoral Fellowship

The Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics is available to scholars with experience researching on Bangladesh and/or India in the social sciences. The Fellowship is for a period of three months.


India Observatory Visiting Fellowship

India Observatory Visiting Fellowships are available to individuals from outside LSE wishing to undertake multidisciplinary research on a full-time basis.

India Observatory Visiting Senior Fellowship

India Observatory Visiting Senior Fellowships are available to individuals from outside LSE wishing to undertake multidisciplinary research on a full-time basis.

Alumni and Honorary Fellows


Our objective is to develop the alumni networks in India in order to maintain and strengthen relationships with former students and friends, and to engage their active support. We have been building, strengthening and supporting alumni networks in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore through regular events and meetings.

  • Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, Chief Architect of Indian Constitution

  • Professor Amartya Sen, Honorary Fellow LSE and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University
  • Mr Ratan Tata, Honorary Fellow LSE and Former Chairman of Tata Sons
  • Dr IG Patel, Honorary Fellow LSE and Director of LSE 1984-90
  • Mr Shail Anjarai, International Monetary Foundation

  • Mr Kalyan Banerji, World Bank

  • Mr Jyoti Kiran Basu, former Chief Minister of West Bengal

  • Professor Partha Dasgupta, Honorary Fellow LSE and Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge

  • Mr Anthony Desai, Honorary fellow LSE and former Governor of West Bengal

  • Mr Ashok Desai (in memory), Attorney General of India (1996-1998) and Solicitor General of India (1989-1990)

  • Mr Nitin Desai, Honorary Fellow LSE and formerly of the United Nations

  • Dr John Matthai, First Railway Minister (1947-48) and subsequently Finance Minister (1949-50), Government of India

  • Mr VK Krishna Menon, motivator for India League; India's freedom movement

  • Shri Dr KR Narayanan, Honorary Fellow LSE and former President of India

  • Mr Aroon Purie, India Today Group founding Chairman and Editor-in-Chief

  • Dr Manmohan Singh, Honorary Fellow of Asia Research Centre and Former Prime Minister of India

  • Dr Tarlok Singh, Honorary Fellow LSE and India's first High Commissioner in London