Jahwar Sircar

Jawhar Sircar


42 years in public service: I have spent more than a dozen years, without a break, in Education, Culture & Media.

Recently, I demitted office of CEO, Prasar Bharati, the world’s largest public service broadcaster, that looks after 413 stations of All India Radio and 67 Kendras of Doordarshan -TV stations in India.

After serving the organisation from February, 2012 to October, 2016, I resigned from this top statutory post of India and despite differences, the NDA Government honoured and acknowledged my services.

In my tenure of 4.5 years, I could turn around the public broadcaster a bit, adopting transparent methodology, through policy analysis, introspection and change: from infructuous investment in obsolete technologies.

In Doordarshan we could move from archaic Terrestrial to Digital transmission and could also divert investments in AIR from the dying Medium Wave to FM Radio transmission, which opens it up to 80 crore mobile handsets.

Prasar Bharati is also a classic case of myopic handling of a public institution by government, and evidence on “how not to govern”.

I was awarded the ‘Best CEO of the Year 2013’ by EMMA for radical improvement of DD News and also honoured by the Institute of Directors.

Retired as Secretary, Ministry of Culture of the Govt. of India: from 2008 to 2012 (the longest-serving one), where I could introduce several policy reforms in cultural administration, several new schemes and take up mammoth ventures like worldwide celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore.

Was awarded the first ever British Museum Silver Medal for “outstanding contribution” to museum reforms.

On 2nd December, 2009, PM, Manmohan Singh said: “I compliment Jawhar Sircar for his enthusiasm, for his commitment, for his knowledge and I am very happy that the Ministry of Culture is being served by such a very distinguished civil servant of our country”.

Between, 2003 & 2006, I was Principal Secretary, Education & Culture, in West Bengal.

Could help in bringing major reforms in the curriculum of orthodox universities like Calcutta.

I was drafted into Committees by the UGC, AICTE and could participate in national level policy-making in Higher Education. Was a Member of several bodies, including the Board of Governors of IIM, Kolkata.

I was also actively involved in many cultural and academic institutions, like the Kolkata Museum of Modern Art and the Asiatic Society.

Between 2006 & 2008, I was the first Additional Secretary & Development Commissioner of the Govt. of India, for the new category of MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) that replaced the Small-Scale Industries (SSI) and expanded the ambit.

I could introduce the ‘Cluster Development Scheme’ for MSMEs, to give them collective bargaining strength and introduced self governing norms/standards, to get over shoddy production techniques.

I was also involved in extending ‘Micro-Finance’ as a bridge between the formal financial sector and the informal money lending sector.

Could give a fillip to Skill Development, as a ‘National Policy’ rather than an ancillary work.

I have spent nearly 18 of my 37 years of service in Finance and Industry, both at the Centre and in the State Government.

To sum up:

In administration, I have tried to introduce the much-required component of introspection, policy review, academic linkage and broaden the discourse, from the ‘bureaucratic’ to ‘public concerns’.

Focussed on the transformation of the Civil Services, over last 5 decades, i.e.,

  • the expansion of its domain under the ‘socialist system’ and the ‘permit control raj’
  • the ‘liberalisation’ of the economy in 1991 and its impact on it
  • the formal take-over of decision-making and ‘statuses’ by the political class, subordinating decisively the erstwhile ‘steel frame’
  • the increasing ‘cronyism’ in distribution of public resources
  • the ever-expanding domain of a lesser-relevant bureaucracy, through executive orders, and the contriving of newer forms of corruption.
NB: I need to work on this aspect, where I have the advantage of with an ‘endoscopic’ experience.

In Public Administration/Affairs, I have expertise in handling:

  • Cultural Policies, including art, museums & libraries
  • Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Skill development
  • Media, its Digital Transformation & Corporatization
  • Education, at grass-roots & at higher levels
  •  Finance, especially for MSMEs


As Industry Secretary of West Bengal, I helped commission the muchdelayed multi-billion Dollar Haldia Petro Chemicals, and steered it for the first 3 turbulent years.

Helped organize the world’s largest Book Fair at Kolkata, right from its inception in 1977.

Was the moving force behind the upgradation of the Kolkata International Film Festival from “4 auditoria + 60 films” to “10 auditoria + 250 films” set up.