Speaker Profiles

The Honourable Kamal Nath

The Honourable Kamal Nath

Minister for Road Transport and Highways

Government of India

Mr. Kamal Nath is the Minister for Road Transport and Highways of India.  He was previously, for five years, from 2004 to 2009, the Commerce & Industry Minister in the Union Cabinet.  

As Commerce & Industry Minister of India, Kamal Nath enunciated India’s first comprehensive Foreign Trade Policy in 2004, laying out a coherent roadmap with a twin focus on exports as well as employment.  He was successful in tripling India’s foreign trade within this period, and engineering a seven-fold increase in FDI in-flows to India.
Significant strides have also been made in the areas of Intellectual Property and Industrial Design.

His firm grasp of economic issues and consummate diplomatic skills were evident in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, where he emerged as one of the chief architects of the G-20 and G-33 Alliances and the NAMA 11. The WTO Ministerial at Hong Kong in 2005 was marked by his championship of the cause of developing countries.

Mr. Kamal Nath joined the Indian National Congress Party in 1968 as a Youth Worker, and was elected to Parliament from the Chhindwara constituency for the first time in 1980.  He has won Parliamentary elections from the same constituency eight times.  Chhindwara, situated in India’s largest state of Madhya Pradesh, is predominantly a tribal district having a population of more than 2 million.

As a first-time Member of Parliament Mr. Kamal Nath represented India in the United Nations General Assembly in 1982 and 1983.  He also attended the International Parliamentary Union Conferences held in Nicaragua (1987), Guatemala (1988) and Cyprus (1990).  For sometime he served on the Board of Directors of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), a Government of India Undertaking.

Mr. Kamal Nath was first inducted into the Union Council of
Ministers in 1991.  During his four year tenure as Minister of Environment & Forests of India Mr. Nath made a remarkable contribution to the enunciation and development of the National Policy on Ecological Conservation and the Abatement of Pollution.  His policy initiatives include the establishment of Environment Tribunals, the concept of Environment Audit, special measures for the further protection and conservation of wildlife – fauna as well as flora, and the establishment of Environment Brigades and Afforestation Brigades so as to enthuse the youth and involve them, as well as many Non-Governmental Organizations, in active participation in the conservation of the environment.  The afforestation and development of degraded wastelands in India was taken up on a massive scale under his stewardship.  He enunciated global concepts on Environmental Tariffs and conceptualized Global Emission Quotas. At the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, Mr. Kamal Nath emerged as one of the chief spokesmen for developing countries, and contributed significantly to the contours of the Climate Change Convention, the Biodiversity Conservation Convention and the Forestry Agreement.

His tenure as Environment & Forests Minister of India is still remembered for the remarkable achievements in myriad areas, particularly in that of environmental awareness and sustainable development, when he succeeded in blunting the confrontation between environmental concern and economic development.

From 1995 to 1996, he was Textiles Minister of India. During his tenure the country touched new heights in production & export of cotton, and the New Textiles Policy was successfully launched to achieve an all time high exports of garments & fabrics.

Mr. Nath was educated at the prestigious Doon School, and subsequently obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.  In 2006, Jabalpur’s Rani Durgavati University conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his remarkable contribution to public life.

Kamal Nath’s contribution to higher education is manifest in the establishment of the prestigious Institutes of Management Technology in Ghaziabad, Nagpur and Dubai; and his commitment to social welfare is evident in his patronage for the past two decades of the Child Development Council of Madhya Pradesh.

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