SM Vijayanand is an officer of the 1981 batch of the IAS, belonging to the Kerala cadre. Almost his entire career was in Rural Development, Local Governance, and Decentralized Planning. He coordinated Kerala's People's Planning for fifteen years non stop from the day it started in 1996. During this period he nurtured Kudumbashree, a highly successful SHG programme in the country and was active in moulding the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) into an institution of excellence in the training of Elected Representatives.
He worked as Deputy Secretary, and later as Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development. As Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj during 2015-16, he was instrumental in introducing the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) in the country. He retired as Chief Secretary of Kerala in 2017 Post retirement, he headed the Sixth State Finance Commission of Kerala. He is now a member of the Governing Body of leading NGOs like PRADAN, Banyan, Pallium India, Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation, COSTFORD etc. He chairs the Laurie Baker Centre, and the Centre for Management Development in Trivandrum, and the School for Democracy in Rajasthan.