Development Alternatives (DA), the world's first social enterprise dedicated to sustainable development, is a research and action organisation striving to deliver socially equitable, environmentally sound and economically scalable development outcomes. Our green technology innovations for habitat, water, energy and waste management, which deliver basic needs and generate sustainable livelihoods, have reduced poverty and rejuvenated natural ecosystems in the most backward regions of India.

Our Mission

To create models that generate sustainable livelihoods in large numbers

Our Vision

A world where every citizen can live a secure, healthy and fulfilling life, in harmony with nature

Our History

  1. 1982


    May 15, 1982

    The U.S. Supreme Court hands down a unanimous 9-0 decision in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, opening the door for the civil rights movement and ultimately racial integration in all aspects of U.S. society. In overturning Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the court rules that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”


    TARA Balram Mud Block Press launched

    Feb 11, 1984

    The U.S. Supreme Court hands down a unanimous 9-0 decision in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, opening the door for the civil rights movement and ultimately racial integration in all aspects of U.S. society. In overturning Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the court rules that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”


    Tara Chulha 101 launched

    July 19, 1986

    The U.S. Supreme Court hands down a unanimous 9-0 decision in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, opening the door for the civil rights movement and ultimately racial integration in all aspects of U.S. society. In overturning Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the court rules that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

    • 1987
      First 100% Earth-based urban building - DA Headquaters
    • 1989
      Tara loom enters market
    • 1991
      Became founding member of Climate Action Network South Asia, TARA handmade paper launched
    • 1992
      UNEP Global 500 Award
    • 1994
      Aqua check vial & Jal-TARA water testing kit launched
    • 1995
      TARAgram Livelihood Resource Centre in Bundelkhand
    • 1996
      DESI Power - India’s first biomass gasifier-based power plant set up, CLEAN-India programme initiated
    • 1997
      TARA MCR Tech. inaugurated 100 check dams in Bundelkhand, Jal-TARA filter invented
    • 1998
      VSBK-TARA EcoKiln launched
    • 2000
      Pawan-TARA air-monitoring kit in market
    • 2001
      PACS - largest civil society support programme implemented
    • 2002
      TARA soil testing kit launched
      The United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize
      Building Materials & Services Bank, Odisha set up
    • 2005
      Dr Ashok Khosla became the President of Club of Rome
      Fly Ash Brick Tech. package created
      TARA BrickMek Tech. unveiled
      TARA Karigar Mandal launched
    • 2006
      SOE Atlas for India published
    • 2007
      Rural Housing Policy for Gol
      New DA green headquarter
      Rural Climate Change Action in place
    • 2008
      Dr Ashok Khosla became the President of IUCN
      Radio Bundelkhand established
      TARA Akshar-+ literates 50,000 people
      The Order of the British Empire (OBE)
    • 2010
      First TARAgram Yatra
      Hamara Gaon — Integrated Village Development programme launched
    • 2011
      The Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal at Buckingham Palace
      Shubh Kal - climate communication action programme initiated
    • 2012
      200 check dams built in Bundelkhand
    • 2013
      First trialogue 2047
    • 2014
      Started community-based water services delivery in Bundelkhand
    • 2015
      TARA Urja - mini-grids in UP and Bihar launched
      CELAMeD launched
    • 2016
      DA becomes India Country Hub Member of Green Economy Coalition
      UNEP Science-Policy Lifetime Award
    • 2017
      IMEDF became nodal agency for the Ministry of MSME’s SFURTI scheme
    • 2018
      MoU with One UN for partnership in UN programmes in India
    • 2019
      UdyaME enterprise information network started
      Bridge2Naukri, youth employment portal inaugurated
      Good Practice Award by World Bank Impact Portfolio
    • 2020
      Agreement on carbon neutrality in construction sector with Bihar Govt.
    • 2021
      First trial of LC3 in west Rajasthan
      2,50,000 women became literate through TARA Akshar+
      SAM-Udyam launched at Livelihoods India Summit 2021
      UN SDG Good Practices 2021 award
    • 2022
      MoU with JK Cement to decarbonize cement production
      LC3 goes global with our interventions in Thailand, Fiji, & Malawi
      Common Wealth Award for Good Education Practice


The Governing Council is primarily responsible for an overall policy formulation and ensuring statutory compliance. They bring to the organisation systems thinking, institutional development, planning and management, legal and financial, gender and social issues, natural resources and environment, social enterprise and business expertise and experience.

Dr Ashok Khosla

Dr Ashok Khosla
Chairman, Development Alternatives

For nearly five decades, Dr Ashok Khosla has been a pioneer in finding paths for development whose benefits reach everyone and can be sustained by the Earth’s resources. He has been Co-Chair of the UN’s International Resource Panel, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and President of the Club of Rome. He was a member of the Government of India’s National Security Advisory Board and Scientific Advisory Council to the Cabinet. For his contribution, he was awarded the OBE by the UK Government, the UN Sasakawa Environment Prize, and the Zayed International Environment Prize, among others.

