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Naresh Chandra Saxena Former Secretary, Planning Commission in 2002

Naresh Chandra Saxena is a former IAS officer. Topper of his batch (1964) in the IAS, Dr Saxena retired as Secretary, Planning Commission, in 2002. He also worked as Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development (1997–1999) in the Government of India (GOI). During 1993–1996, he was Director, National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. On behalf of the Supreme Court of India, Dr Saxena monitored hunger-based programmes in India from 2001 to 2017. He has chaired several government committees, such as ‘Women’s Land Rights’, ‘Identification of Poor Families’, ‘Implementation of Forest Rights Act’, ‘Joint Review Mission on Elementary Education’ and ‘Bauxite Mining in Orissa’. Currently, he advises GOI on rural sanitation.

He has been a member of the National Advisory Council set up by the UPA government. He headed a Planning Commission panel on rural poor and recommended a rank-based system including automatic inclusion and exclusion of poor families. On 16 August 2010, a committee headed by him warned that plans by Vedanta Resources to mine on Dongria Kondh land in Eastern India threaten the survival of the tribe. This led to the Indian government refusing clearance to the project.

Dr Saxena did his Doctorate in Forestry from the Oxford University in 1992. He was awarded honorary PhD from the University of East Anglia (UK) in 2006. He was a Visiting Professor to Regional Community Forestry Training Centre, Bangkok, 1993–1998, and Member, Governing Council, ADB Institute, Tokyo, 2002–2004. His articles on bureaucracy and governance are prolifically published in Business Standard, Economic and Political Weekly, The Print, The Quint, The Wire, and so on.