Saurabh Rao, a 2003 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, was recently appointed municipal commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation.
Prior to becoming commissioner in 2018, he has served in various capacities in the state government. He was appointed district collector for Nagpur in 2014 and later for Pune as well where he served for a period of four years. He has also worked as assistant collector in Wardha and was appointed chief executive officer of the zilla parishad in Gondia. Rao has also served as collector and district magistrate in Nandurbar.
With such vast experience, Rao brings with him an immense understanding of Pune city. He has won accolades for his work in the city as district collector, during which he played an active role in the implementation of the Jalyukta Shivar scheme, which was aimed at ensuring water availability in drought-prone areas.
His other achievements include his contribution towards rescue and rehabilitation operations during a major landslide at Malin (Pune) in 2014, and his involvement in finalising the proposal for a new greenfield international airport at Purandar in Pune which has now been approved by the Ministry of Defence.
A master’s in Political Science, Rao knows the challenges currently being faced by the citizens of Pune city, especially in terms of mobility. In this context, he has devised sustainable solutions such as the introduction of 500 electric buses and doubling of the existing fleet of buses. He further plans to promote the bus rapid transit system in the city and improve non-motorised transport infrastructure by implementing bicycle sharing and pedestrian safety policies.
Rao believes in taking an integrated approach to work which is in tandem with all the other agencies and institutes, in a bid to enable holistic growth and development of the city. “As commissioner my responsibility is to serve the citizens better,” he says. To this end, he aims to ensure that Pune retains its position on the Ease of Living Index as the most liveable city, by focusing on sustainable mobility, waste water management systems as well as by improving citizen engagement and collaboration.
He and his wife Dr. Priyanka have two children, Vasavi and Aanjaneya, who are currently pursuing their education in Pune.