Chairman's Profile


Almost everyone has eyes, but only a few have vision! On May 17, 2008, an Indian found that the statue of the Mahatma Gandhi was placed on the second floor near an Ice Cream Parlour close to a dustbin - instead of the wing where the statues of other illustrious world leaders were exhibited at London's Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The man raised the issue and wrote a letter to the then British Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown, stating, "Is this not a paradox that the memory of the man who rallied world attention on the evil of apartheid in South Africa over a century ago is now subjected to the same scandalous contempt that we thought the world has overcome? Is this not a racial bias against India and its role models of historic reverence?" Taking cognizance of this letter, an apology was offered by the Museum office, and the Mahatma's statue was immediately shifted to the 'World Leaders' Exhibition' hall at the ground floor.
Incidentally, that man with the vision Vinai Kumar Saxena - is now the Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in India - an organisation meant to fulfil the dreams of development through Gandhian philosophy that 'The father of the Nation' kicked off 100 years ago in 1917, from the sleepy hamlet of Barharwa (Champaran) in Bihar. Born on March 23, 1958 and an alumnus of Kanpur University with a Pilot Licence, Mr Saxena is a philanthropist in vision and corporate scientist in action. And his vision and action are so eternal that he always gave priority to his immense social commitment - right from the Corporate to the NGO sectors.

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With his business leadership in Western India on a diverse range of corporate matters such as petroleum and ports - fusioned with technical, legal, social and cultural skills, Mr Saxena has always led from the front in every issue related to social development like water resource development, fighting the social malpractices, disaster management support or clean development of the city space. And, for that he leaves no stone unturned in exposing any evil design; in 2000, his brainchild National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), an NGO formed by him in 1991, established a formidable opposition for Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) who was opposing the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and other upcoming hydro projects on Narmada Valley since 1991. 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.

After starting his career as an Assistant Officer in Rajasthan with JK Group, Mr Saxena never looked back. After working 11 years in different capacities with its White Cement plant, he was elevated in 1995 as General Manager to look after the proposed Port Project in Gujarat. He then rapidly rose to become the CEO and later elevated as Director of the Dholer Port Project. As the Director of Port Project and a Founder-President of the widely acclaimed NGO-NCCL, his refined persona won accolades, even from his rivals.

After being appointed as the Chairman of KVIC in October 2015, Mr Saxena not only explored the untapped streams of Khadi and Village Industries, but also introduced many innovative schemes and products like 'Honey Mission', 'Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana', 'Leather Artisans' Empowerment', Khadi Prakritik Paint, Project RE-HAB, Khadi Fabric Footwear and Plastic-mixed handmade paper, etc. - that have won rave reviews across the country and abroad.

It was his idea to introduce higher and multi-dimensional innovation in the Khadi sector that resulted in massive jump of over 88 percent in the production of Khadi fabric in just 5 years, i.e. from 105.38 million square meters in 2014-15 to 198.29 million square meters 2019-20.

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. In the FY 2019-20, the overall sales of Khadi and Village Industry products stood at an all- time high of Rs 88,887 crore, the highest by any FMCG company in India in the financial year. Mr Saxena successfully ensured the distribution of 53,000 New Model Charkhas and 9500 modern looms, which is a record itself in the history of Khadi Commission.

Honey Mission

Following the clarion call of 'Sweet Revolution' given by Prime Minister on December 10, 2016, while introducing Banas Dairy project at Deesa in Banaskantha district of Gujarat, Mr Saxena drafted a programme named 'Honey Mission' and launched in August 2017 from the Presidential Edifice at Rashtrapati Bhawan. After that, KVIC started identifying the farmers, Adivasis and unemployed youths across the nation and right from dense forest areas of Assam to tribal belt of Narmada Valley and from hilly valleys of Jammu & Kashmir to Gangetic plains of Varanasi - it left no breadth and length of the nation in distributing Bee-boxes with live bee-colonies. In his ongoing regime as Chairman KVIC, nearly 1.50 lakh Bee-Boxes have been distributed between 2017 and 2021. Apart from its mandate of creating employment and increasing honey production, the Honey Mission did a far greater benefit to the environment by adding 7500 million bees in the nature.

Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana

Before 2015, nobody had even contemplated that the potter community (Kumhaar) would have a day until the Hon'ble Prime Minister felt the need for empowering this community and reconnecting them with the mainstream of development. It was the KVIC Chairman, who took personal initiative to draft the ambitious Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana to uplift the socio-economic condition of this marginalized community and fulfil the dream of the Hon'ble PM. Comprehensive training to potters and distribution of 25,000 Electric Potter Wheels and other pottery apparatus led to a manifold increase in their production and income and thus a sea change ushered in the lives of the potters under the guidance of Mr Saxena. He contacted several government and non-government bodies including Indian Railways and five-star hotels - to provide a better marketing canvass to the potters which resulted into a manifold increase in their production and income. Consequently, over one lakh jobs were created for the potters' community in less than 3 years.

