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Yugantar was established in 1980 under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960. It was formed as a resource group to develop and provide communication material for creating awareness and for capacity building in the development sector.

The founding members were, M.S. Sathyu, Deepa Dhanraj, Amukta Apparao, Shama Zaidi, Gowri Shankar, Pervez Merwanji, and Manohar Prabhu.

From 1981-83, Yugantar established a film production centre and produced a number of films for use by NGOs. Notable among them were "Molkarin", "Tambaku Chakila Oob Aali" and "Idhi Katha Maathramena?" on domestic servants, beedi workers, and on domestic violence made in Kannada, Marathi and Telugu respectively. Yugantar also held a number of seminars and workshops with NGOs in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on the use of film and audio-visual material for development work.

In 1990, ThinkSoft was established in Hyderabad as a consultancy, for-profit organization that worked on a variety of development issues. The core team in Thinksoft included a set of individuals who were committed to working on issues of development and democracy. There were several collaborations between Yugantar and ThinkSoft on areas of common interest during this period. Over the years, there was a need felt among the core group members of ThinkSoft to engage more actively in not-for-profit research and advocacy projects, and move away from for-profit consultancy.

In 2004, the informal relationship between Yugantar and ThinkSoft was formalized. Several individuals from the core group of ThinkSoft joined Yugantar leading to the revival of Yugantar and expansion of its activities. A new Board was constituted with Ms. Deepa Dhanraj continuing as Secretary and Mr. Sashi Kumar as Executive Director.

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