UN Awardee, Khadi Chief, Critic of Narmada Bachao: Who Is Delhi LG Vinai Saxena?

Saxena founded NCCL, an NGO that had opposed the famous Narmada Bachao Andolan led by Medha Patkar.

4 min read
Hindi Female

Days after Anil Baijal resigned from the post of Delhi's Lieutenant Governor, Vinai Kumar Saxena was appointed as the national capital's new LG, President Ram Nath Kovind's office said on Monday, 23 May.

Saxena, who also serves as the chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, has donned many hats in the past, during his three-decade-long career in the administrative and social sectors.

From founding an NGO that locked horns with the Narmada Bachao Andolan to serving on the panel of the Padma Awards, here's a glimpse of the new Delhi LG's past work.


A Career at the JK Group, an NGO Against Narmada Bachao Andolan

Born on 23 March 1958 in Uttar Pradesh, Saxena studied at Kanpur University and also attained a pilot's licence. In 1984, he started his career as an assistant officer with JK Group in Rajasthan and worked at its white cement plant. In 1995, he was made general manager, and later also rose to the position of CEO and Director of Port Project.

In 1991, Saxena set up the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), a non-profitable social organisation registered under the Societies Act and recognised by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

The NGO, with its headquarters in Ahmedabad, had opposed the famous Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) led by Medha Patkar.

The NBA had protested the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and other upcoming hydro projects on Narmada Valley due to environmental concerns.

"The role of his voluntary organisation NCCL was acknowledged by the people of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh for exposing the activities of anti-dam activists," a profile of the chairman on the Khadi website reads.


Success as Khadi Chairman

Saxena founded NCCL, an NGO that had opposed the famous Narmada Bachao Andolan led by Medha Patkar.

Vinai Kumar Saxena with others at a Khadi Emporium outlet.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/KVICchairman)

Saxena has been serving as the chairman of Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) since October 2015, when he was appointed to the post. KVIC falls under the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises.

The flagship outlet of Khadi at Connaught Place saw its highest single-day sale during Saxena's tenure. The store clocked a whopping Rs 1,29,05,000 on 30 October 2021, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to Indians to shop local.

Compared to the year 2015-16, when he took the reins of KVIC, the production of khadi increased by 115 percent in 2019-20 while the sale of khadi grew by 179 percent during the same period, as per its website.

He also introduced various innovative schemes and products during his time as chairman of the KVIC, including 'Honey Mission', 'Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana', 'Leather Artisans' Empowerment', 'Khadi Prakritik Paint', 'Project RE-HAB', 'Khadi Fabric Footwear', and plastic-mixed handmade paper.


On Selection Panel for Padma Awards, Member of JNU Court

Over the past decade, Saxena has been appointed to various prestigious panels under the central government.

  • In March 2021, Saxena was appointed as a member of the National Committee to Commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence

  • In September 2020, he was nominated to the membership of the the research council of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology.

  • In March 2019, President Ramnath Kovind nominated Saxena as a 'Member of University Court' of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, for three years.

  • From 2016 to 2020, Saxena was nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a member of the 'Empowered Committee' for evaluation of 'Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Public Administration'.

  • In November 2020, he was nominated as a member of the High Powered Padma Awards Selection Committee for the year 2021.

Saxena has also received a number of awards for his contributions to the social sector.

In May 2008, he was felicitated by the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Development (UNDESD), UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP in association with International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), USA, (UN NGO) and Social Organisation for Health – Human & Management (SOHAM) for "Outstanding Contribution to Environment Protection and Water Security".

In May 2007, he won the Dubai International Award constituted by UN-HABITAT for best practices to improve living environment in Ahmedabad City through his project 'Mission ENDURE (ENsuring DUst REduction)'.


Soon after the KVIC chairman was appointed as Delhi's LG, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "The former LG Anil Baijal and I worked together in Delhi on several projects and tried to solve many issues. He is a very good man. I wish him the best for the future and wish him good health and a long life. I welcome the newly appointed LG, Vinai Kumar Saxena on behalf of the people of Delhi. He will get the full support of the cabinet for Delhi’s betterment."

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