Leather Artisans' Empowerment

Next in the line was a first-of-its-kind 'Leather Artisans' Empowerment' scheme in the country that not only brought out Mr Saxena's humanitarian side but also assumed great social significance for the cobbler (Mochi) community. He rechristened this extremely marginalized community into a more dignified name of "Charm Chikitsak". They were provided with modern toolkits and their workplace on the roadside was named as "Joote Chappalon ka Beauty Parlor".

Plastic Mixed Handmade Paper

In September 2018, Mr Saxena invented the idea of mixing waste plastic with paper pulp to develop a unique plastic-mixed handmade paper. The idea was to reduce the menace of waste plastic from nature, while also creating sustainable employments in the handmade paper industry. This innovation of Mr Saxena got the patent certification on 2nd August 2021, by the Controller of Patent, Intellectual Property of India.

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It was none other than Mr Saxena, who took Khadi from local to global and from big cities to remotest parts of the nation - be it sleepy kraal-dominated hamlets of Leh-Ladakh region, Mishing tribes' villages of Kaziranga, tiger-widows' refuge in Bali island of Sunderban Delta in West Bengal or tribal-dominated areas of Narmada Valley. In all these places, spinning and weaving activities changed the lives of the poorest of the poor who were, since Independence, completely untouched by any government agency.

As many top economies of the world crippled under the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Saxena turned the crisis into an opportunity in India with production of its globally-acclaimed Khadi face masks. Scientifically tested, skin-friendly and biodegradable Cotton and Silk face masks at an affordable price not only became the most effective tool of fighting Corona disease but also saved thousands of Khadi artisans from economic distress by providing self-employment. A whopping 26 lakh face masks were sold in just 8 months of its launch, which was a manifestation of Khadi's massive popularity and acceptance.

Under Mr Saxena's leadership, KVIC has created nearly 32 lakh jobs through its various schemes. This included 27 lakh jobs under PMEGP, 3 lakh jobs in Khadi sector, one lakh under Kumhaar Sashaktikaran Yojana and 50,000 under Honey Mission since 2015-16.

The KVIC Chairman's development-oriented mind and his administrative acumen is no less than a latent prodigy.

    

Career Highlights

  • On 5th March 2021, the Government of India appointed Mr Saxena as one of the Members of the National Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of India's Independence. This Committee is headed by the Hon'ble Prime Minister and comprises former President, former Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister, Governors, Chief Ministers and others as members.

  • In November 2020, Mr Saxena was nominated as a Member of the High Powered Padma Awards Selection Committee for the year 2021 by the Government of India. The Committee is responsible for scrutinizing the nominations received for Padma Awards.

  • On 9th September 2020, Mr Saxena was nominated a Member of the "Research Council" of Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology. Research Council is the topmost decision making body of the institute with the mandate of boosting bio-economy through sustainable utilization of Himalayan bio-resources and with the mission to discover, develop and commercialize processes and products from Himalayan bio-resources using cutting-edge science and technology.

  • On March 18, 2019, the Hon'ble President of India, in his capacity as Visitor of the University, nominated Mr Saxena as a "Member of University Court" of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, for three years. This is the Highest Body of this Institution.

  • From 2016 to 2020, Mr Saxena is being nominated every year by the Hon'ble Prime Minister as one of the Members of the 'Empowered Committee' for evaluation of "Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Public Administration". This High-Powered Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and the other members are Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, CEO Niti Aayog and Secretary Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances.

  • Awards & Achievements

  • September 2017: Conferred with 2017 Luxury League Award for his contribution in promotion of brand 'Khadi' in India and abroad.
  • May 2008: “International felicitation” by 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”.
  • May 2007: Won “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) which was first of its kind and size in the Country launched by any NGO to reduce dust pollution with public participation.
  • July 2000: In recognition of his activities related to water security in Coastal Bhal region of Gujarat, UNESCO invited him to attend a Workshop on ‘Wise Coastal Practice for Sustainable Human Development’. Project successfully solved the problem of non-availability of fresh water in the Bhal region.
  • April 2000: Selected by the “Third World Network of Scientific Organisation”, Italy as one of the four referees for evaluation of an important Joint Research Project at Yemen titled “Characterization an Environmental Prioritisation of the Coastal region in the state of Yemen”.
  • Work Experience

    A person of enormous social commitment, whose distinguished contributions are strongly spread over both the corporate as well as NGO sectors. Providing business leadership in Western India on a diverse range of corporate matters such as petroleum and ports.

