Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Obituary: Anita Kaul — former IAS and reformer of India's elementary education

RIP Anita Kaul
1979 batch retired IAS officer of Karnataka cadre — Anita Kaul died early this week aged 62. Hailing from Delhi and married to a fellow IAS officer, Mrs Kaul retired as union secretary in the department of justice. But if one piece of her achievement as a civil servant is to be chosen, it’s clearly her stellar role in crafting…
the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. Anita Kaul had a long innings in the union ministry of human resource development (HRD) — first as joint secretary between 2006 and 2010 and then as additional secretary in 2010-2012. It was during this period, she played a key role in the policy changes in the country’s elementary education.
An MA in linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, she did her graduation in German from Fergusson College, Pune.
As an IAS, she was deputy commissioner of Karnataka’s Chickmagalur district. Between 1988 and 1992, she was in Delhi on Central government deputation. First, she was a deputy secretary in the department of culture and then in the department of education. 
Apart from serving in Bengaluru, Mrs Kaul was also posted in Karnataka’s Gulbarga and Shimoga. She rose up to the rank of additional chief secretary in the state before being appointed as union secretary. 
A notable feature of her 35 years long career in IAS was that she spent as high as 25 years in social sectors including education, health, nutrition and issues related to women and children.
In HRD ministry at the Centre, she played a key role in enforcing the Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act, 2002 that had provisions of making free and compulsory education a Fundamental Right.
She was a life member on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of Education and Development, Jaipur. This is a body that works in integrated education of adolescents. She was also a Member of the governing body of Hyderabad-based Rainbow Foundation that works in the field of street and homeless children. She was also a member of the board of directors in the Centre on the Death Penalty under National Law University, New Delhi. Post retirement, she became the director of New Delhi-based research organization — Council for Social Development.


  1. RIP mam..your works will motivate us always..

  2. Rest in peace mam. We salute you. We will continue this work to make it a revolution.

  3. Rest in peace mam. We salute you. We will continue this work to make it a revolution.

  4. As an enthusiastic student journalist, I had met Anita Kaul as part of the District Primary Education Program (DPEP) "Nali Kali" initiative. She was my primary interviewer and selected me for the 3 month internship.
    During the field trips, if she saw me working and missing lunch, she would walk up to me and say: "Have your lunch. This work is continuous. You need to take care of yourself."
    After my internship, she was pleased with my effort and advised me to take the IAS exam and become an IAS officer. Because "we need talent and capable, young people like you"
    I was a rookie and yet, she made me feel like I was capable of accomplishing the toughest jobs.
    I realize now what an impact she had on me and I was so sad to read the news of her passing away. It's an honor to have worked with her.

  5. As Secretary, DFEE she initiated River and Lake Conservation Programme in Karnataka striving hard to collect information from DCs. She was really a driving force in secretariat. May her soul RIP.

  6. Heartfelt condolences to Sanjay and family. Anita was indeed one of the stars in India and Karnataka for strengthening primary education and school education especially for girls and for the left out. RIP.

  7. Rest in Peace Ma'am. You really were a great human being. Will always remember your warmth and humility.