Prof. Ravinder Kaur

Prof. Ravinder Kaur
Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

She serves as a Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Her core specialisation includes Sociological Theory (Classical and Contemporary), Sociology of Gender, Development, Urban Social Systems, Technology and Society, Kinship, Family, and Marriage studies. She has also worked as a consultant for various national and international organisations such as the World Bank, UNDP, and UNFPA.

Prof. Amitabh Kundu

Prof. Amitabh Kundu
Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Distinguished Fellow at Research and Information System for Developing Countries, he chairs the Standing Committee for the National Survey for the Swatch Bharat Mission at the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. He has chaired Committees on Housing Start up Index at RBI and Committee to Estimate Shortage of Affordable Housing, and Post Sachar Evaluation Committee, Govt of India. He has been Regional Advisor on Poverty at the UN, Professor and Dean at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a member of National Statistical Commission, Govt of India. He was the Director at the National Institute of Urban Affairs, Indian Council of Social Science Research, and Gujarat Institute of Development Research.

Ms Gita Sidhartha

Ms Gita Sidhartha
Former Chairperson, Indian Council for Child Welfare

As President and Secretary General of the Indian Council for Child Welfare for nearly 30 years, she has implemented programmes that cover a gamut of concerns in every state of India. She has overseen and promoted programmes covering street and working children, child labour, children of sex workers, malnutrition, among others. She has played a pivotal role in advocating for the rights of children and articulated plans for their welfare and development.

Mr Mathew Cherian

Mr Mathew Cherian
Chairperson, CARE India

A graduate in engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani and the Institute of Rural Management, Anand. He has worked for four decades in the social sector. He has served as Director of Oxfam in India, Charities Aid Foundation, and has been Chief Executive of HelpAge. He served on the Board of HelpAge International in London and is a Member of India’s highest body - National Council of Senior Citizens and is the current Chair of Empowered Committee of Government of India on Elderly Start-ups. He is now the Global Ambassador for Ageing with HelpAge International. A speaker at the World Economic Forum (WEF), he is on the Global Council for Ageing and Longevity with WEF. Currently, he officiates as Chairperson of CARE India.

Lt Gen. Arun Kumar S

Lt Gen. Arun Kumar S
Former General Officer Commanding in Chief, Indian Army

A second generation and decorated soldier, he was superannuated as Commander in Chief of an Army Command on India’s Western borders. He was a recipient of the Sword of Honour and President’s Gold Medal on commissioning, for standing first in order of merit. Over a career spanning 40 years, he has served in most of the active and challenging operational environments in India and abroad. Presently ‘pro bono’, he is mentoring startups in the domain of cyber, robotics, and AI and steers an environmental policy group, COR – India. He is a Distinguished Fellow with two premier ‘think tanks’ in Delhi, the USI and CLAWS and on the Board of Governors of the prestigious ‘India Foundation’.

Mr Salman Haidar

Mr Salman Haidar
Former Foreign Secretary, International Relations

He is a former Foreign Secretary and has served as the Indian Ambassador to many countries including the United Kingdom, China, and Bhutan. He has also served as head of the Diplomatic Service, Secretary East, and spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, and later chief of protocol, among other diplomatic positions. In 1977–80, he was the Minister/Deputy Permanent Representative of India at the UN in New York.

Mr Shrashtant Patara

Mr Shrashtant Patara
CEO, Development Alternatives (DA) & Executive Vice President, DA Group

ShrashtantPatara is an architect by training. He has been with the Development Alternatives Group since 1988, providing research expertise, management capability, and strategic direction to teams working in the areas of Entrepreneurship Support Systems, Habitat, Renewable Energy and Waste-to-Wealth initiatives. His current work is focussed on systems change, social innovation, and entrepreneurship, resulting in the co-creation of multi-stakeholder-based service delivery models that promote sustainability through local economic development, regeneration of the environment, and greater social equity. Patara is a Fellow of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Global Programme on Social Innovation and has completed a programme on Leadership for System Change conducted by Harvard Kennedy School in conjunction with the Schwab Foundation. Patara has been instrumental in the establishment of several social businesses within the Development Alternatives Group and currently leads the team that is incubating ‘TARAurja’, a renewable energy-based micro-utility business and the Indian Micro Enterprises Development Foundation.

Mr Lalit Mansingh

Mr Lalit Mansingh
Former Foreign Secretary, International Relations

A former Indian Diplomat, Mansingh has more than 40 years of extensive international experience across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is also a former foreign secretary. He has served as the Indian Ambassador to the United States and the United Arab Emirates and as India’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom and Nigeria. Mansingh has dedicated his career to promoting India and its role in the global marketplace. He is also the chairman of Kalinga International Foundation, a national think tank focusing on India’s relations with Indo-Pacific.

Our Team


Development Alternatives was set up in 1982. The Society for Development Alternatives is registered as a not-for-profit society under the Society Registration Act. XXI of 1860 (Reg. No. 12964). Also, it is registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA Reg. No. 231650202).