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Selection Committee - 2008

Mr. J.C.Sharma (Co-Chair)

Former Secretary (Policy Planning, Consular & Diaspora)
Ministry Of External Affairs

A truly multi-facet personality, Mr. J C Sharma has outstanding achievements as a solider, diplomat and scholar. He began his professional career as a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army (1967-72) and was awarded the "Sena Medal" for Gallantry in 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Mr Sharma joined the elite Indian Foreign Service in 1972 and has served as First Secretary (Consular & Political) and First Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Embassies in Tokyo and Jakarta respectively. He gave a new direction to India's commercial relations with Indonesia. Most of the Indian joint ventures in Indonesia were established during his tenure. Indian promoters greatly appreciated valuable advice and support extended by him as First Secretary (Commercial). He also organised Indee 79, the biggest ever exhibition of Indian engineering products in Asia.

A brilliant organizer, Mr Sharma was Director (Protocol) for the 7th Non-Aligned Summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Delhi in 1983. He belongs to a class of diplomats who enjoy challenges. He volunteered to be India's Head of Mission in Phnom Penh during the most difficult period of 1982-84. He served as India's Consul General in Vancouver (1984-88) when it was the nerve center of activities in support of terrorist movement in Punjab. He was also one of the most successful Ambassadors of India in Vietnam (1989-92).

On his return to Headquarters in August 1992, Mr Sharma served a Joint Secretary for the Gulf region and OIC Affairs till October 1993. He acquired expertise in the issues concerning 3 million strong Indian Diaspora in the Gulf region.

Recognizing his flair for developing commercial relations, he was deputed to the newly created post of Joint Secretary (Defense Exports) in the Department of Defence Production. He prepared the first blue print for Defense Exports from India. He also prepared the plans for the first Aero India in Bangalore, which has now emerged as one of the premier Air Shows of Asia. During this period he also served on the Board of Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), a large public sector undertaking manufacturing defence and earth moving equipment and railway coaches. He gave a major push to BEML's export efforts and helped open several new markets for its products.

Mr Sharma had a highly successful tenure as Consul General Of India in Chicago (1996-2000) where he succeeded in substantially raising the profile of Mid-West region in Indo-US relations. He paid special attention to development of commercial relations with the mid-west region. Recognizing his expertise on Indian Diaspora, Mr Sharma was appointed the Member Secretary of the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora. The 600-pages Report of this Committee authored by him now provides the blue print for India's engagement with its 20 million strong Diaspora. Mr Sharma was also the Member Secretary of the Organizing Committee for the 1st and 2nd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Indian Diaspora Day) celebrations. His networking skills, excellent public relations and brilliant organizational abilities were the important factors for the success of these mega events.

As Secretary in charge of Consular Passport and Visa division he introduced bold reforms to simplify the procedures and decentralize the process making it possible to file applications in District H Q and Speed Post Centers. Thanks to his vision 10 years data of passports is computerized and available to all Indian Missions and Passport Offices.

An erudite scholar, Mr J C Sharma is an acknowledged authority on India's cultural relations with South East Asia. He has authored two highly acclaimed books titled "Temples of Champa in Vietnam" and "Hindu Temples in Vietnam" on this subject. These are the first two books ever to be written in the English language on the temples of the ancient kingdom of Champa. He has also been invited in his capacity as Art Historian by world's leading institutions like Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, Asia Society, New York, World Association of Vedic Studies, to speak on various aspects of India's cultural relations with South East Asia.

He has maintained close association with NGOs and has taken several initiatives to facilitate their activities in India. Mr Sharma has taken active interest in social and cultural life of Delhi. He is a member of the India International Centre, Indian National Trust for Arts & Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Delhi, United Service Institution of India, Delhi, India Habitat Centre (Spouse member), Delhi Gymkhana Club, Roshanara Club and Noida Golf Club. Mr Sharma has a flair for learning foreign languages and has learnt Japanese, Bhasa Indonesia and Vietnamese.

His wife, Dr (Mrs) Kavita Sharma, Principal, Hindu College, is the first woman Principal of a Co-ed College of Delhi University. Mrs Sharma is also a renowned scholar and an acknowledged authority on Mahabharata and India's aesthetic traditions.

Dr. Bhaskar Rao ( Co- Chair)

A pioneer of social research in India and an eminent mass communication expert with 40 years of distinguished background, Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao is founder Chairman of well known independent Centre for Media Studies (CMS) and also founder chairman of prestigious market research and forecasting outfit, Marketing & Development Research Associates (MDRA). Earlier, he had built up ORG as its CEO. Dr.Rao is the author and proponent of Social Audit concept/approach to appraise public utilities/services along with two former Chief Justices of India -- Justice P N Bhagavati and Justice R.S. Pathak. Dr. Rao pioneered Role Model Awards at National level.

