Ms Sudha Pillai, Distinguished Fellow, Skoch Development Foundation
She was Member Secretary of the Planning Commission in the rank of Minister of State. The 1972 batch Kerala Cadre IAS officer started her career as Sub-Divisional Magistrate in Thiruvananthapuram. She has Masters degree in Public Administration from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in US. Securing second rank in the IAS exam, she was originally allotted to Punjab cadre. After shifting to Kerala, she learnt Malayalam on the job, with the same passion for not only improving her day to day functioning but for understanding and empathizing with the people of Kerala. She is proficient in French, English, Hindi and Punjabi. At the Centre she has served in the Ministries of Industry and Corporate Affairs, Panchayati Raj and Mines. Before being elevated as Member Secretary Planning Commission, she was Secretary Labour & Employment and Secretary Planning Commission. During 1991, she was closely involved with the reforms agenda of the Government and worked on the amendment to the MRTP Act. She worked on several landmark legislations subsequently – notably – Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas Act 1996, Social Security for the Unorganised Workers 2008. In April 2008 she also introduced a unique smart card based health insurance scheme for BPL workers called RSBY, which has recently been commended in the Budget Speech and extended to NREGA workers.