    He joined a well-known J K Group at Rajasthan in 1984 as an Asst. Officer and worked in Rajasthan for 11 years in various capacities in its White Cement Plant. Transferred to Gujarat in 1995 as General Manager to look after proposed Port Project. He then rapidly rose to become the CEO and later elevated as Director of the Dholer Port Project. As the Director of Port Project and a Founder-President of the widely acclaimed NGO-NCCL, he is known for his suave and refined persona.

    His immense social and legal efforts in keeping at bay the vested interests that tried to disrupt the good work of Sardar Sarovar Project are also highly regarded in Gujarat, MP and Rajasthan. There are dozens of examples of his ingenuity-be it in the domain of water resource development, fighting the social mal-practices, disaster management support or clean development of the city space. Any instance of anti-Development campaign will find him fighting it tooth and nail through a combination of technical, legal, social and cultural skills. Likewise, any instance of social development will find him drawn to its principle like metal to a magnet.

    Other Activities

  • Founded student union of Mardhan Singh Inter-College Talbehat, Dist. Lalitpur, U. P. in 1975 and Elected its unopposed General Secretary.

  • Founded National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) in 1991 with its H.Q at Ahmedabad. NCCL is a non-profitable multi dimensional social organization registered under the Societies Act and recognized by the Ministry of Law & Justice (Dept. of Company Affairs), Govt. of India.

  • Under the stewardship of Mr Saxena, NCCL has actively taken up several issues of national importance against monolithic Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Private Companies, Central or State Govts., creating awareness against injustice, stopping unfair trade practices, exposing myths - taking up the issues with the appropriate authorities or courts of law - till their logical conclusions.

  • In the five eventful decades of his life, he has been a jet-setting corporate leader, a vociferous social crusader, an ardent environmentalist, a committed water-conservationist, an articulate votary for integrated development, and a Pilot Licensee.

  • On the developmental front, he has been actively pursuing a project named "Rainbow Hills" to adopt and develop villages under CSR funds.

  • Initiatives taken by Mr. V K Saxena for public cause :

    On 21.11.2014, NCCL launched its new Project "Rainbow Hills" from village VANAJ, in Taluka Vijayanagar, District: Sabarkantha in Gujarat for re-constructions/repairs and modernization of tribal houses in the picturesque Adivasi Vanaj village which is situated on a small hillock facing a huge lake. The 12 selected houses in village: Vanaj, were constructed by the Adivasis using mud for walls and local wood for ceiling. These dilapidated dusty houses were in unhealthy conditions to live in. NCCL completed repair and reconstruction of these 12 houses in a record period of 3 months. Under the scheme, repairing of walls, floor, roof, Varendas, etc were done including Construction of toilets. The aim of the scheme was to provide basic amenities to the poor Adivasis, without disturbing their lifestyle, traditions and surroundings. These Adivasis are also guided to rent out one room in these neatly re-constructed houses to the tourists interested in eco-tourism to generate income for them.

    In the year 2018, this successful social experiment was replicated in Admapur Village of Varanasi. NCCL renovated 6 dilapidated mud houses of the village into concrete houses at the cost of Rs 1 lakh per unit.


    To make the city of Ahmedabad dust free, NCCL in July 2004, launched an ambitious project called Mission ENDURE (Ensuring Dust REduction). Mission ENDURE was the first ever endeavor of its kind and size in the country in which an NGO was promoting a practical, positive and participatory solution to reduce dust pollution in a large city like Ahmedabad. This eco-friendly scheme not only reduced dust pollution but also allowed rainwater to recharge the aquifer. Mission ENDURE has won Dubai International Award instituted by UN-HABITAT. NCCL was selected for this award from 650 entries from 140 countries. This project was showcased at World Urban Forum for Worldwide emulation.


    NCCL's most important contribution which has changed the lives of millions of people of Gujarat and MP has been its sustained efforts of exposing the activities of Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in the year 2000. The NCCL established a formidable opposition to NBA through a multi-pronged stride involving technical, legal, social and cultural dimensions. The role of NCCL has been acknowledged by the people of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.


    NCCL took up the job of deepening of silted village ponds with local people's participation in 13 villages of driest Bhal region of Gujarat during the year 1999 - 2000. Two to three meters silt was removed from the ponds which helped store enough rain water for the entire year. NCCL also supplied free water in remote villages of Bhal region of Gujarat every year since 2001 till 2005.


    A severe Earth Quake hit Gujarat on 26th January 2001. NCCL took the assistance from a well-known organization "Earth Center" Hyderabad, having expertise in analyzing satellite images, to study the impact of earthquake on SSP through satellite imageries.


    He was also involved in Water Resource Planning and Water Shed Management for Gujarat & Rajasthan. To catalyze the process of deeper scientific understanding of environmental matters by very competent Indian and foreign Scientists, NCCL commissioned a study in the year 2003 called "Trishna" for bringing unutilized water to the parched areas of Gujarat & Rajasthan.