'Footprints on the Sands' is no "run of the mill" memoir


New Delhi [India], Dec 1 (ANI): 'Footprints on the Sands'- launched with fanfare by former President Pranab Mukherjee and former Union Minister Dr Karan Singh is not just another memoir by a civil servant. The book authored by Rajeeva Ratna Shah transcends the boundaries of the run of the mill autobiographies of civil servants in as much as it has several well-researched monographs on administrative/ managerial/ general/ historical/ and technological subjects of contemporary interest. It also gives important insights into the problems and aspirations of civil servants. Simultaneously it gives valuable insights into the style of working of contemporary top political leadership. The book has been hailed by renowned author Vikram Seth. He says, "The astonishing variety of experience in this book makes it virtually a history of our times as well as a compendium of the issues that have faced and are facing our country. Acuity, initiative and decisiveness are increasingly rare qualities in politics and administration. So is a deeply-felt understanding of our culture. And so, sadly, is probity. These qualities are all exemplified by the author. Personally, I feel that it should be read not only by anyone thinking of being (or training to be) a civil servant, but also by anyone interested in our post-independence history". Former President Pranab Mukherjee found the "treatment of technological issues of mind-boggling complexity very skilfully handled" in the book. He also commended the author's special skills in policy formulation. Dr Karan Singh brought out the fact that besides his many successes his most notable ones are UID or Unique ID which is now called Aadhaar and NeGP or National eGovernance Programme which is now called e-Kranti. The former has become worlds largest biometric-based ID programme and the latter has permeated almost all departments of Government of India. CEO NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant called Shah a very effective District Magistrate and a visionary thinker who has laid the foundations of Digital India on which a great edifice has been built since NITI AYOG came into existence. He suggested that Footprints on the Sands should be prescribed as a textbook for the young IAS officers in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy in Mussoorie as well as for all trainees of Central Services. Rajya Sabha Member Swapan Dasgupta maintained that the authors handling of unchartered domains of new economy and digital society were the high points of the book of which the author can be proud. The author Rajeeva Ratna Shah is a civil servant cast in a classical mould, result-oriented, problem-solving, a determined doer, and a successful management practitioner. He is remembered in his State for his tenures as Administrator Lucknow, Kumbh Mela Officer, District Magistrate Aligarh and Principal Secretary of Home and Power Departments, and Secretary to Chief Minister VP Singh. In Government of India he had distinguished tenures in Cabinet Secretariat, MHA, DIPP, Trade Commissioner New York, Department of IT, and Planning Commission. While in MHA he drafted the regulatory framework under NCT Act. He framed the Rules of business and Transaction of Business Rules for NCT of Delhi. The Border Management Division was created on the basis of his Border Management report which resulted in border fencing of Pakistan and Bangladesh borders. He was also associated with the raising RAF(Rapid Action Force), an anti-riot force and UP-STF (Special Task Force), created to control organised crime. Rajeeva Ratna Shah's career is replete with a series of innovations. He introduced Private FM Radio channels in India, Digitisation of DD, DTT or Digital Terrestrial TV, DD News Channel. He made the regulatory framework for DTH (or Direct to Home TV), and the blueprint for NDMA (or National Disaster Management Authority). He founded CICs (Community Information Centres) covering entire North-East. These CICs became the model for CSCs (Community Service Centres) which are providing the backbone of the rural digital networks. He founded CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Teams) as first responders for Cyber Security Infractions. He also introduced the Public Key Infrastructure or the Digital Signature regime in India. Shah also created two other institutions viz NIXI (National Internet X-change of India) and NISG (National Institute of Smart Governance). Footprints on the Sands tells the saga of all these innovations. (ANI)