Email: shailajachandra1@gmail.com

Independent policy analyst. Oped writer and TV panelist on governance,health, Delhi matters, women’s empowerment and traditional medicine.

 Education & Fellowships.

  • M.Sc. Economics, University of Wales (1981)
  • B.A. (Honours), English Literature from Miranda House, University of Delhi (1964).
  • Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Nantes, France-2012. (Director’s Guest )
  • Senior Visiting Fellow Shiv Nadar University.


Profile in Brief

Shailaja Chandra has been a career civil servant for over 40 years. During this period she was posted in the Central Government for 15 years with assignments in the Ministries of Defence, Power and Health. At the state level, Ms. Chandra has worked in Manipur and Goa and the Union Territories of Delhi and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.On first promotion she became a Secretary in the  Ministry of Health and later distinguished herself as Delhi’s only woman Chief Secretary.

After retirement Ms Chandra held full-time assignments under the Government of Delhi and the Government of India for 5 years as the Chairman  of the Public Grievances Commission from 2004-2006,and Executive Director of the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh-(National Population Stabilisation Fund) from 2004-2009. From 2010-2013 she was commissioned by the Government of India, Ministry of Health& Family Welfare to write a report on the status of Indian medicine in India.

From 2015-2016 Ms Chandra was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Shiv Nadar University at the Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory. She has recently joined as a Member of the Independent Commission on Health engaged in high level independent policy research and analysis of the health sector in India.

From 2012 onwards she has been functioning  as an Independent Director on the Boards of a wide range of Indian Companies.

Ms Chandra has written over 150 opinion pieces mainly on governance, health, population and gender issues which have been published by leading national newspapers. Ms. Chandra is a regular panellist on television invited as an independent public policy analyst and an expert on Governance,Health,Delhi city occurrences and women’s status and leadership issues.


Professional Service

  • Member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) for 38 years.
  • Postings in the Central Government: Ministries of Defense, Power and Health.
  • Postings in the State Governments: Maharashtra, Delhi, Goa, Manipur, and the Andaman & Nicobar Administration.


Engagement in Formulation of Government  Reports. 

  • Member of the Committee for Evolution of the National Education Policy 2015-2016. Report given to the Government in 2016.
  • Single Author of two Reports on the Status of Indian Medicine and Folk Healing published in August 2011 and February 2013. This Report was commissioned by the Government of India and covers the status of research, education, practice, medicinal plants, drugs as well as a critique of national Institutions set up by the Government in the Indian Medicine sector. It can be accessed in full at : http://reporttraditionalindianmedicine.blogspot.com/
  • Chairman of Delhi Government Review Committee (2011-2012.) Was appointed by the Government of Delhi to prepare a new legislation to replace the Delhi School Education Act ‘73 to regulate over 5000 public and private schools in the city with an enrollment of over 4 million children. Report in three volumes presented to the Government of Delhi in January 2012. Available at: http://delhieducationactreviewreport.blogspot.in/
  • Chairman of the Technical Steering Group for piloting the Social Institutions and Gender Index for Indian states set up by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation to prepare a Report on barriers that discriminate against women following the work of OECD’s gender index for nearly 100 countries.


Chairman or Member of High-level Committees set up by Government, Delhi University and Civil Society Organizations.

  • Member of the Governing Body of the National Institute of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India presided by the Union Health Minister. (2014-2016)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India. The CAG is the Supreme Auditor and a constitutional body which audits Government expenditure in the central and state governments          (two year term ended in May 2013.)
  • Chairman of the Delhi Public Library Board an autonomous organization of the Ministry of Culture which runs a network of 57 public libraries across the city.          ( 6 years from 2007)
  • Chairman of the Governing Body of the Dyal Singh College Delhi University a constituent college of the University, from 2009-2012
  • Chairman of the Governing Body of the College of Vocational Studies, a constituent college of Delhi University. (2012-2014)
  • Trustee of Pratham an NGO involved in providing learning skills to underprivileged children in Delhi.         2006-2016.
  • Member of the Governing Council of the Public Interest Foundation presided over by the former Cabinet Secretary.(2012-2014)
  • Member of Governing Body of CanSupport an NGO working for terminally ill patients.(2014-2016)
  • Member of the Independent Commission on Health (2017 –continuing)
  • Also an Independent Director on the Boards of Companies engaged in the power, cement and Ayurveda sectors .

 Distinctions and Awards

  • International Clean Cities Award on behalf of the Government of Delhi for converting the largest fleet of public transport vehicles to CNG.
  • Under her stewardship as Chief Secretary Delhi the Government’s programme Bhagidari- a Citizen-Government Partnership- received the United Nations prize for transparency, accountability and responsiveness in public service.
  • Best E-Health Award for successfully creating an interactive platform to view the spatial distribution of Health facilities in all districts in India using Census data superimposed on GIS maps.
  • Special Award for Advocacy on Population Issues to Shailaja Chandra given by UNFPA –Laadli for creating public awareness about inter- linkages between social development, gender and population issues.
  • Excellence and Achievement Award in Public Administration given to Shailaja Chandra by the Miranda House Alumnae Association


