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Born into an illustrious family on 8th August 1948 Shri Kapil Sibal obtained his Post-Graduate Degree in History from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College before pursuing a Masters Degree at the Harvard Law School. He cleared the elite Civil Services Examination, but preferred a career in Law. He joined the Bar in 1972 and was designated a Senior Advocate in 1983. He was the Additional Solicitor General of India between 1989 and 1990.
As a Member of the legal profession, Shri Sibal has contributed to several landmark decisions by the Supreme Court, which were considered as turning points in the course of governance of the nation. After holding public office, Shri Sibal has suspended active practice since May, 2004.
He was nominated as a Member of the Governing Body of St. Stephen’s College and the Member of the Board of Management of the Indira Gandhi National Open University in 1993. He also was the Co-Chairman of the Indo-US Parliamentary Forum and Member of the Board of International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (New York) since 2002 to till now. He was also nominated as a Member of the Programme Board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS Initiative in the year 2001.
He was designated Spokesperson of the Indian National Congress in 1999, 2004 and 2009.
He was appointed as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences in the year 2004 and elevated to Cabinet rank in the same Ministry in the year 2006. As a Minister for Science & Technology, Shri Sibal gave a new direction to the efforts of the scientific community and developed several policies for inculcating a scientific temper amongst youth and attracting talent to research in sciences. A proactive Minister, he led from the front and was the first ever Member of Parliament to have visited the icy continent of Antarctica in February 2005, experiencing sub-zero temperatures to ascertain the hardships faced by scientists at India’s base at Maitri. He was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award for the year 2004-05 by the Indian Science Congress Association during the 92nd Indian Science Congress held between 3-7 January, 2005. He was conferred the Degree of Doctorate in Literature (Honoris Causa) at the 55th Annual Convocation of Panjab University held in February 2006. He also led the Indian delegation to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Bali in December 2007, personally piloting several of the complex negotiations on vital issues of climate change. He was also responsible to set up an Indian Research Station in the Arctic in July, 2008.
In May, 2009, he was appointed as Minister of Human Resource Development. In that capacity, he has initiated several path breaking reforms in education. The historic guarantee of the right to free and compulsory elementary education to every child became a reality under his stewardship. This enactment has the potential to unleash the latent energies of the children of India and make them productive members of society. His vision is to universalize access to quality secondary education by the year 2020. Higher education has seen a significant overhaul in its governance and regulatory structures. Seven different legislations that would articulate his government’s vision, enabling India to emerge as a knowledge provider to the world economy, have been drafted. These legislations are all directed towards the goal of making quality higher education accessible to all, irrespective of paying capacities. Equality and inclusion have been at the heart of these efforts as it is his belief that education and acquisition of skills will be instrumental in alleviating poverty and want. He was Inducted into the Honorary Senate of the prestigious Lindau Foundation at the 59th Meeting of the Noble Laureates at Germany in June 2009 and honoured with the prestigious Stephen P.Duggan Award for Mutual Understanding by New Your based Institute of International Education (IIE) in September, 2010. He has been recently conferred the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2010. He has been entrusted with the additional charge of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology since November, 2010.
Education Across Borders: The India Perspective
as author at MIT World Series: The B&K Securities MIT India Forum,