About Us

The xSDG Initiative by the Belongg Research Collective aims to promote truly intersectional achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About Belongg

Belongg is a social venture that offers discrimination-free services to people who otherwise face discrimination due to their identity based on caste, gender, religion, disability, sexuality, immigration etc. We run community-driven initiatives through the following services:

  1. Belongg Literature Collective: Anchors a pan-India network of library chapters that focus on literature focussed on themes of identities
  2. Belongg Research Collective: A multi-disciplinary network of researchers whose research focus on different aspects of identities and discrimination
  3. Belongg Circle: Curates intersectional experts for social domain fields to increase representation of traditionally excluded groups
  4. Belongg Mental Health: Curates resources on the intersection of identity and mental health.

About xSDG

The xSDG Initiative (or Intersectional SDG Initiative) by the Belongg Research Collective aims to focus on intersectional inclusion and diversity in global Sustainable Development Goals related initiatives. The UN SDG framework and its 17 goals are an important organizing approach that underpin a large fraction of development-oriented activity across the globe. While Goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) do focus on intersectional themes of identity and representation, Belongg believes that intersectional thinking linked to gender, caste, disability, religion and so on, needs to be much more deeply integrated in the overall SDG approach. Not doing so neglects important realities of how people have significantly different experiences on account of their identity in ways that inhibit their growth and achievement of the SDG goals.

The xSDG Initiative aims to address such blindspots through creating an active dialogue around the need for intersectional thinking in SDG-related development, curating knowledge and research to promote such intersectional thinking and programming, and creating a community of researchers interested in these topics.


Rakesh Basant

Professor & Economist

Professor Rakesh Basant is Professor of Economics and JSW Professor of Innovation at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). He was a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s High-Level Committee (also known as Sachar Committee) that wrote a report on the Social, Economic and Educational Conditions of Muslims in India. In continuation of this work, part of current research focuses on issues relating to caste and religion in India, especially affirmative action in higher education.

He was also the Recipient of the Ford Foundation Post doctoral Fellowship in Economics and spent two years at the Economic Growth Center, Yale University, USA as a Visiting Research Fellow. He has also worked as a consultant to several international organizations including the World Bank and the UN.

Sukhadeo Thorat

Professor & Economist

Sukhadeo Thorat is an economist and was the former chairman of the University Grants Commission of India. He is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has received several awards for public service for marginalized groups, minorities and education such as the Padmashree Award, the Mother Teresa International Award, the Dr. Ambedkar Chetna Award, the Bharat Shiromani Award, the Purushottam Award, and the Vidyalankara Award.

Professor Thorat has done extensive research, publishing about 20 books and more than 100 papers. His research focuses on problems of excluded groups, socially inclusive growth, poverty, agricultural growth in dry agriculture, caste and economic discrimination, labour market discrimination, impact of economic discrimination on the poverty and marginalization, economic ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar, and higher education.

Our team

Nirat Bhatnagar


Nirat is the founder of Belongg and has deep experience in social innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategy. In addition to Belongg, he is also a Partner at Dalberg Advisors where he focuses on strategic questions in water, sanitation, and agriculture. He is also the founder of The Slow School a venture that focuses on self-reflection and “inner work”. He studied at IIT Kharagpur & IIM Bangalore and spent several years in management consulting and technology entrepreneurship before following his heart into the world of social innovation.

Muda Tariq


Muda graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. She is passionate about working on the intersections of gender, human rights, and conflict. She is also a fellow at the LedBy Foundation and the EU-funded ALLY Project.

Amiya Chaudhuri


Amiya Amiya holds a B.A. (Research) degree from Shiv Nadar University, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Economics. Passionate about researching on sustainable and equitable cities, and advocating against patriarchy and caste discrimination, she strongly believes in passing the mic to communities to tell their own stories. She has previously served as an AIF Clinton Fellow with Prajwala Sangham, worked with Timbaktu Collective and the Young Leader’s Initiative, and has conducted ethnographic research projects on caste in the city.


We already have researchers from leading institutions in India engaging with the Collective and are inviting researchers and professionals from Indian and international organizations to partner with us.