Priyadarshini Singh is a Fellow at CPR and part of the core team of the State Capacities Initiative (SCI), engaged in setting-up the initiative. Her current research portfolio includes conceptualisation and development of case studies on 'success stories' in public interest initiatives of the Indian state. She is additionally working with the team on a study of the Moral Economy of the Indian Bureaucracy.
Singh has worked across consulting, public policy, and academia in India and the UK. She was part of the Social Sector team at PwC India, where she conceptualised and managed projects on public health, nutrition, and gender. Her projects included strategy development for community mobilisation for the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, review of recruitment of frontline health workers in India, design support for strengthening primary health care systems in Sri Lanka, gender mainstreaming in government’s agricultural strengthening programme in Bihar, and development of an institutional design for a national-level institute on social norms for United Nations officials. While at the Center for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) at Ashoka University, she conceptualised and managed projects on legal and regulatory reforms for civil society in India. She was also leading the technology and civil society workstream at CSIP. During her time at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi, she worked on energy security in India. She authored commentaries on non-traditional sources of energy security in India and on the geopolitics of energy sources in the Arctic. Singh co-authored a report on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. The report was part of the training material at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LABASNA), Shimla. She managed the Bihar section for the Comparative Electoral Ethnography (CEE) project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK. She was based in Bhagalpur and researched the meanings and practices around voting during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Her report is published in the book Why India Votes? M. Banerjee (Routledge, 2014).
Singh holds a PhD from SOAS, University of London where she was a Felix Scholar. In her doctoral thesis titled, ‘Nation-Making at the Grassroots: Meanings of Indian Nationhood and the Role of Political Practices’, she examined the meanings of the idea of a ‘nation’ at the grassroots in India and the role played by political practices of voting and political discussions undertaken by non-elites in shaping grassroots nationhood in India. Based on 12 months of fieldwork conducted across rural and urban sites in Rajasthan and Karnataka, and drawing from everyday nationalism literature from a range of country contexts, Singh problematises the binaries of ‘ethnic’ and ‘civic’ which are frequently used in understanding nationalism in academic and popular writings. She also brings to light the conceptual confusion around the ideas of nation, nationalism, national identity and nationhood, and the limited exploration of the role of non-elites in imagining the idea of a ‘nation’. She completed her MA from JNU in International Relations and received the J C Tandon scholarship for the highest CGPA in the first year of the programme.