Indian Administrative Service officer
Manisha Verma is an Indian Administrative Service officer currently serving as Principal Secretary Tribal Development Department, Government of Maharashtra. She was a Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in 2015. She has a Master’s Degree from IDS Sussex (UK). She has made a significant contribution in drafting of progressive laws such as Food Security Act, strengthening of Right to Education Act, Right to Information, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), and Forest Rights Act which have been milestones in empowering the ordinary citizens. She has been a unique bridge to bring together civil society groups, experts, policy makers, and government officials and facilitated the crafting of several policy reforms during her stint at as Joint Secretary in National Advisory Council (NAC), Prime Minister’s Office. Ms. Verma has held important positions in the state including Secretary (Accounts & Treasuries), in Finance Department, State Director Higher Education Mission, CEO Thane & Collector in districts of Amravati and Solapur. She has served as Director, Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission & Director of International Cooperation & UNESCO in Department of Higher Education, Government of India. s As a CEO Thane, she undertook a campaign for participatory model of development to engage gramsabhas (village assembly) in grass root planning and monitoring of development programs. As Collector Amravati, the methodology she devised to secure land rights to tribals in Melghat forest area (Vanputra Abhiyan) were widely acknowledged and later became the basis for Forest Rights Act. Ms. Verma is also known for her principled and tough stand against corruption throughout her career. During her stint as Collector Solapur, she exposed multi-crore corruption and malpractices that had crept in the Employment Guarantee Scheme. In her present stint, as Principal Secretary Tribal Development Ms. Verma has taken numerous initiatives to reform planning and budgeting process and initiated special projects for the empowerment of tribal communities. She is the recipient of several awards including Chief Minister’s award under “Rajiv Gandhi Administrative Reforms” for the year 2001 and 2002. She was awarded A. Leon Higginbotham Public Service Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School, and has been honoured by Maharashtra Foundation and Keshav Gore Smarak Trust for outstanding contribution in public service.