Somya Sethuraman

External Consultant | ssethuraman at iihs dot ac dot in


2009   MSc, Economics, Madras School of Economics, Anna University, Chennai

2006   BA (Hons), Economics, Hansraj College, Delhi University, Delhi




Countries: India
States: Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Punjab
Cities: Chennai
Languages: English, Hindi, Tamil

Somya is an External Consultant for the Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme at IIHS. She has over seven years of experience in the water and sanitation sector.


In the early stages of her career, Somya’s research for Transparent Chennai on public toilets was recognised well by policymakers and she was appointed as a member of the Steering Sub-Committee for the 12th Five Year Plan, Urban Water Supply and Sanitation, Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission. She later served as the sanitation specialist for the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration, Tamil Nadu and was responsible for the implementation of a flagship programme of the Government of Tamil Nadu called ‘Namma Toilet’. It was recognised by the Government of India as the national best practice for its inclusive and user-centric design of public/community toilets. Somya has also worked for the Institute for Financial Management and Research, Water and Sanitation Program (World Bank) and IIT-Madras.


She is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and has performed extensively in India.

Other Writing

  • Sethuraman, S. (2019, April 5). India urgently needs safer sanitation solutions. The Wire.
  • Sethuraman, S. (2016, January 16). Swachh bharat in action: Communities drive the sanitation revolution in Chhattisgarh. Swarajya.
  • Sethuraman, S. (2015, May 19). Here’s the secret behind Rajasthan’s sanitation revolution. The Wire.
  • Sethuraman, S. (2013, April 26). Tamil Nadu flush with pride. The Hindu.
  • Sethuraman, S. (2012, April 27). Nation In a State: The story of missing toilets. The Hindu.
  • Sethuraman, S. (2012). Urban sanitation in Tamil Nadu: A report on public conveniences. Chenani: IFMR, Centre for development finance.
  • Symposium on Toilet Design and Material, Government of Tamil Nadu
  • School Sanitation Workshop, Government of Tamil Nadu in collaboration with GIZ
  • National Workshop on Urban Sanitation, Chennai
  • India Urban Conference, Mysore, 2011
  • Gender and Essential Services in low-income communities, Third International Conference on Women’s Safety – Building Inclusive Cities, Delhi