Dr Rajesh Kumar, IAS
Dr Rajesh Kumar, IAS

Former Mission Director, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Govt of India
Chair of the Outlook Poshan Awards Jury

Under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Dr Rajesh Kumar steered the roll-out of POSHAN Abhiyaan (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) and has helped to bring in convergence among the various key ministries linked to the scheme, thus giving it the heft it needed. From organising high level conferences, policy discussions, meetings and workshops to linking with the various departments and stakeholders, Dr Kumar has also invested in the Poshan Abhiyaan mission his personal commitment to transform the nutrition landscape.

Dr Kumar has also played a stellar role in the setting up of Food Fortification standards, a crucial component of the Poshan Abhiyaan. He also led the roll-out of the ICDS-CAS (Common Application Software) system that is designed to strengthen the Service Delivery System as well as the mechanism for Real Time Monitoring (RTM) of the National Nutrition Mission.

Before taking over as Joint Secretary in the WCD Ministry in February 2015, Dr Kumar (IAS 1988 batch) has held senior positions in several ministries and departments, including the Rural Development Ministry, and Ministry of Food and Public Distribution. He has worked at senior positions with the Government of Manipur, his parent cadre in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

Dr Kumar, a medical graduate by qualification, has participated in several training programmes, including global ones, and is a recipient of the President of India’s Trophy for the Best Assignment on ‘Socio-Economic Study of Tribals in Churachandpur, District, Manipur’, while he was an IAS Probationer. In 1991, he was awarded the Census Silver Medal by the President of India. He was at the time, Sub-Divisional Officer, Chandel, Manipur.

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Alok Kumar, IAS

Advisor, NITI Aayog

Shri Alok Kumar is an Indian Administrative Service Officer of 1993 batch of the Uttar Pradesh cadre. He has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton University in addition to a B. Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Presently he is on deputation to the Union Government and is posted in the NITI Aayog as Adviser (Social Sector), looking after various portfolios, such as Health, Nutrition, Woman & Child and Education. Prior to this, he has worked in the Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Among his major assignments, he has held the post of Secretary to the Chief Minister Uttar Pradesh, Managing Director of the State Industrial Development Corporation, besides the usual field level positions.

He also has been on the faculty of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration- the apex training institution for senior civil servants. Thus he has a unique combination of experiences – policy making, execution and implementation as well as academic.

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Dr. Hemalatha
Dr. Hemalatha

Director, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition

Dr. Hemalatha is the Director, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition and heads the largest nutrition research organisation in the country that covers the spectrum from basic to public health. Dr. Hemalatha, MBBS and MD, has carried out extensive research in the realm of Nutrition, Infection and Immunity with special emphasis on women and child health, preconception nutrition and the first 1000 days of life. After taking over as the Director of ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Dr. Hemalatha’s emphasis has been on strengthening inter-sectoral, inter-institutional, inter-disciplinary synergy for finding practical solutions to the nutrition issues confronting the country.

She is an expert member of various task force committees of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI), National Technical Board on Nutrition and National Council of Nutrition of NITI Aayog.
She is the recipient of Ponduri VR Rao Gold Medal, Dr. Rajammal P Devadas Memorial Award. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (FNAMS), International Union of Nutrition Sciences (FIUNS) and Telangana Academy of Sciences (FTAS). She has served as Joint Secretary of the Nutrition Society of India.

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Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

Padma Shri Awardee

He is one of the most recognized faces of Indian television. Mr. Kapoor was in people’s living rooms for almost two decades introducing them to the delights of Indian and international cuisine in his inimitable easy going and cheery manner. The show Khana Khazana was one of those trailblazing cookery shows on Zee. Little wonder then that he has a massive fan following across all age groups, genders and countries! He has the proud distinction of being the only chef in the world to have his own channel – FoodFood. He has also been conferred the ‘Best Chef of India’ award by the Government of India. He represented India at the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) in South Korea and here he introduced them to the wonders of the ancient Indian way of Ayurvedic cooking.

He was the Indian ambassador for UN’s Clean Cooking Alliance for the underprivileged of developing countries. He represented India as a Food ambassador in Spain under the Spanish Government’s Indian Future Leaders Programme (IFLP). Mr. Kapoor also works closely with autistic children and helps the cause by supporting NGO “Forum for Autism” for over 12 years. He is associated with Akshaya Patra – the world’s largest NGO run mid-day meal programme that serves wholesome school lunch to over 1.7 million children in 14,702 schools across 12 states in India. To develop qualified skills in his chosen field, he has started a college in collaboration with Symbiosis University, the first of its kind, by the name of Symbiosis School of Culinary Arts, offering 3-year full-time BSc degree in Culinary Arts.

