Connect with RK
"Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor, upon which one walks as a matter of course and prescriptive right."
- Aldous Huxley

Biography

Untitled Document R.K. Misra is a leader recognized as a 'doer' whose agenda for the nation is to improve governance through a transformational change in the political system of India.

His mission is to provide "Livelihood Opportunities to Rural Poor" and "Quality Infrastructure in Urban India" for a sustainable & inclusive growth.

The man who walks the talk. The change that India requires.

It was a journey that began more than 40 years ago in Sonari, a small impoverished village in UP's Sitapur district.

Rajendra Kumar Misra fondly known as 'RK' by friends and family alike is a graduate from IIT Kanpur and a post-graduate from Tokyo University. He is a Fellow of Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Global Leadership Fellow of Aspen Institute, USA.

After graduating from IIT Kanpur (India) in 1989, he was one of the 25 students chosen from 18 countries to pursue Master of Engineering from Tokyo University, Japan under a special internationalization initiative by the Ministry of Education of Japan.

RK spent early years of his professional career in Japan and was inspired by their commitment to quality and work ethics. However, he was concerned about the unfavorable image that the Japanese had of doing business with India in early 1990s - dismal infrastructure, red tape & poor work ethics.

"I felt the need to return to India & try to make a difference" he recalls.

RK returned to India in 1995 and over a period of 10 years, he founded Tenet Technologies, Tenet Telecom & Tenet Retail with business spanning US, Europe & Japan. He also founded India's first Travel Portal, Traveljini.com.

In 2005, on turning 40, he decided to leave the corporate world to engage with the issues of Public Policy & Governance to fulfill his long held desire to make a difference through 'Good Governance & Inclusive Development'.

In 2006, he founded SAHYOG - Indian Council for Public Private Partnership. RK's focus areas are "Sustainable Public Infrastructure in Urban India" and "Livelihood Opportunities for Rural Poor".

In 2008, RK was adjudged the WINNER of LEAD INDIA a nationally televised & voted for initiative to identify new generation political leaders of India.

RK started the "Change India Initiative" to engage educated youth, middle class and working professionals in the matters of public policy and electoral polity.

As Charter President of Rotary Bangalore (IT Corridor) he organized the world's first & only 'Midnight Marathon' as an annual charity fund-raiser for social causes. He is now the Chief Patron of this International Marathon event, which is being held every year in the month of December.

RK's journey from Entrepreneurship to Public Policy & Politics

Video Biography

Here's a glimpse of RK's journey that began in Sonari, a small impoverished village in UP. RK being from the village himself, was fortunate enough to get quality education and emerge successful in life. Now that he had it all, he wanted to help the poverty stricken rural population and came about the 'Integrated Rural Development Initiative' which aims to improve the lives of the poverty stricken existence of the rural population in India. This initiative essentially is local, green and self sustained.He embarked upon a pilot project involving a cluster of 9 villages. 2000 families were assessed and divided among 4 demographic groups based on their needs/possible interventions. Watch to know more...

The Gritty Goal Setter

  1. When asked about his greatest satisfaction, RK poignantly describes the Rural Livelihood project started in his village in Sonari in Sitapur district of UP.

  2. Growing up in a small town and going to a Hindi Medium school in Sitapur district of UP, RK realized the importance of education very early in life. The understanding of the power of education and its reach propelled him to set himself the goal to get into IIT.

  3. The IIT tuition fee of few thousand rupees per year, though a small amount, wasn't easy for his family. He believes that this 'life of limited means' helped shape his personality and thought process.

The Early Entrepreneur

  1. The Lead India movement was an initiative by Times Group on the occasion of the 60th year of Indian Independence. It was launched to identify competent and concerned young Indians who could be potential political leaders. Citizens of India between 25 and 45 years of age participated in the three-stage nationally televised debate. At each stage the public was asked to vote for their choice of candidate and the winner was then declared to be a worthy contender for new generation political leadership of India.The show was not only a huge success but a phenomenon in itself.

  2. RK began his journey as one of 34,000 aspiring young leaders from all over India. It was marked with highs and lows, euphoria and drama, situational problems for the candidates and interrogation about their attitudes & solutions to major challenges facing India.

  3. Young leaders were put through a series of rigorous tasks aimed at testing their leadership skills. In the national finals (Feb 2008), after 10 rounds of challenging tasks, life came full circle for RK Misra.

  4. The combination of his foresight, his ability to think big and his reputation of being a 'doer', proved to be unbeatable. As part of his final round, the finalists were asked to make a case in one minute. RK explained his public private partnership model and his dream project of starting a Rural Development Initiative in his village Sonari (Sitapur) in UP to provide livelihood opportunities to poor farmers. Jury votes, audience polls and mounting SMSes ended with RK being the 'Leader among Leaders'!

Leader Among Leaders

  1. The Lead India movement was an initiative by Times Group on the occasion of the 60th year of Indian Independence. It was launched to identify competent and concerned civilians who could be potential political leaders. Citizens of India between the ages of 25 and 45 participated in the three-stage contest. The winner was not only declared to be a worthy contender for participating in India's next assembly elections but also bagged a seat on the leadership and politics course at Harvard University, and a corpus of Rs 50 lakh for pursuing a public-welfare project of choice. The show was not only a huge success but a phenomenon in itself.

  2. Out of 5088 applications received by Bangalore, 100 were selected for group discussions and 25 were shortlisted for interviews. After gruelling rounds of discussions and debates, the super 8 were chosen and only three were shortlisted after rigorous one-on-one interviews with the jury. The finalist was RK who was chosen to represent Bangalore in the National Finals.

