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Joint Secretary and Mission Director•
Smart Cities Mission
Kunal Kumar, IAS currently holds the office of Joint Secretary & Mission Director (Smart Cities Mission), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India since May 2018. Initially, he was Municipal Commissioner at Pune Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra for around 4 years. He has been serving the State of Maharashtra since 1999 and has worked across several cities of Maharashtra. Mr Kumar has worked as District Collector in three districts of Bhandara, Jalgaon and Aurangabad and has also worked as Municipal Commissioner in Kolhapur Municipal Corporation. Besides travelling, he is an avid reader and follows sports across the globe. Kunal is an IIT Roorkee alumnus and has completed his Masters in Public Management from the National University of Singapore jointly conducted with Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, USA. He has presented several papers on e-Governance which received awards/citations like the best e-governed district award for Jalgaon district nationally, the certificate of Appreciation for being a finalist in Manthan Award South Asia 2009. Moreover, he was awarded by the Prime Minister of India for excellence in AADHAR Governance award during his stint as District Collector of Aurangabad.
With his focused insight and exceptional leadership qualities, various innovative ideas and ideas were incorporated in the “Smart Cities Mission” vision of Pune. The work towards citizen cooperation to crowdsource ideas through the “Maza Swapna, Smart Pune” contest, where citizens could suggest intelligent solutions to crucial issues confronting the city was publicly commended. He played an instrumental role for Creation of a Vision Community under Pune Smart City Citizen Engagement Campaign in one of the largest envisioning exercises ever conducted in Indian history. He has been closely involved with the Smart Cities Mission since the very beginning and believes that this is one of the most progressive missions for transformation of the urban landscape of the country. He firmly believes that cities need to be built around communities and that technology as a medium also has to be used in way that helps create bottom-up innovation.
In his role as the Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission, Government of India (from the 25th May,2018) he is responsible for the nationwide implementation of what can be termed as the largest and most complex organized urbanization effort in the whole world. The mission intends to catalyze investments of around 30 billion USD into the 100 smart cities in a period of 5 years. The mission intends to provide a good quality of life to India’s urban residents along with the provision of integrated infrastructure and services through development of smart solutions leveraging the power of communities, bottom up planning and technology. The aim is to enable creation of connected, liveable, energy efficient, adaptive and resilient cities.
Kunal's ambitious plan of “PUNE Towards Urban Transformation” of USD 5 Billion for transforming Pune over the next 5 years has been the foundation for Pune’s development effort in the recent future and its roadmap for the future. Projects are at different stages of planning & implementation. He has also initiated sustainable livelihood programs called ‘Lighthouse’ to empower underprivileged youth and also operationalized digital literacy to bridge the digital divide. His direction and leadership has helped Pune City receive several international and national accolades and recognition like selected in 100 Resilient Cities Programme – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC). Moreover, PUNE SMART CITY proposal called ‘Reimagining Pune To Become India’s Most Livable Smart City’ has been selected as a finalist in the City Award category out of 250 entries from 45 countries for the World Smart City Awards in Barcelona in the year 2016-17. He is the winner of BW Business World award for the Smart City Person of the Year 2017.