Mr. Ram Sewak Sharma
An officer of the 1978 Jharkhand cadre Indian Administrative Services batch, Ram Sewak Sharma is the Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology (under Ministry of Communications and Information Technology), Government of India. In recent times, he has been instrumental in some key policy initiatives of the Narendra Modi government such as Digital India drive and local electronics manufacturing initiatives. In 2008, he was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Administration for his impeccable service record and outstanding contributions. IIT Kanpur has conferred upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award 2016 for management excellence.
Born in 1955 in a small village in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Sharma had to struggle hard to complete his early education as his village had no primary school until a few years ago. However, his zest for knowledge, especially for Science took him to the University of Allahabad where he pursued a bachelor's degree in the subject. Following it, he joined the Indian Institute of Technology in 1974 to pursue a Master's in Mathematics. In 1978, he joined the Indian Administrative Services.
Throughout his administrative career, he has held several key positions including:
- Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand.
- Jharkhand's Principal Secretary (Public Health and Engineering).
- Secretary IT, Human Resource Development, Panchayati Raj, Personnel and Drinking Water & Sanitation.
- Principal Secretary to the Governor from 1 January 2003 to 11 June 2003.
- Deputy Development Commissioner in Saharsa.
- District Collector in Begusarai, Purnea in the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance.
- Nodal Officer for the IMF, MIGA and GEF.
In 1986, Mr. Sharma wrote a program in DBASE, a programming language, that enabled record keeping for all stolen firearms in the crime-prone district. As soon as the firearm would be found, the program would run a search query among thousands of age-old records. It proved to be vital as they could solve 22 cases in just 30 days thus impressing the State government. However, his honesty, integrity and die-hard commitment to serve his country selflessly often spelled troubles for him. He was transferred nine times in a span of 6 years in Jharkhand.
In 2000, he took a mid-career break to fulfill his long standing dream of doing higher studies and went to the University of California, Riverside, to study Masters in Computer Science. From 2009 to 2013, he served as the Director General, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and was largely instrumental in bringing Aadhaar to life in record time. He even wrote the first version of a client software that was used to enroll people into the Aadhaar database.
Besides being an honest bureaucrat who is seen as a rarity in today's bureaucratic world, Mr. Ram Sewak Sharma is also an IT expert. Nandan Nilekani, one of the most respected names in the Indian information technology space, once famously described Mr. Ram Sewak Sharma, the then information technology secretary, as 'a bureaucrat who can also write code as well as the best software folks I know'.
Achievements and Honors
- Recipient of Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2016 by IIT Kanpur.
- Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Administration, 2008.