Shri Nanda Kumar joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1972 and was allotted Bihar Cadre. He has held many important assignments in the State including District Collector of the Districts of Madhubani and Dhanbad; Divisional Commissioner of Gaya; Secretary Industries, Bihar; Additional Chief Secretary to Government of Jharkhand, etc. He has also attended various short term training programmes in Universities of UK, France, and US including Harvard University.
He served as Chairman, Spices Board in Cochin under the Government of India for a period of 5 years during which time the changeover to WTO regime took place globally. The background work done by him has enabled the Spices Board to increase its exports consistently. He also did an assignment in United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Bangladesh for 3 years.
He was appointed the Food Secretary of Government of India in 2006 and was appointed Agriculture Secretary of Government of India in 2008 from which position he retired in 2010. He has handled the drought of 2009 while he was the Agriculture Secretary.
Post retirement, he was given a special assignment to chair the Committee of Secretaries for optimizing the fertilizers usage in the context of emerging food security concerns and was a Member of National Disaster Management Authority with the rank of Minister of State in the Government of India from October 2010- February 2014.
His work on “Impact of Uruguay Round on Global Spice Trade” was published by International Trade Centre (WTO), Geneva in the form of a book. He writes regularly for Economic Times, Business Lines, and Indian Express. He was also Member of many Committees of Planning Commission including the Committee on Employment for Jammu & Kashmir, Committee for Promotion of Cold Chains etc.