School of Social and Political Science

Manabika Mandal

Job Title

PhD Student

Research interests


I am an energy policy researcher, with an interest in understanding what energy access programs do for internally displaced people in northeast India.

India currently carries one of the highest rates of internal displacement worldwide, as a result of natural disasters, climate change and, now, COVID-19. Displacement events have come to disproportionately affect the northeast of India along the banks of the Brahmaputra river, where the combined effects of flooding, riverbank erosion, are having severe social and economic impact. As state and non-state agencies address these challenges, much emphasis has been placed on ensuring that internally displaced people have access to electricity, raising multiple questions about the politics and impacts of these efforts. Against this backdrop, programmes aimed at increasing access to electricity produce unequal outcomes; with populations in low-lying areas –– often most vulnerable to internal displacement –– remaining unconnected and disenfranchised.

My PhD research aims to research and document the state of electricity access programs in these areas. Prior to this, I worked with Prayas (Energy Group), a leading energy policy research and advocacy group in India, with a public interest perspective. At Prayas, my research focused on studying financial viability of public electricity distribution utilities to ensure quality supply to marginalised consumers. Through this work, I have attended public hearings, interacted closely with regulatory commissions, utility workers and civil society organisations. I have also written in journals such as the Economic & Political Weekly, in newspapers such as The Hindu.


Dr Jamie Cross, Dr Juli Huang

  • 2014-2016: M.A. in Regulatory Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
  • 2011-2014: B.A. hons in Economics, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India
Awards and Scholarships
  • 2021: ESRC Studentship award from the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science


Works within