He has done cookery shows all over the globe with famous culinary personalities like Rachel Ray, Richard Quest and Rene Redzepi. In fact he is also known as the Rachel Ray of India. He is also ranked 34th in the Forbes list of top 100 Indian celebrities. He has also cooked for many dignitaries, including the Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He achieved the Guinness World Record by cooking 918 kg khichdi live at the World Food India 2017, New Delhi. His website www.sanjeevkapoor.com which has more than 15,000 recipes, attracts more than 10 million page views per month and over 5.4 million fans follow him on Facebook. His website won the ‘Most Popular Website’ award in 2013 and 'Best Website' award in the Food and Beverages category in 2014 and 2016. He is on the board of Singapore Airlines International Culinary panel. His YouTube channel sanjeevkapoorkhazana is very popular, with over 3.8 million subscribers.

Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe books are bestsellers, with more than 200 titles in 7 languages and have bagged Indian and international awards. His restaurants, Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana, The Yellow Chilli, Signature and Khazana are considered the best in their categories not only in India but abroad as well. His Khazana brand of blended spices, ready to cook mixes, pickles and gourmet chutneys are super popular in US, Europe and Middle East, in addition to India. His business of world class kitchen gadgets, Wonderchef has enabled and continues to empower women, a cause close to his heart.

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Dr. Rupinder Singh Sodhi

Managing Director, GCMMF (Amul)

Dr. Rupinder Singh Sodhi, is Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, Ltd., (AMUL), which is India’s largest Food Products organization. The Amul Brand’s annual turnover is Rs.45,000 crores (US $ 6.5 billion) for 2018-19. Dr. Sodhi has 38 years of rich experience in leading & developing the cooperative sector in the Indian dairy industry, having served dairy farmers in several capacities. He has been responsible for creating the current structure of Amul, enabling the organization to maintain and enhance its leadership status within the Indian dairy industry. Member unions of GCMMF are procuring 23 million litres of milk per day from more than 18,600 Village Dairy Co-operative societies.

For more than three decades, Dr. Sodhi worked under the direct guidance & mentorship of Father of White Revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien and has ensured that the values cherished by Dr. Kurien, such as integrity, dedication, courage, honesty, commitment to farmers and to consumers, remained deeply ingrained in the culture of Amul.
Dr. Sodhi obtained his Bachelor of Engineering (Agriculture) degree from CTAE, Udaipur, India and he is the first-batch alumnus from IRMA, Anand, India. Recently, he received Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris-Causa) from Anand Agriculture University.

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Hisham Mundol

Executive Director, India and Child Protection, Children's Investment Fund Foundation(CIFF)

Mr. Mundol is Executive Director for India & Child Protection at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). CIFF is the world’s largest philanthropy focussed on children.

CIFF’s portfolio in India includes maternal and child health, adolescent sexual health, nutrition, tackling child slavery and exploitation, and addressing climate change.

CIFF’s child protection work is focussed on ending the scourges of child labour and commercial sexual exploitation of children, with an emphasis on choking demand.

Mr. Mundol started his career in the private sector, working for 15 years in sales, marketing and consulting, before switching to the development sector in 2009. He first worked at the Government of India’s National AIDS Control Programme where he headed up the national condoms division. He then set up the Wikimedia Foundation’s operations in India to drive free knowledge through projects like Wikipedia in South Asia.
Hisham is an economics graduate and has a management degree.

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Dr. Purvi Mehta

Head of Asia, Agriculture, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)

Dr. Purvi Mehta has over 22 years of experience working in 7 countries in Asia, Africa and North America on agriculture policy reforms, biotechnology and international development.
At present, she is Head of Asia for Agriculture at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). She leads the foundation’s agriculture strategy across countries in Asia, that includes links between farming systems and food systems as a key component.
She did her formal education, up to PhD, from M.S. University, India, Tokyo University, Japan and North Carolina State University- USA.

Dr. Mehta has worked with CGIAR, as head of Asia of the International Livestock Research Institute and also as head of South Asia Biosafety program (IFPRI, USAID), and brings a blend of Asia and Africa experience. Dr. Mehta has been on the boards of several international and national organisations. Some of her current board affiliations include - International Alliance for Ecology and Health-Canada, International Centre for Rural Agriculture-Netherlands, Indian Council for Food and Agriculture, Director on the board of NCDEX etc. She is also a visiting faculty at Cornell University.
Dr. Mehta has two books and over 48 publications to her credit. She has given keynote addresses, media interviews and talks in 52 countries and is an authoritative voice in the field of agriculture policies, global development issues and nutrition indicators.

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Dr. Rajan Sankar

Advisor – Nutrition, TATA Trusts

Dr. Rajan Sankar is a Physician and has specialised in internal medicine. Dr Sankar was the head of Thyroid Research Centre and department of endocrinology in the Defence Research and Development Organization and retired from the Army Medical Corps in the rank of Colonel after 24 years of service. He has been actively involved with Iodine Deficiency Disorders elimination activities in India and in the South Asia region. In recognition of his contribution in this field, he was awarded the Sir Sriram Memorial Award by the National Academy of Medical Sciences of India in 1997 and the Sivanthi Adityan Gold Medal by the Association of Physician of India in 1990.

