Dr. Janhavi Nilekani, Founder and Chairperson of Aastar

Dr. Janhavi Nilekani


Janhavi is a development economist by training and now works in the field of maternal health. She has a background in academic research in environmental and development economics, with a particular focus on air pollution. Janhavi is a 2018 alumna of Harvard where she completed her PhD in Public Policy, and holds a 2010 BA, cum laude, in Economics and International Studies from Yale.

Janhavi’s personal experience with childbirth in India left her feeling very disempowered and disappointed in the current birthing process. It brought to light the pitifully minimal standard of maternal care in the country, and deeply inspired Janhavi to instigate change. Coming from a well-respected, socially minded family of entrepreneurs, Janhavi founded Aastrika, an initiative of Nilekani Philanthropies.

Contact: janhavi@aastrika.org

Shray Chandra is a strategic advisor to Aastar as a Director of the Board.

Shray Chandra


Shray is a strategic advisor to Aastrika as a Director of the Board. He is a Finance Director at Capitalmind, a Bangalore based investment research and wealth management start-up. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has completed his B.S in Computer Science-Mathematics, Economics from Yale University.

As Director, Nirmala Narasimmaiah handles every aspect of Finance and Operations at Aastar.

Nirmala Narasimmaiah


As Director, Nirmala handles every aspect of Finance and Operations. She comes with 17 years of rich experience in corporate and non-profit finance, and holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance. Previously, she was Head of Finance at Greenpeace India and a Senior Manager at Arghyam.

Contact: nirmala@aastrika.org

Lakshmi Viswanatha

Lakshmi Viswanatha


Lakshmi is part of the team working on a collaborative digital platform to support capacity building activities within maternal health. An alumnus of the Tata Institute of Social Work (TISS), she has been working in the field of health for over a decade. She has been deeply involved in understanding the complexities of health, gender & equity and the intersectionalities in this realm. She has worked on various projects funded by international donors like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, etc.

Srinivas Seshadri

Srinivas Seshadri


A serial entrepreneur and an IT professional with over 25 years of experience, Srini currently works with a host of young startups, helping them through the various stages of venture building.

Srini has been the co-founder of Injoos and Kineticglue which have had successful exits to BMC Software. He is also a core member of the founding team of Edgeverve – the product subsidiary of Infosys.

Srini is driven by impact and scale and is an engineer at heart who loves to solve problems.  He believes in using technology to solve real life problems. In his spare time, he is also learning the tricky business of agriculture.

Jyoti Baghel

Jyoti Baghel


Jyoti is a Public Health Professional. She has spent the last 6 years in various of roles with both Government and international NGOs as well as private organizations.

Jyoti is an alumnus of TISS, Mumbai and has worked as a Consultant at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Delhi taking charge of monitoring, evaluation and supportive supervision of
various health programs running under the Government of India.

She was also a key member in conceptualizing national guidelines for Comprehensive Abortion
Care, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, Anemia Mukt Bharat, JSSK Dietery Norms and LaQshya.

Saagerika Kathpalia


Saagerika is an alumnus of the Centre of Health and Mental Health, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai. With a passion to work for people, she stepped into the social sector with more than 900 hours of fieldwork and a deep understanding of the intersections of mental health, health, marginalization and gender. She is a Shikshakalp fellow and had been previously immersed in research and social work praxis in the field of mental health and gender. She firmly believes in the advocacy of rights based and anti-oppressive approach to maternal health.

Manasa Bharadwaj

Manasa Bharadwaj


Manasa is a Commerce Graduate and a pursuing CA with experience in the social sector. She has around 5+ years of experience in Accounting, Finance and Taxation. Learning new things and constantly reinventing oneself by useful new things coming along the way is what gives her immense motivation. Prior to Aastrika she was a part of Give Foundation’s finance team.

Dirisinala Adinarayana

Dirisinala Adinarayana


Adinarayana is in charge of housekeeping, meeting arrangements, building maintenance, office supplies etc. and supports the entire office and team functions. He is a keen and enthusiastic learner.

Philanthropic Advisors

Rohini and Nandan Nilekani serve as advisors to Aastar and bring a wealth of experience and thought leadership.

Philanthropic Advisors

Rohini & Nandan Nilekani

Rohini and Nandan Nilekani serve as advisors to Aastrika and bring a wealth of experience and thought leadership. They support key decision making and provide valuable strategic counsel and mentorship.

Rohini Nilekani is the Chairperson of Arghyam, a foundation she set up to work on safe, sustainable water. She was the Co-Founder of Pratham Books which she set up in 2004, to democratize the joy of reading for children. Nandan is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Infosys Technologies Limited. He was the Founding Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the rank of a Cabinet Minister from 2009 – 2014.

Most recently, Nandan and Rohini co-founded EkStep, a not-for-profit effort to create a learner centric, technology based platform to improve basic literacy and numeracy for millions of children.

Pregnant lady - graphic


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