Mehta was born at Jodhpur in Rajasthan. He is a graduate of Arts and Law from Rajasthan University. He also studied at Royal Institute of Public Administration, London, UK and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
D.R. Mehta joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1961 and held numerous important positions initially in the Government of Rajasthan and later in the Government of India.
Mehta served as chairman of SEBI, the regulator of the capital markets in India, from 1995 to 2002. SEBI is the Indian equivalent of the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). During Mehta’s tenure, a slew of economic reforms were introduced making the Indian capital market one of the most modern and efficient ones in the world, attracting both the local and foreign investors in large numbers.
From 1992 to 1995 Mehta served as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which is the Central Bank of India. Still earlier, from 1991 to 1992 he was the Director General of Foreign Trade, Government of India, and Ministry of Commerce. Prior to this from 1989 to 1991, Mehta was Additional Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance, dealing with banking.
From 1974 to 1989, except for a period of five years in between when he was serving the Ministry of Finance in the Government of India, Mehta had served the State Government of Rajasthan in various senior positions as the Secretary to the Government, in the Departments of Industries, Mines, and Special Programs of the Poor etc. During this period he was the Secretary to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
D.R. Mehta has been active in social field throughout his life. He set up Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti(BMVSS)in Jaipur in 1975 and is now its full-time honorary volunteer. Under his leadership, BMVSS emerged as the largest organization for the handicapped in the world, providing artificial limbs / calipers and other aids and appliances for free. More than 1 million people have been its beneficiaries so far.
Mehta's focus on combining social service with science led to an MOU between Stanford University and BMVSS, resulting in the development of a new Knee Joint called the Jaipur Knee. It was hailed by the Time Magazine as one of the 50 Best Inventions of the World for the year 2009.
Mehta is also a well-known animal activist. He has started and has been associated with some animal homes, and has also published literature on animal welfare.
D.R. Mehta has been honored at national and international levels. In 2008 he was conferred with the Padma Bhushan by the President of India. Mehta received the TECH Museum Award for Innovation and Its Use for Humanity in Silicon Valley in November 2007. He is also a recipient of The Indian for Collective Action Award, DIWALI BEHAN Award(conferred by Dalai Lama), CNBC Award for Social Enterprise, Satpal Mittal Award, etc. Mr. Mehta is also a director on the Europe / Asia Board of the Alfred Sloan School of Management, MIT, USA. D R Mehta has been also bestowed upon by the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award this Year. The Award, which carries a citation and a cash award of Rs five lakh, has been given for his outstanding contribution towards promotion of communal harmony, peace and goodwill. In 2013 he was conferred with the rajasthan ratan by rajasthan government