He has published over 100 scientific papers in national and international journals. Dr Sankar has worked with the Micronutrient Initiative as their Regional Technical Advisor and with UNICEF as Project Officer in the India Country Office. He was till recently the Regional Representative in South Asia for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). He is now Senior Advisor – Nutrition at TATA Trusts.

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Basanta Kumar Kar

Transform Nutrition Champion and Country Director, Project Concern International/India

Mr. Basanta Kumar Kar, an international development professional who has won many accolades in his over 30-year career, brings to the nutrition sector his prolific knowledge and vast experience, having worked extensively at the grassroots in India as well as other South and South East Asian countries. Through his professional excellence, programme delivery skills, public interest orientation, innovative ideas, deep knowledge of the subject and empathy, he has demonstrated how intervention programmes can be suitably scaled up for maximising impact among the poor and marginalised. He has helped shape and influence country-level policy and legislations, created platforms and agenda to spread awareness in the sector.

He has held leadership positions in the social development sector, and worked with major organisations like National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), ActionAid International, CARE, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security. He is currently Country Director, Project Concern International(PCI) in India and represents in numerous policy, advisory and technical bodies of the Government and civil society. For his outstanding contribution to nutrition in South Asia, Mr. Kar is recipient of the prestigious global ‘Transform Nutrition Champions’ award, and also the ‘Odisha Living Legend’ award for contribution to public policy. For his decades-long and unstinting contribution in championing the cause of sustainable food and nutrition security in India and globally, Mr. Kar is also known as the ‘Nutrition Man’. He holds a Degree in English Literature and Law and a Post Graduate Degree in Rural Management from a premier institute in Asia. Mr. Kar has authored many academic and research works and is also the author of three collections of poems in English.

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Kalpana Beesabathuni

Global Lead, Technology & Entrepreneurship, Sight and Life

Ms. Kalpana Beesabathuni has over 14 years of experience in nutrition, food, WASH, renewable energy and global health and has worked in multi-cultural and science driven contexts, fostering product, technology and social business model innovation. She is also as an entrepreneur in healthcare. Kalpana holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master’s in Agricultural and Food Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor’s in Agricultural and Food Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur).

At Sight and Life, Ms. Kalpana Beesabathuni mobilises two of the tectonic movements that are important for the world today – technology & entrepreneurship with a focus on food systems. Based in India, she also manages Sight and Life’s in-country programmes. She conceptualised and advances social business models for two flagship initiatives at Sight and Life: “EGGciting Innovations” and “The Nutrition Entrepreneurs” in Asia and Africa. Read More

Ravi Bhatnagar
Ravi Bhatnagar

Director, External Affairs & Partnerships AMESA, Reckitt Benckiser

Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar leads External Affairs and Partnerships at Reckitt Benckiser, and is in charge of the Africa, Middles East and South Asia Regions, where the interlinking of the issues of Health, Hygiene and Nutrition can be seen from close quarters.

The focus throughout is on Human Centric Design Thinking, or a creative approach to problem solving, which is key to the success of projects in these countries. Being an integral part of conveying Reckitt Benckiser’s mission of “Purpose led Business”, Mr Bhatnagar has used his communication skills to reach out to the target benefactors of the programmes, who belong to the marginalised sections of society.

With his deep interest in and knowledge of the issues of Health, Hygiene and Nutrition, Mr Bhatnagar has been able to communicate about the effectiveness of the programmes and campaigns of RB to senior government officials and those in top global institutions like the UN, World Bank and WHO.
Reckitt Benckiser’s ‘Dettol Banega Swachh India Programme’ has helped take the message of handwashing into every home. Mr Bhatnagar is currently involved in taking forward RB’s programme of Health, Hygiene and Nutrition in two of India’s aspirational districts – Nandurbar and Amravati in Maharashtra.
In recognition of RB's exemplary work in the field of Hygiene and Sanitation to take forward the Swachh Bharat Mission, the President of India presented an award Mr Bhatnagar and his team.
Before joining Reckitt Benckiser four years ago, Mr Bhatnagar worked in challenging leadership positions in several organisations, including as Associate Director with Clinton Health Access Initiative, Senior Manager Programmes with Population Services International to name a few.
He is taskforce member of FICCI’s India Sanitation Coalition and Co-Chair of ASSOCHAM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.

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Ruben Banerjee

Editor in Chief, Outlook

Mr. Ruben Banerjee is the editor in chief of Outlook. He was earlier the National Affairs Editor of Hindustan Times. A journalist with more than three decades of experience, he worked previously as an editor with Al Jazeera headquartered in Doha, Qatar, India Today and Indian Express.

An incurable news junkie, Mr. Banerjee is particularly fascinated by anything that is interesting and significant and impacts the world. Also an author, his latest book ‘Naveen Patnaik’ – an unauthorised biography of the Odisha chief minister – got rave reviews. This was his second book, the first being ‘The Orissa Tragedy – A Cyclone’s Year of Tragedy’.