Interview with Mr D.Dhanuraj, Founding Chairman of Centre for Public Policy Research

Mr D.Dhanuraj started his career as Research Associate in 2003. Over the years, he has been promoted as the Research Team Lead and Research Fellow with acquaintances with Centre for Civil Society, Delhi and Friedrich Naumann Stiftung (FNF). He has handled various social research projects and has extensively travelled across the country to manage the projects on various topics. A proud youth, he has been instrumental in setting up Centre for Public Policy Research owned and managed by youth from diverse backgrounds. His area of expertise includes education institution management, health care management and urban planning and development.  He has associated with different State Governments and International and National NGOs and various corporate houses. Since 2004, Dhanuraj chairs Centre for Public Policy Research ( and recently he has taken over as the Managing Director of Civitas Consultancies Pvt Ltd ( In both the organizations, other than the managerial operations he is heading, research and development is the focus area of work.

His experience in socio economic front is vast. Has written many papers on various socio economic themes like education, livelihood issues and urban poor. Has experience working with both rural and urban environment. Different types of projects have given him the exposure to the various intricate issues on social front.

VP: What was your motivation in establishing an organization based on Research?

Dhanuraj: Research has a huge market untapped in India with umpteen numbers of opportunities. It provided a good platform for networking with various persons and sharing of experiences and thoughts with a larger group of people conversant in their specific areas. The biggest motivation was a result of understanding the need of quality research which can lead to Social development, especially in liberalized economy like India. The realization to set up a unique a model on Research based system was instrumental in setting up of Centre for Public Policy Research.

VP: Why did you choose Policy Research as your career option?

Dhanuraj: Policy determines the pulse of the nation. Through policy research one can engage multitude sections of the people. Policy Research provides the impetus for an entrepreneurial activity. An entrepreneur sets himself into the field with the backing of Market Research which has immense possibilities. The challenge lies in developing an unique model of research which can sustain the flow of ideas which determines an entrepreneur.   But one needs to be selective in Research activities. There is always a critical mass to be leveraged upon. “Research can be the fundamental change agent” Research also comprises of training people which adds a new dimension to one’s outlook as a Research organization where you can live with. I believe in Decentralization of policy Research with significant emphasis on the macro level to be done. Policy Research thus aims in helping ‘people think locally while acting globally’.

VP: What are the Challenges you encountered while running an Organization especially with youth at its helm?

Dhanuraj: It requires Team Buildup especially since it a unique model which needs an unique orientation. You need people thinking in similar lines for developing it to a success model. The real challenges lie ahead in scaling up the operations especially brand building. With significant scope on improvisation, the challenges can be overcome. Youth provides vigour to an organization with umpteen flows of ideas. The organization has been able to grow because of this vigour and capability to overcome all rigours. All the initiatives are youth run and youth oriented, giving them a wide opportunity to expand their horizons. We have regular interns from various colleges who have been able to create a rapport with us easily and shared their energy in social development activities.

VP: What was your learning’s over the years?

Dhanuraj: Through Research one develops new ideas which facilitate further research. The ideas need to be executed. Outcome of a research is an idea which needs a concrete platform to get expressed. Often ideas are very abstract which needs to be converted into real time solutions in accordance to the vision and mission of the Organization.   The primary focus would be on the delivery part. With the vigour of a youth and the passion to learn, most of learning’s could be converted to success stories.

VP: Can you give insight on some of the memorable moments while leading the Organization?

Dhanuraj: It is the satisfaction in building a successful institution with ownership sharing that brings growth to an organization. The Infosys was able to develop this kind of ownership sharing, which has made it a truly global company competing with other majors.

One of the moments which I cherish would be when I was the Host of South Asian Youth Summit inviting the participation of all South Asian countries. I have been one of the Founder Trustee of Liberal Youth Forum (LYF) and been the Secretary General to Liberal Youth South Asia (LYSA) and constantly involving with the Youth of different nations. At the organizational level we were awarded the Change Loomer for the year 2007-08, a venture for the change makers jointly organised by Ashoka and Pravah in India.

VP: Do you believe in Role Models and who will that be?

Dhanuraj: Indeed Role models are important for every youth. My parents are my role models

VP: What are the Future plans on the personal level as the Chairman of the Organization?

Dhanuraj: To become a highly successful Social Entrepreneur bringing change to the Country. Making the organization grow into as a Rs. 100 Million Company.

VP: What is your message for today’s youth?

Dhanuraj: The youth needs to Build up and arise to the nations demand.  There is an imminent need to tap the intellectual capabilities of today’s youth by providing the right orientation and direction.

Compiled by:

Madhu S