Distinguished Professor, Shiv Nadar University; Former Member of Planning Commission, Government of India, India
22nd March 2022: (3:10 pm to 4:10 pm IST)
Topic: Challenges of Sustainable Groundwater Management in India (30 minutes)
Dr Mihir Shah has spent the past three decades living and working in remote, central tribal India, forging a new paradigm of inclusive and sustainable development, and strengthening Indian democracy through initiatives for people's empowerment, led by women.
From 2009 to 2014, he was Member, Planning Commission, Government of India. Dr. Shah was chiefly responsible for drafting the paradigm shift in the management of water resources enunciated in the 12th Five Year Plan. He also initiated a makeover of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the largest employment programme in human history, with a renewed emphasis on rural livelihoods, based on construction of productive assets.
In 2019, the Government of India asked him to chair the committee to draft the new National Water Policy (NWP). This is the first time ever that a person from outside government was asked to chair this committee. The draft NWP is under active consideration of the Government of India
An economist by training, Dr Shah wrote a much-acclaimed doctoral dissertation at the Centre for Development Studies, Kerala. After teaching for some years at the Centre, he resigned to explore fresh terrain beyond the ivory towers of conventional academia, which culminated in 1990 in the formation of Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS), headquartered in a remote tribal village of MP. Inspired by the life and work of Baba Amte, SPS is today one of India’s largest grass-roots initiatives for water and livelihood security.
Dr. Shah is Distinguished Professor, Shiv Nadar University, where he has designed a globally first-of-its-kind Masters Program on Water Science and Policy. He is a Founding Signatory of the Geneva Actions on Human Water Security, 2017. He was a Member of the International Steering Committee of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) from 2012 to 2018.
His research papers have been published extensively in pre-eminent journals such as Economic and Political Weekly, Current Science, Ambio, Hydrogeology Journal, Journal of Hydrology, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Review of Development and Change, Seminar and Indian Journal of Labour Economics.
Dr. Shah has addressed audiences on his life’s work all over the world from Stanford University to the World Bank in Washington, the OECD in Paris, the Arctic Circle in Iceland, Chatham House and University College, London, University of Cambridge, England, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, the EAT Forum, Stockholm, the Himalayan University Consortium in Chengdu, China, International Water Management Institute, Colombo, the Asian Development Bank, Manila and the Singapore Water Week. He was the Keynote Speaker at the Global Water Summit at Rome in 2012 and the International EcoSummit Congress at Montpellier in 2016.