Prof. D.N.Rao

D. Narsimha Rao has come to Orissa in the year 1989 from IIM Kolkatta campus to work in the drought prone district of Kalahandi. As a student he visited the district to understand the dynamics of drought. Kalahandi hit the national headlines during that time due to the child selling episodes by the drought stricken. He has joined there as a Young Professional, a scheme started by the Rajiv Gandhi government to attract young professionals to work in the development sector.

Since then, he has worked in length and breadth of Orissa with the government, NGOs like Gram Vikas and institutions like XIM Bhubaneswar. He has left XIMB in 2005, to co-found the Centurion Group of Institutes, which have their base in the naxal infested South Orissa region

  • Prof Narasimha Rao has worked across the core sector in areas of rural development and upliftment. He has been a social advisor on “Project Water” funded by the Indo – Canadian Water Facility.
  • He has also been the social advisor for the study on establishing baseline for the measurement of socio-economic impact of the power sector reforms in Orissa.
  • He has been the Project Leader for the project on Mapping Food insecurity areas and identifying families at risk of starvation. (The project was funded by Hunger Foundation and the client was OSDMA, Government of Orissa).
  • Prof Rao has been the local team leader for the Institutional Analysis and Design study for the “Western Orissa Rural Livelihoods Project” funded by DFID. During the span of 4 years from 1989-1993, he has managed many development projects aimed at improving the incomes of tribals and other poor people in some of the most backward districts of Orissa.
  • Prof. Rao has extensive experience in monitoring and evaluation of development sector projects. He was the head of CENDERET, XIMB for 3 years. CENDERET was a resource support institution which at one time used to channelise development funds from 8 international NGOs for projects in Orissa.
  • Prof. Rao has done consultancy/ worked for the DFID, USAID, World Bank, BfW, CORDAID, ICEF and many other donor funded projects. He has also consulted for many energy services companies such as BSES, Reliance Energy, APTransco, KPTCL and NPCL.
  • He has also provided his expertise for mining companies like BHP, Australia, Continental Resources, CANADA.
  • Prof. Rao has played a major role in coordinating the relief and rehabilitation support after the Super Cyclone in Orissa.
  • He was one of the lead advisors for the micro-privatisation initiative in the power sector in Orissa (partly funded by DFID and partly by BSES), Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and NOIDA. The DFID funded initiative was in the poverty stricken areas of the KBK region. It introduces and works on the concept of community participation in public service delivery mechanism, emanating from the 73rd / 74th Constitution Amendments which was empowering Village Panchayats.
  • Prof. Rao has worked extensively in the areas of access to energy, water and energy nexus, energy efficiency measures, DSM and other demand side issues in rural power supply. He has experience of promoting non grid solutions especially using solar power.
  • Prof Rao was well versed in the local language (Telegu, Oriya) which was an important aspect when dealing with Village Panchayats at the local level.
  • In his present position, he was a co-promoter of the Centurion Group of Institutes which has promoted a host of management and technical institutions in Orissa.

Names of college/Institution, Dates attended
Indian Institute of Management Kolkatta, India, 1987-1989
Osmania University, Hyderabad, India 1983-1987

Degrees Obtained
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) (IIM – Kolkatta)
Bachelor of Engineering (Osmania University)

  • The group believes in using educational institutions as a local social and economic change hub. The institutes engage with the community with a focus on bringing lasting change in the area of social as well as economic development.
  • The group is pioneering a unique large scale skill building venture for school drop outs in naxal infested districts of Orissa. The group has promoted a host of special purpose vehicles aimed at skill building, providing escorting services, rural market access services as well as micro finance ventures.
  • Innovation was the key to all the interventions and the group believes in finding innovative solutions to difficult problems.
Coordinated CENDERET, the development extension wing of XIMB for 3 years
  • CENDERET works in most of the districts of Orissa in Partnership with NGOs and Panchayat representatives. It mainly concentrates on capacity building. Some of the areas of intervention have been Micro Planning, Enterprise promotion, Self Help groups’ promotion, Joint forest Management interventions with focus on community participation.
  • He coordinated many national and international research as well as consultancy assignments.
  • He developed a five stage “empowerment measurement frame work” which was adopted by the NGOs and Mission Shakti of government of Orissa.
  • Worked with Gram Vikas, a leading NGO for four years in two of the most remote tribal regions of Orissa
Micro – Privatization project in rural power distribution
  • Prof was one of the Project Directors on this assignment which was implemented in 4500 villages in Orissa (in some of the most under developed areas of the State) and 4500 panchayats of Karnataka. He coined the term “Gram Vidyut Pratinidhi” and along with other colleagues developed the spade work for the electricity franchising policy in India. The model was now incorporated into the national rural electrification policy
  • The project aims at introduction of performance contracts at the 11 kV feeder level for revenue cycle activity management. The private entrepreneurs will be helped by the Village Electricity Committees in managing the activities at the village level. The project starts with a social intervention and ends in drawing up performance contracts for revenue cycle management at the feeder level.
  • Typically the intervention for any particular feeder takes about 12 months for implementation. In Karnataka, the project was exploring the arrangements in IP set dominated sections.
  • It was also exploring the water-energy nexus in these areas. The intervention was partly funded by the electricity utilities and partly by DFID.
Other relevant experience
  • Joined as a young professional in DRDA, Kalahandi from IIM Kolkatta campus in the year 1989
  • This was a special initiative of the Government of India to improve project management capabilities of the District Rural Development Agencies. Kalahandi hit the national headlines due to the starvation deaths and child selling cases in 1987. The job mandate included developing interventions that would help improve the incomes of poor people in socially deprived conditions and low market development environment.
  • Higher Education Link Coordinator for 3 years for the academic link between university of Wales, Bangor, UK and XIMB.
  • The link’s objective was to promote joint research in the area of self-recording systems for improving productivity in the Indian farming system. The link resulted in a dissemination workshop on the subject.
Names of employing Organization & Title Held
  • Faculty & coordinator, Xavier Institute of Management, 1996 to 2005
  • British Chevening Scholar, Small Business Center, Durham Business School, University of Durham, UK, 1995 to 1996
  • Program manager, Gram Vikas Berhampur, India, 1991 to 1993
  • Addl. Director (Projects), DRDA, Kalahandi, India, 1989 to 1991
  • Attended a 3 month course in University of Durham, UK on Building enterprise – 1995
  • Attended a 9 month course in University of Durham, UK on business incubators – 1995
  • Attended an 8 week course organized by DSE, Berlin Germany on ZOPP (project planning and management) – 1998
  • Attended training organized by CORDAID, Netherlands in Bangkok on monitoring and evaluation of projects – 2001