S.K. Misra was born in 1932. He received his MA degree from Allahabad University and joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1956. He served as principal secretary to three chief ministers in Haryana and later as director general of the Festivals of India, and secretary in the Ministries of Agriculture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. He retired from government as principal secretary to the prime minister, after which he served with the UPSC, and as chairman of INTACH. He has created and nurtured numerous institutions, including the Punjab Agricultural University, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) and, currently, the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD). In 2009 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for Distinguished Civil Service.