Shri N. Gopalaswami, I.A.S. (Retd.)
ChairpersonMadras Institute of Development Studies 79, II Main Road, Gandhinagar, Adyar, Chennai 600020 Telephone: 0091-44-24412589 24411574 24420204 24419771; Extn:322; Fax: 0091 44 24910872
N Gopalaswami a former Chief Election Commissioner of India (2006-2009) is a Padma Bhushan awardee (2015). Native of Needamangalam (then in Thanjavur district) he did his schooling at Mannargudi and graduation from St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli. A Gold Medalist Post-graduate in Chemistry from Delhi University (1965), Mr Gopalaswami joined the I.A.S (1966) and served in the State of Gujarat for 25 years, in various positions, including in the Departments of Education and Revenue, the Gujarat Electricity Board and finally as MD of Gujarat Communications and Electronics before moving to Delhi (1992) to serve in Government of India (GoI). During the early eighties, he earned a Diploma in Urban Development Planning (1982) from the University of London.
While in the GoI, he served in the Department of Electronics in charge of Software Development Division; in the Planning Commission in Charge of Education, Culture and Sports; in the National Human Rights Commission as its Secretary General ; as Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and later as Union Home Secretary before being appointed as Election Commissioner (2004) and later as Chief Election Commissioner (2006).During his stewardship, the Election Commission successfully implemented many innovations most important out of them being the introduction of Photo Electoral Rolls to improve the quality and prevent impersonation, and Age-cohort analysis of Electoral Rolls to improve their fidelity and accuracy.
As secretary Culture in GoI (2001-2002), he got the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to approve the incorporation of Darasuram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temples (Tamilnadu), Champaner Fort Complex (Gujarat) and Bimbetka, the Pre-Historic painting site (Madhya Pradesh ) in the list of World Heritage Sites. He also was instrumental in having 'VEDIC Chanting' incorporated by UNESCO in the list of World's Oral Heritage.
Government of India appointed him (November 2014) to head a committee to prepare a vision document for Sanskrit education which was finalised and submitted in February 2015.
In 2015 he was conferred with Padma Bhushan award for his distinguished career and service as a civil servant. He was till recently Chairman of KALAKSHETRA Foundation, Chennai (2014-19) the premier Dance Teaching Institution founded (1936) by the legendary Dancer, theosophist and animal rights activist Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale. In 2018 February he was appointed to head the Empowered Expert Committee to select 20 Institutions (Institutions of Excellence), both public and private, who had the potential to become World class institutions. This task was completed by mid-2019 and the selected institutions are now being mentored by the same committee.
He is currently the President of Vivekananda Educational Society which runs a group of 25 schools in and around Chennai. He is also currently the Chancellor of the National Sanskrit University at Tirupathi. He heads the Madras Sanskrit college's Executive Committee.
He is conversant in Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit and English.