Dr. Rao is an independent analyst, strategic advisor on public policies, public opinion, reforms process, mood of situations, media trends within and across. He is known as a pioneer in social research and monitoring & evaluation and rating methodologies. To some around the country he is Social Audit expert having been the Convenor of the first Social Audit Panel in the country (for the Ministry of Communication) and later the Ministry of Environment & Forests. For many aspiring students of professional education he is known as the prime mover of BREAD (Basic Research in Education & Development) which gives scholarships to poor-needy. As Coordinator of Vision 2020, Andhra Pradesh, he initiated the project. His studies on public opinion, customer satisfaction, broadcasting agencies, advertising trends, mass communication opportunities rural marketing are the benchmarks.His recent studies on electronic media, telecom and electronic sectors have guided the respective Departments in formulating perspectives and strategies. Over the years he has been advocating synergies between computer, broadcasting and telecom technology policies. Dr. Rao has been consultant with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for more than two decades in different capacities and conducted family planning surveys and national level studies on IEC.

Dr. Rao was also an expert member of Governments high level committee to draft National Population Policy with Dr. M. S. Swaminathan and an expert member of the committee to reorganize media units of Information & Broadcasting Ministry under the chairmanship of late G. Parthsarthy. Earlier, he was also involved as a member of high level standing Advisory Committee of I&B Ministry. He was responsible for a draft of citizen initiated Broadcasting Bill (incorporating Prasar Bharati Act) for the country. He is considered an authority on media policies in India. He is an authority on media utilization strategies and communication policies. There is no major media group in India to which he was not an advisor / consultant one time or the other in the last 25 years.

Raktim Mukhopadhyay

Raktim Mukhopadhyay is a senior consultant for organizations in the government and non-government development sector. He has almost three decades of experience working for the Government of India and other organizations in the field of social research, rural empowerment and capacity building. He is an expert on social research methods including urban and rural survey, data processing, tabulation, and data analysis, editing and preparing research reports, etc. In his professional career, he has conducted several research studies on behalf of the Government of India, UNICEF, UNESCO, etc. He is an honorary director with iCONGO, New Delhi; Director, Bangiya Unnayan Parishad, Calcutta and is also associated with the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR), New Delhi and Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi. He is also a resource person/ guide for Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, New Delhi.

Sushma Veer

She is a multi talented award-winning artist. She is a respected Actor, Dancer, Painter, Singer, Composer & Producer. She retired from acting in main stream cinema and now is solely concentrating on producing high quality and meaningful theatre and cinema through her brain child, Katha-kar. She is the founder-manager of an NGO, Akanksha, which works for the visually impaired children, children with special needs and cancer patients. She produced a path breaking music video 'KASH' to raise funds for Akanksha. The video starts the biggest Indian sports stars, actors, musicians and eminent politicians.

Raj Bhandare

He is an architect, an artist, an entrepreneur. Fascinated by Indian spiritualism and symbolism, his paintings express the roots of Indian spiritualism. Influenced by the plight of our soldiers in Kargil, a plan for a T-shirt exhibition turned into a full-fledged company called Nirvana. Through his T-shirt Company, he displays socio-political and cultural messages that are typically related to the Indian scenario, and publicise social ills in new and innovative ways.

Jamuna Rangachari

Jamuna Rangachari has authored two books for children, One (Rupa & Co, 2005), a collection of short stories on all the world religions, and The Magic Liquid (Rupa & Co, 2005), an adventure tale with a sprinkling of values. She is the assistant editor of Life Positive and has also written for the Times of India, Hindustan Times, Daily News and Analysis, New woman and others. She has also been published in the Chicken soup series.

Sunil Gupta

Sunil Gupta works in the Economic Research Unit of Joint Plant Committee (affiliated to the Ministry of Steel) as chief manager (Systems, Personnel & Administration possess required qualifications and has experience of over 25 years in different organizations of repute with competitive environs. He is involved in Senior-most strategic management functions, formulating and implementing policy and related issues and decisions related to Systems and Administration and possess good administrative and management skills, He has worked extensively on Knowledge Management, Business Intelligence, Networking, Internet, E-Commerce, WAP and related technologies. Apart from Software development, he has successfully carried out various Project Appraisals and Techno-economic studies related to various policy issues and long term planning in the Steel Sector. He has been actively involved in imparting training in e-business applications in different environments to various industry people by organizing various work shops/training courses.

Shuchita Gupta

Shuchita Gupta has a successful professional background. She was a marketing executive in Oxfam trust, New Delhi. She was the ambassador for the organization to create a niche for Oxfam Trust in the fundraising market, through relationships with marketing and communication professionals. She is an assistant manager, Child Relief & You - Resource Mobilisation, New Delhi, India. She is also a senior, Price Water House - Assurance and Business Advisory Services, New Delhi, India. She also conducted field audits for LG Electronics, Cushman & Wakefield, and Tata Mc Graw Hill. She was also a SUMMER ASSOCIATE, Hughes Software Systems, Delhi, India