Dr. Rita Sharma is secretary to the National Advisory Council of the Government of India. Since 1974, Dr. Sharma has held numerous government positions in India, working in the areas of agricultural development, food security, poverty alleviation, rural livelihood, natural resource management, gender, and financial management. As a public servant, she has assumed various positions: secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Rural Development, special secretary in the Department of Agricultural Research and Education; commissioner of land resources and extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, and principal secretary and financial commissioner in the Department of Finance in the state government of Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Sharma was the prime mover of programs and projects for poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, employment, and risk management in rural areas.
Dr. Sharma was instrumental in drafting the State and National Agriculture Policy and in making policies that govern intellectual property management and commercialization of technologies in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. She has negotiated several multilateral and bilateral development projects; has represented India in the FAO, CGIAR, and the World Bank; and was nominated as co-chair for Asia for the consultative process leading to the International Assessment for Agriculture Science and Technology for Development. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Agroforestry Center. Dr. Sharma holds an MS and a PhD in development economics from Cornell University and an MS in physics from Delhi University.