Selected Published Works (Primary Author

  • Published book It Crossed My Mind (New Delhi: Rupa Publications, 2007.) The book was selected by the National Library at Kolkota for being placed in over 400 district libraries throughout the country.
  • Pursuant to the award of a Fellowship given by the Shiv Nadar University (2015-16) published the first comprehensive Book-Report on Unqualified Medical Practitioners in India- the Legal, Medical & Social Determinants of their Practice.http://snu.edu.in/pdf/UMP-BOOK.pdf          (2016)
  • Editor of Making a Difference –Candid Perspectives from Civil Servants published by the National Academy of Administration,Mussoorie and Amazon.in at https://www.amazon.in/dp/B071J6BXQB           (2016)
  • Published a wide variety of interest articles on governance, medical practice and malpractice, population and gender for leading national dailies including The Hindu, Indian Express, the Daily Pioneer, the Tribune and Times of India, Hindustan Times and Deccan Herald. Over 120 articles available at: https://over2shailaja.wordpress.com/

Most recent Op-ed was written on Regulating the Private Health Sector for Business Standard published on 29th September 2017



Co-authored Works

  • The Lancet (May2011) Trends in selective abortions of girls in India: analysis of  Nationally representative birth histories from 1990 to 2005 and census data from 1991 to 2011.

Authors :Prabhat Jha, Maya A Kesler, Rajesh Kumar, Faujdar Ram, Usha Ram, Lukasz Aleksandrowicz, Diego G Bassani, Shailaja Chandra, Jayant K Banthia http://cghr.org/publications/Lancet_Article_missing_girls_india.pdf


Conference Participation (Selected International Events.)

  • Regularly invited by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) to Chair sessions and as a Speaker at the OECD World Forum on the theme of Measuring the Progress of Societies at Istanbul (2007), Busan (2009), to OECD’s Asia-Pacific Conferences in Kyoto (2010) and University of Tokyo (2011) as a Speaker.
  • Chaired a Plenary session at the third World Forum on Measuring the Progress of Societies held at New Delhi in 2012. Was invited as a Speaker for the OECD World Forum on Knowledge, Statistics and Policy held at Guadalajara, Mexico in 2015.
  • Invited by OECD to speak on the sidelines of the Commission on the Status of Women’s Commission Conference at New York 11th March, 2015.
  • Invited to address the first plenary session of the Vienna Policy Dialogue, held in preparation for the 2014 Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) along with discussions on the post-2015 development Agenda. 
  • Invited to a Conference in OECD’s Development Centre for giving expert comments on the global Social Institutions Gender Index prepared by OECD (2010/2011
  • Invited by Centre Pompidou, Paris to participate in a Round Table on Urban Governance (June 2011)
  • Invited by International Institute for Democracy and Elections Assistance (IDEA) to address Conferences organized in Bali and in Kathmandu Nepal (2010) and again Kathmandu and Manila (2011)
  • Invited as an expert to advise at the UNDP  Regional consultation on Human Development in South Asia, held in Kathmandu, Nepal ( October 2012.)
  • Invited by the University of Dundee,Scotland to participate in a Workshop on Alcohol De-Addiction (June 2017)

Participation in Current Events within India

 Ms Chandra has been regularly chairing seminars or speaking at various public forums on issues confronting specific sectors including governance, demography and population, health, education and urban government. She has addressed several conferences and meetings at leading National, academic and NGO forums. These include :

  • Invited by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to address Women Legislators from Indian States at Central Hall of Parliament in December 2015.
  • In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 addressed course participants of the National Defence College on Gender issues.The participants were senior officers of the Defence services and international participants from more than 20 countries.
  • Invited by PRS Legislative Affairs to address the Annual lecture on Parliament and the Executive”.
  • Requested by the Naval TrainingIntegrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) to give a lecture on ‘Women’s Empowerment’ to the spouses of Flag Officers who administer women’s issues at different naval stations.(April2017.)
  • Three Delhi University Colleges to speak on subjects of current social interest including on the Right to Education Act 2009.
  • In 2015 addressed the SDG a select group of intellectuals and opinion makers about the prospects for better governance after the formation of a new Government in Delhi.
  • Addressed the LAMP fellows undergoing training under the aegis of PRS Legislative Affairs before being posted with Members of Parliament.
  • On World Population Day (July 2015) was a speaker in the plenary session of a National Seminar on Population Issues held at the Institute of Economic Growth.
  • In March 2017 was a panelist at a Book Discussion organized by the Centre for Policy Research New Delhi on a recently published book ‘Rethinking Public Institutions in India’. http://www.cprindia.org/events/5951 
  • Spoke at an event organised by the Association for Democratic Rights on “Democratic Functioning of the Election Machinery.”

TV Commentator and Opinion Maker.

Ms Chandra has been interviewed regularly by leading television channels including the NDTV 24x 7, Headlines Today, CNN-IBN, Doordarshan, Rajya Sabha TV, Lok Sabha TV, Zee News and Aaj Tak on matters related to Health, Governance and Delhi Affairs. She continues to participate in TV debates on a wide range of subjects related to her experience.Some appearances are on her Blog:  over2shailaja.worpress.com

You Tubes& Videos

3 Separate Book discussions  on Ms Chandra’s book/reports on Traditional Medicine and her recent publication on Unqualified Medical Practitioners are on You- tube and can be viewed at :