Shri Amitabh Kant
CEO, NITI Aayog
Mr. Amitabh Kant serves as the Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog. He is a member of the Indian Administrative Service, Kerala Cadre, 1980 batch. He has authored Branding India: An Incredible Story (2009) and Incredible India 2.0: Synergies of Growth and Governance (2019) and edited The Path Ahead: Transformative Ideas for India (2018).
Mr. Kant has been a key driver of award-winning initiatives, such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Incredible India’, and ‘God’s Own Country’, that have positioned India and the state of Kerala as leading manufacturing and tourist destinations. He has conceptualized the ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ (or the Guest is God) campaign to train taxi drivers, guides, and immigration officials as stakeholders in the tourism development process. In his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India, Mr. Kant drove the Ease-of-Doing Business initiative, which led to the emergence of state-specific rankings. What started as a national-level exercise, is today being emulated by some states to rank their own districts. Mr. Kant has previously worked as CMD, ITDC; Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism; Secretary (Tourism), Government of Kerala; Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation; District Collector, Kozhikode; and Managing Director, Matsyafed. During his tenure in Kerala, he structured the Calicut Airport as a private sector project and developed the BSES Power Project and Mattancherry Bridge under the private-public partnership. He also introduced new technology (fiberglass crafts and outboard motor) in the fisheries sector and launched beach-level auctions that substantially enhanced returns to traditional fishermen.
At NITI Aayog, Mr. Kant is driving the Aspirational Districts Program, which has succeeded in improving the socio-economic outcomes in some of the most backward districts of the country through a mix of data-based governance, competitive federalism, and collaborations. Mr. Kant is the Chairman of Empowered Group 3, one of the 11 such groups constituted by the Government of India to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group worked with the private sector, NGOs, and international for pandemic management activities, including the management of international aid. He has been at the helm of driving various other national-level initiatives such as Asset Monetization, National Mission for Transformative Mobility among others. A proponent of competitive federalism, Mr. Kant has driven exercises for state and district level ranks across a variety of indicators.
Mr. Kant is the recipient of the Economic Times Policy Change Agent of the Year Award, the Bloomberg TV Personality of the Year Award, the NDTV Administrator of the Year Award, the One Globe Award, 2016, for Leadership in Transforming Governance in the 21st century, and the Golden Peacock Award for Leadership in Economic Transformation, 2017. He was also awarded the Distinguished Fellowship of the Institute of Directors. India Today, in its 45th Anniversary special issue, featured Mr. Kant as one of the 45 celebrated Indians. He was listed as one of the world's 50 most influential people revolutionizing governance by Apolitical, a global government learning platform. He is a Member of the Steering Board of “Shaping the Future of Production Systems” of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and is a Champion of the EDISON Alliance of WEF.
Mr. Kant has done his schooling from Modern School, New Delhi; graduated in Economics (Hons) from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University; and MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a Chevening Scholar. He is the recipient of the Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.