S Vijay Kumar joined TERI as Distinguished Fellow, in November 2013. Prior to that, he was a member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) which staffs the senior positions of India’s bureaucracy at Central and State levels. He has served as Permanent Secretary of the India’s Ministry of Rural Development (2012-13) and as Additional Secretary and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Mines (2008-2011).
In TERI he works on policy issues related to natural resources, including land, water and minerals and mentors TERI colleagues in natural resource related sectors, and advises on TERI project design and implementation strategies, including policy aspects. He also leads the TERI-wide initiative on SDGs and Policy Coordination to ensure that research on SDGs and related policy across the Institute is better coordinated. He also convenes the meetings of the Sub-Committee of Distinguished Fellows constituted to improve the policy focus of TERI. He has authored, along with colleagues in TERI, policy papers on mineral resources, environmental governance, water resources etc.
He is also the Leader of the Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition India programme , which is being implemented since 2019 by a consortium of four institutions, namely The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Council for Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A). The FOLU Coalition work in India focuses on increasing the sustainability of Indian agriculture and improving the nutritional status of India through better food production and waste reduction practices.
In addition to his work in TERI:
- He prepared a Report in January 2014 on the request of the Ministry of Rural Development on "Restructuring of the National Institute of Rural Development" (NIRD)
- He was a Member of the Task Force appointed in March 2015 by the Madhya Pradesh Government at the instance of the NITI Aayog to draw up a new approach to poverty elimination (Report 2015)
- He was co-chair of the committee set up by the Ministry of Rural Development in June 2015 for selecting private sector partners to champion its skill development programme Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU GKY) (2015-2017)
- He was a Consultant to the NITI Aayog in the rural development and rural transportation sectors for development of their Vision and strategic Plan for the Government of India
- He was a member of a 3 member international review committee set up in 2016, which gave the Report on the Strategic Plan for CIRDAP (Centre on Integrated Rural development of Asia and the Pacific) a regional, intergovernmental and autonomous organisation, established at the initiative of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- He was a Member of the Board of Governors of the Institute for Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) in 2016-17
- He chaired the High-Level Committee appointed by the Ministry of Rural Development in 2017 at the instance of the Supreme Court of India, to prepare guidelines/rules for accreditation of VOs/NGOs
- He is a Member since 2018 of The Resource Efficiency Steering Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
- He was a Member the National Steering Committee under the Centrally sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan of the Ministry of Panchayat Raj.
He is a Member since 2015 of the United Nations' International Resource Panel (IRP) which considers issues relating to governance of resources and poverty and prepares science -based policy related reports on natural resource management, resource use efficiency and environmental impacts of resource use. He is a contributing author to the 2019 IRP Report “Mineral Resource Governance" and a member of the IRP Working Group on “Socio-economic implications of Resource efficiency" and the IRP Working Group on the “Role of Resources in Environmental Displacement and Migration". He is also a Member of the IRP Working Group on 'Finance for Mineral Extraction for Sustainable Development'.
He is a Contributing Author to the Routledge Handbook of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development (Edited by Natalia Yakovleva and Edmund Nickless) (2022).
In his earlier career in the Government, S Vijay Kumar was a member of the Indian Administrative Service and has held District, Divisional and State level positions dealing with land, personnel and police administration. In the Central Govt, he has been Director, National Wastelands Development Mission, Ministry of Environment and Forest, 1986-91; Joint Secretary in charge of the Govt's flagship programme, the Prime Ministers Rural Roads programme (called PMGSY), 2002-05; Additional Secretary and Secretary, Ministry of Mines 2008-11, and Secretary Ministry of Rural Development 2012-13.
S Vijay Kumar's notable achievements in his stints in the Government include:
- Drafting the Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWDP) Guidelines in 1991
- Land records computerisation in Himachal Pradesh,1996-98
- Drafting the Operations Manual for the PM's Rural roads programme (incorporating environmental and social safeguards) and negotiating loans from World Bank ($400 mill.) and ADB ($500 mill.), 2004
- Drafting and piloting till enactment, of the reformist Himachal Pradesh Police Act, 2007
- Chairing the Committee on restructuring of the Geological Survey of India, 2008-09
- Drafting and piloting till Cabinet approval, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011
- Development of the "Sustainable Development Framework" for the Minerals sector, 2011
- Member, Committee on allocation of Natural Resources under chairmanship of Secretary Economic Affairs, 2011
- Member, Planning Commission Committee to draft the "National Manufacturing Plan", 2011
- Chairman, Planning Commission Working Group on the Mineral Sector, for the XII Plan, 2011
- Development of Guidelines for the Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellows Scheme; "Aajeevika" skill development scheme for BPL youth; Indira Aawaas Yojana; and for the follow-on programme to the rural roads programme (PMGSY); during 2012-13.