After joining the IAS in 1958 and holding various assignments in West Bengal, served as Secretary and Chief Executive of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority. In 1985 he joined as first Project Director of the Central Ganga Authority which pioneered a programme to combat pollution in the Ganges river and concurrently as Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment. Became Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development in 1988 and was personally involved in the legislation to amend Constitution to provide a framework for decentralisation and empowerment of rural and urban local bodies. Eventually 73rd and 74th Amendments became part of the Constitution.
After retirement from IAS in 1992, joined the World Bank as Senior Advisor, Urban Management. Since his return in 1996, has been associated with the Centre for Policy Research and the Institute of Social Sciences.
Sivaramakrishnan is also a member of the National Technical Advisory Group for the JNNURM.
In academic sphere, a Parvin Fellow at Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University in 1965, a Visiting Professor & Homi Bhabha Fellow at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 1977 and Senior Lecturer at the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank from 1978 to 1982.
Trained in economics, political science and law, he has authored several books and papers on urban management, decentralization, electoral reforms and environment. His latest book “Revisioning Indian Cities: The Urban Renewal Mission published by Sage was released in August 2011.