  3. RK began his journey as one of 34,000 valid applications from all over India. It was marked with highs and lows, euphoria and drama, situational problems for the candidates and interrogation about their attitudes to major challenges. The contestants were put through a series of rigorous contests aimed at testing their leadership skills.

  4. In the national finals (Feb 2008), after 10 rounds of challenging tasks, life came full circle for RK Misra. The combination of his foresight, his ability to think big and his reputation of being a 'doer', proved to be unbeatable. As part of his final round, the finalists were asked to make a case in one minute. RK explained his public private partnership model and his dream project of starting a dairy farm in his village Sonari in UP.

  5. Jury votes, audience polls and mounting SMSes ended with RK being the man of the hour.

The Multi-faceted Politician

  1. RK has been engaged with several state governments & central ministries in advisory roles concerning education, livelihood & infrastructure.

  2. He has been part of the Empowered Committee on Infrastructure of Government of Karnataka & is now a member of ABIDe. He also chairs the Development Agenda Task Force of his Constituency in Bangalore. He was the Co-Chair and Convener of CII's Infrastructure Summit SUMINFRA-2007.

  3. As Charter President of the Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor (Dist-3190) RK conceptualized & organized the world’s first & only International Midnight Marathon. This has become an annual fundraiser and engages Bangalore citizens & the corporate world to run & contribute for social causes! Over the years, BIMM has grown to a keenly awaited annual event with runners from over 20 countries and is now an official ‘International Marathon Calendar Event’!

  4. As an environmentalist RK continues to work with government agencies & concerned citizens to save & develop lakes of Bangalore. He is credited with Bangalore's first lake rejuvenation project through a PPP model.

  5. Amidst a plethora of areas that RK continues to contribute to and make a difference in, his heart & vision is firmly set on the transformation of our villages from abject poverty to dignified livelihood. His Rural Livelihood Initiatives in UP have won him praise & respect of rural poor & policy makers alike.

  6. The Governor of Uttar Pradesh conferred on him the "Transformational Leadership Award" in November-2011 for his exemplary work in providing livelihood opportunities to poor farmers through the Community Dairy Project & also for providing employment to rural youth through the Rural BPOs Project.

  7. The country is changing and so is the demography. India with its huge potential of more than 60% of the population being under 35 exhibits great disparity in the growth of Urban and Rural Sectors. RK understands the pulse of both. He views them as complementary and both can prosper together with right policies & responsive polity

  8. "Be the change you want to see" as said by Mahatma Gandhi keeps RK going.

The Indomitable Spirit

  1. RK's personal experience in community Leadership and Public Policy contributed to the citizens of Bangalore witnessing his diehard spirit of perseverance and integrity. The narrow & broken single lane 10 km road from the city to Whitefield suburbia was transformed into one of the best 4 lane roads in Bangalore through RK's efforts. This was achieved though a first-of-its-kind Public Private Partnership initiative where corporate citizens of Whitefield joined hands & shared the cost & execution with the state government - 50:50.

  2. It was a herculean task spanning over 3 years, involving multiple stake holders & government agencies, but RK left no stone unturned in overcoming policy hurdles, financial challenges and red tape. This necessitated the framing of new PPP guidelines, which eventually became government policy, later on.

  3. RK’s efforts were applauded and the government appointed him as the co-chairman of the Empowered Committee on Infrastructure and entrusted him with the improvement of all city roads. This case study in leadership was cited at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government ‘Leaders in Development’ program.

  4. RK walks the talk, with grit and determination etched on his persona - he is a force to reckon with.

The Dreamer and the Doer

  1. RK's faith in Public Private Partnerships is reputed in the political world. Time and again, he has proven that successful Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) leverage private sector strengths & resources to improve the quality, efficiency and delivery, while maintaining an appropriate level of public sector control.

  2. Some of the other Public Private Partnerships that he has been involved with are Improving the Infrastructure of Bangalore, Low Cost Cluster Housing Project for flood affected families in Karnataka, Suvarna Karnataka Growth Corridor aimed at bridging the North South political and economic divide, Mahadevpura-Development Agenda Task Force aimed at providing quality educational facilities and improving employability of graduate students, Kundanahalli Junction Improvement as part of BLR Infra which in turn is a part of CM's Task Force…the list goes on.

  3. RK walks the talk, with grit and determination etched on his persona - he is a force to reckon with.

The Human Behind the Leader

  1. When asked about his greatest satisfaction, RK poignantly describes the Rural Livelihood project started in his village Sonari in Sitapur district of UP

  2. "I see smiles on faces which had no hope earlier. The initiative has yielded tangible results. Each of the surrounding villages has got concreted streets, access roads, grid power connectivity, and they are all slowly but surely on their way to economic independence. Poor farmers have a livelihood opportunity through our community dairy initiative, and unemployed youth can look forward to a bright future having got employment in the Rural BPO without having to leave their village. And the beauty is that except for the Community Dairy & Rural BPO, everything else was done with Government funds. We just saw to it that money was spent well and work was of good quality."

  3. The Rural BPO has revolutionized the concept of bringing jobs to people rather than bringing people to places where the jobs are. More than 100 boys and girls, most of them with little education & no skills have got training and employment in their own village. RK launched this initiative in cooperation with Bangalore-based Rural Shores

  4. Aptly RK quotes, "One needs to understand that even the small earning holds significance for villagers. A moderate but consistent income can give confidence, and change the life of the youth here, that's what we mean by rural empowerment."