Nagarajan Vittal (born 31 January 1938) is an Indian civil servant, who has held a number of senior positions in the Government of India, most prominently that of Central Vigilance Commissioner. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, in 2012.
Early life and education
A Thanjavur Maharashtrian, he was born in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, and was educated in Tiruchirapalli and Madras (now Chennai), graduating with a BSc (Hons.) in Chemistry from Loyola College in 1958. After a short time as a lecturer in Jamal Mohamed College, Tiruchirapalli, he joined the Indian Administrative Service on 16 May 1960, and was allotted to the Gujarat Cadre.
Vittal was part of the Indian Administrative Service's 1960 intake. In his career of more than 35 years, he has held a number of positions at the State Government and Central Government level, primarily in the fields of industrial administration, science and technology, and security, as well posts within public-private sector joint enterprises.
He worked as Development Commissioner tasked with reviving the Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone, for the Department of Commerce for the Government of India. For the Gujarat State government he served as Industries Commissioner, in which post he was responsible for Gujarat becoming the first state in the country to be fully covered with District Industries Centres;[clarification needed] setting up the single window service for industry promotion bureau (IndexTB) which was adopted later by other states; and setting up the Entrepreneurship Development Centre. He later served as Food and Civil Supplies Secretary, setting up the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation; Chairman of the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation; and Health and Family Welfare Secretary. He then served as Managing Director of Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers Company (GNFC), overseeing its emergence not only as an efficient business enterprise but also as a model for what a public sector body can do to spur development in poor areas. GNFC was a zero pollution plant. before returning to the Gujarat State government to serve as Additional Chief Secretary (Home), where he initiated proposals for setting up the Gujarat Police Housing Corporation.
From there he switched to positions working for the Government of India, serving as Additional Secretary at the Department of Atomic Energy, then Secretary at the Department of Electronics, where he initiated policies for boosting software, setting up software technology parks and strategic alliances with the industry. He made the Department of Electronics a frontrunner in adjusting to the new industry-friendly policy, encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from IBM, Motorola and others, and expanding the technology park scheme for electronic hardware, creating special economic zones around India. He then became Chairman of the Telecoms Commission, where he initiated the process of liberalisation in the telecom sector and played a key role in delivering the National Telecom Policy of 1994, and Secretary at the Department of Telecommunications. He followed this with a stint as Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board, where he initiated measures for greater transparency and speed in the functioning of the PESB, and also headed the Committee on Guidelines for the Public Sector (1997), under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry, Department of Public Enterprises, which resulted in the cancellation of 696 obsolete guidelines hampering the autonomy of the PSEs. His final post was Central Vigilance Commissioner.
Over the course of his career he has also been the Chairman of many committees, expert groups and task forces, including:
- Expert Group on IT in Government, Department of Personnel, Government of India
- Task Force on Technology Exports, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India
- Task Force on Telecom and Information Technology, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry
- Expert Committee on Tamil Nadu Institute of Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu.
He attended the 1989 Fall Senior Executives Programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States.
Awards and honours
N. Vittal received the Padma Bhushan in 2012. Among other honors, he received the following:
- Honorary Fellow, Computer Society of India (1992)
- Honorary Fellow of the IETE
- Citation of gratitude from Electronic Component Industry Association (ELCINA), New Delhi
- Dataquest IT Man of the Year 1993
- Honorary Fellow, Asia Electronics Union (1995)
- Honorary Fellow, Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (1997)
- The hidden talent of India award by the Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) International, a UN Status Category I NGO
- The Great Son of the Soil Award 1998 by All India Conference of Intellectuals
- For the Sake of Honour, Rotary's highest Award (April 1999)
- Honorary Member, Indian Institute of Industrial Engineering (December 1999)
- Honour of "Desa Seva Ratnam", conferred by Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam (April 2001)
- H H Sri Paramacharya Man of the Year Award (2000), awarded by the Centenarian Trust, Chennai. (April 2001)
- V Krishnamurthy Award For Excellence (June 2001) – by the Centre for Organisation Development, Hyderabad
- Giants International Award for public administration (September 2001)
Great Maratha Award for Lifetime achievement by The Maharashtra Association, Chennai (2005)
- Tamil Nadu Governor Late Dr M Chenna Reddy Award (March 2002) for outstanding service by Federation of Doctors, Hospitals & Health Care
- Included in the list of "Fifty men and women who shaped the economy" in the fifty years after India’s independence by the Business Today magazine (August 1997)
Personal life and interests
Married, he has a son and a daughter. Interested in reading, writing, classical South Indian music and long walks.
He is actively interested in management and cultural activities and has membership in the following social / cultural / professional associations: –
- President (1994–1997) Loyola Alumni Association (North India Chapter), New Delhi
- President (1991–1997) Shri Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, New Delhi
- Member (1991–1998) Board of Governors, Academy of Human Resource Development, Ahmedabad
Books and publications
Widely traveled, he is also interested in application of management principles in organisation in the public and private sector. He has written more than 400 articles on various subjects relating to management, public relations, human resources development, management of technology, public sector management and so on, in many journals and magazines. These include Economic and Political Weekly, The Financial Express, The Times of India, Business India, and the Journals of the IIMA, LBS National Academy of Administration, HCPS, RIPA, IIFT and others. He is a regular columnist for The Economic Times and the Web magazine "Rediff on the Net."
Books written by him include:
- India Incorporated: Reflections on the Indian Electronics Industry (1994)
- The Vicious Cycle of Vittal's Law (1994)
- The Red Tape Guerrilla (1995)
- Fighting Corruption and Restructuring Government (2000)
- Public Sector Management & Governance (2001) – with S. Mahalingam
- Information Technology: India's Tomorrow (2001)
- Ideas for Action (2002)
- Vittal’s Vital Management Mantra (2004)
- Maharastrians in Tamil Nadu (2004)
- Musings on Governance, Governing and Corruption (2004)
- Technology and a Vision for the future (2004)
- More musings on Governance, Governing and Corruption (2005)
- Roots of Effective Governance (2007)
- Corruption in India : The Road block for national prosperity (2002)
- Roots of effective governance (2007)
He also edited Export Processing Zones in Asia -Some Dimensions, published by the Asian Productivity Organization in 1977.