All About Ex Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra- The Decisive & Tough Taskmaster

Updated June 13, 2022

The former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra is a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1967 batch from Uttar Pradesh cadre. He served as the Pr. Secretary to Prime Minister of India from 2014-2019. Sh. Mishra is also an awardee of Padma Vibushan for his valuable contributions to country.

The Former advisor of PMO and Trustee of Ram Temple Trust, Sh. Mishra received Japan’s National Honour “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star” for his contributions to strengthening the economic relationship between India and Japan.

UP cadre IAS Nripendra Mishra has also held an important position in the state government before the Center. He was the principal secretary in the Mulayam Singh Yadav and Kalyan Singh governments. His image has been that of a striking and honest officer. At the Center, he was the secretary in the Department of Telecommunications. He was also Secretary in the Department of Fertilizers from 2002 to 2004.

His Early Life and Education

Nripendra Misra was born in March 8, 1945, Deoria, United Provinces, British India. Influenced by Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, Nripendra Mishra is a postgraduate in three subjects each. He took his Master’s degree from John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in Public Administration. He did his post-graduation in Chemistry, Political Science, and Public Administration from Allahabad University.

Nripendra Misra: Career as an IAS Officer

Known for his impeccable credentials, Nripendra Misra served as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India and had become one of the most powerful retired civil servants in Modi’s government. He was someone who had the Prime Minister’s ears. Nripendra Mishra, in his career as an IAS officer, held the most important posts, not just at the center and the Uttar Pradesh, but also had served for International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank.

(a) Special Secretary, Finance, Government of Uttar Pradesh (1978-80)
(b) Director (World Bank-IMF Division) in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (1981-84)
(c) Joint Secretary, Fund Bank Division (1984-85)
(d) Minister (Economic) in the Indian Embassy, Washington D.C (August, 1985 to July, 1988)

(e) Secretary in the Department of Institutional Finance, Taxation and Excise, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh (1988-89)
(f) Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Govt. of Uttar Pradesh (January, 1990 to October, 1992)
(g) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, GNIDA (October, 1992 to January, 1994)
(h) Member, Board of Revenue, and Govt. of Uttar Pradesh (January, 1994 to July, 1995) (i) Principal Secretary, Home-II, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh (1995-96)

Shri Misra also had served in the Ministry of Commerce from November 1996 to January 2002. After that, he was appointed as the Fertilizers Secretary in India by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) in January 2002.

Mishra took over the post in January 2002 as the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Fertilizers and quit it in January 2004 after serving approximately two years. Subsequently, Misra was appointed as the Telecom Secretary of and chairperson of Telecom Commission by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) in January 2004. He served to the post more than a year.

Good Governance Technique- ‘Dummy Notes’ & ‘Day Officers’

Nripendra Misra is credited for introducing innovative governance practices during his tenure in the Kalyan Singh CMO. Civil Servants who have worked with Misra in Uttar Pradesh applauded his governance practices for “Dummy Notes” and “Day Officers.”

Dummy Notes

“He was the person who developed the concept of making “dummy notes” for the CM who didn’t have the time to look through the bulky documents. “Dummy notes were summaries of problems discussed in large files. This practice continues until today,” said another UP-cadre civil servant currently employed as a secretary for the union ministry.

Day Officers

Misra also introduced the idea of ‘day officers’- an officer of the joint secretary level that is regularly attached to the CMO to ensure more effective coordination between the CMO and the government. It has been maintained to this date.

Nripendra Misra: Post-retirement Career

Chairperson of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Sh. Misra retired from the Indian Administrative Service in 2006. After his retirement, he was appointed as the Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) in March 2006. The then Manmohan Singh government, Nripendra Mishra served as the chairman of TRAI from 2006 to 2009.

This stint was turned out to be the most crucial phase of his bureaucratic career, he has deposed as a prosecution witness in the special CBI court hearing the case into the 2G scam. After retiring from TRAI, Nripendra Mishra joined the Public Interest Foundation (PIF). He used to work with some research scholars in the Greater Kailash office of Delhi. This foundation is known for working as a think tank to connect marginalized people in society with the mainstream of development.

THe resigned his position as a member of the Board of Directors of Usha Martin Limited on May 26, 2014, after being invited to be a part of the PMO under the newly-formed Modi government. He also served as a Member of the Executive Council at the Vivekananda International Foundation.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India

The image of a decisive”, “efficient”, and “Tough Taskmaster”, had pushed Modi to pick Misra to drive his PMO. Modi’s government even had to amend Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) rules to ensure that Misra gets appointed as principal secretary.

Under then TRAI Act, a provision prohibited its former chairman from taking up a post retirement job. Despite it, Modi brought an ordinance to ensure the appointment of Misra as the Principal Secretary of PMO. It was Misra’s impeccable integrity and hard working attitude that won over Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top bureaucratic aide and Principal Secretary (PS) since 2014, Nripendra Misra, quit from his powerful position on Friday, prompting a rejig in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He, however, will continue for two more weeks on Mr. Modi’s request.

Nripendra Misra was one of the top bureaucrate in the Modi’s government. He has an outstanding knowledge of public policy and administration. Modi said about him that when he became prime minister, he was totally ignorant of the Delhi’s politics. It was Misra’s wisdom that saw him through several crises.

Being strict, he played his role as a School Monitor- Misra questioned and pulled up senior civil servants, including secretary-rank officers, if their ministries’ performance was not up to the mark.

Nripendra Misra: Chairperson of NMML

After his resignation as the Principal Secretary, Mishra was appointed chairperson for the executive committee of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in January 2020.

Chairperson of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust

The government set up the Trust in the direction of the Supreme Court, which in November 2019 pronounced a landmark judgment in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. Nripendra Misra was appointed as the chairman of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust in February 2020. Now, he is overseeing the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Nripendra Mishra: Honors and Awards

‘Order of the Rising Sun’- The former Principal Secretary and Trustee of the Ram Temple Trust, Nripendra Mishra, have been awarded Japan’s National honour, the ‘Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star’ by the Japanese government. Misra was awarded for his role and contribution to strengthening India-Japan bilateral relations.

It is a Japanese award that was established on 10 April 1875 by Emperor Meiji. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun. It is the third-highest order honour by the Japanese government. The order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field, development in welfare or preservation of the environment.

Padma Vibushan- Nripendra Mishra is the awardee of Padma Vibushan- the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna.

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