Professional Journey of an Engineer to Civil Servant with expertise in Accounting
“It is never too late to choose what you like”
Choosing a profession is one of the most important decisions we ever make and is also the best opportunity, we will ever have to create positive differences in the world. At each and every stage of our wide life span, it is our inbuilt desire to improve and advance ourselves to be successful, and then factors like age and time all seems small in this fire of will to achieve something out of this world.
The protagonist of this edition of MBM Story Dr. Ajay Shankar Singh has been an inspiration to many and to him life has always been a journey that is filled with self-discovery, curiosity and passion for knowledge. After completing his Engineering in Electronics and Communications in the year 1989 , he worked in Semi Government Companies manufacturing wireless equipment. To enhance his career prospects, Dr. Singh completed MBA from R.A. Podar College, Jaipur in 1993 and in the year 1994 ,he cleared prestigious Indian Civil Accounts Services ( ICAS).
From serving Indian Govt. in various departments like ICAS, Ministry of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Labour & Employment to contributing globally in the field of finance and accounts, Dr. Singh he has done it all. At the time when the word “Blockchain” was unheard by most of the people, he wrote an informative book on “Blockchain Technology”, which is the underlying technology behind the digital currency Bitcoin or in simpler words, a beautiful path to the future.
Dr.Singh ,a man of patience and human nature, has been working on various social causes such as promoting education, helping divyangs, working with the needy and has organized awareness campaigns on personal finance and introduced people to the blockchain.
Early life and Schooling :
Born in 1968 on 2nd May in a tiny village in eastern UP, he did his primary schooling from the village. 6th and 7th from nearby village and then moved to Alwar in Rajasthan. Studied in schools in Alwar, Udaipur and completed higher secondary from Churu (those days it was 10+1 system in Rajasthan). Completed BSc First year (12th equivalent) from Maharaja College Jaipur in 1985.
He was the youngest among the brothers and sister of a family of traditional land owners. His father was a much respected school teacher and unopposed Pradhan (Sarpanch equivalent of Rajasthan) of the village panchayat for 15 years. His father devoted his entire life in grooming students of the area including his own sons and daughter.
Higher Education and Academics :
Dr.Singh had joined electronics and communication engineering course in 1985 through PET exam conducted for Rajasthan’s only a few engineering colleges during those days. After completing his engineering, he worked in semi-government companies manufacturing wireless equipment. Thereafter he did MBA from RA Podar, Jaipur in 1993 and subsequently joined civil service.
During the course of his professional journey, he completed MA (Economic), PGDM and PhD (Pub Adm) also. Based on his experience of corporatization of mints and presses, he wrote his thesis and awarded doctorate on the subject. It has been very widely referred while going in for corporatization of ordnance factories of India. He has co-authored a book on Blockchain Technology and written several articles on the BlockChain, public financial management, Governance and counterfeit currency.
He has done a course on monitoring and evaluation of development programs from Carlton University, Ottawa and is invited to deliver lectures on the subject. He is a regular guest faculty in government officers’ training institutes on the topics like public sector finance, blockchain, infrastructure financing, government budgeting, PPP etc.
Professional Journey :
Dr. AJAY S. SINGH is an Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) 1994 batch officer. From MBM he is the first officer to join ICAS. He is currently working as Director (Finance) on deputation from Government of India in Punatsangchhu-I Hydroelectric Project Authority, and additional charge of Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority, Bhutan. He has worked in different capacities in the Ministry of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Labour & Employment, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Power etc. He has handled budgeting, payment, accounting, internal audit in the ministries and direct benefit transfer under the schemes like MGNREGA, PMAY, PMGSY, DDUGKY, NSAP, SBM, IWMP, Skill India, EPS, Labour welfare schemes etc. Earlier as Director, Multi-lateral Institution, Department of Economic Affairs, he handled loan portfolio of ADB and World Bank and country affairs in African Development Bank (AfDB). He has represented India in the Board of AfDB and SASEC of ADB.
He has also worked in Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (Currency Printer and Mint of India) and headed finance, accounts, internal audit, PPP projects and CSR, and in NHAI where he handled financial management of Golden Quadrilateral and North South corridors.
Innovations in governance :
He has been instrumental in some leading innovations in government including (i) national highways financing and payment mechanism where the system of payment and accounting was changed to direct payments rather than routing funds through state government, (ii) corporatization of currency and coins operations of government where 9 departmental mints and presses were corporatized in 2006, migration from department to a company namely Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL) was successfully completed with change in accounting from single entry (cash accounting) to double entry (accrual) accounting concession and assimilation of more than 14000 employees in the company (iii) preparation of tender documents and selection of vendor for PPP for mint museum by creating an integrated mint museum and tourism facility in Kolkata,(iv) Procurement Manual for security sensitive procurements in India for SPMCIL, Internal audit manual for newly created public sector organization ie. SPMCIL, CSR guidelines for SPMCIL and (v) computerization and document management in internal audit in Government of India (vi) successful financial closure of Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan etc.
As part of job responsibility, he has widely travelled in India and abroad as part of delegation of Government of India for different purposes including setting up a currency paper project, road safety studies, water conservation, industrial promotion, regional co-operation in neighbouring countries etc. Report on setting up security paper mill was acted upon and a security mill was set up in Mysore and one unit was upgraded in Hoshangabad (MP) making India self-sufficient in currency paper. Report on road safety, prepared through the assistance of ADB was widely acclaimed and many of the recommendations have been implemented (use of unique help line number across the country) or being implemented (development of portal for geo-mapping of highways and health care facilities etc).
Computerization of Internal audit was introduced for end to end documentation in Ministry of Rural development with a state of the art portal called GRIP- Grameen Rural Internal Audit Portal). This effort has been widely recognized in professional sector and Government of India. Many departments have adopted this portal. He was bestowed with awards by organizations like International Institute of Internal Audit, Governance Now etc. for innovation in Governance.
His contribution in DBT portal and improvements in payment mechanism of MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojna with linkages to other schemes was appreciated and his concepts as promulgated in a paper on interlinking of portals was implemented in Rural Development and Panchayati Raj as well. Cleaning of databases of MGNREGA and PMAY, PM Gram Sadak Yojna led to huge savings and reduction in idling of funds to the tune of hundreds of crores. His paper on Just in Time release of funds to Sates and GoI organization is being implemented and it has already demonstrated the gains due to effective cash management through Public Financial management System portal of Government of India managed by Controller General of Accounts.
Social Service & Philanthropic work :
Dr. Singh is associated with not for profit organizations doing work for the benefit of poor and promoting education in the neglected areas. He got the Panchayat Bhawan constructed in his village.
He regularly organizes camps for medical assistance, distribution of support system for Divyangs, distribution of blankets for the poor and destitute etc. He has organized several awareness campaign on financial inclusion, government schemes for poor and introduction of Blockchain technology.
Memorable days at MBM :
Days at MBM were full of memories he cherishes. He says “while studying there, I never realized I will remember those small-small things which used to be not so important in our own assessment. I remember, having gone to many shops and companies to seek financial support for printing our souvenir of final year.” A team of final year students including Dr.Singh were tasked with the responsibility to collect display advertisement (of course with the display charges). At many places, people supported their endeavour genuinely, some thought as a nuisance and agreed for small advertisement and some were not at all convinced with the value for money they were promising. On one such very hot day, team visited many establishments and were totally exhausted due to weather and lack of support received on that day. They decided to take a break and have orange juice in the market. Young owner of the Juice center heard their frustration and offered money for display advertisement of his shop. Group was so overwhelmed that they decided to put this display as the first one in the Souvenir.
Picnics to Kailana Lake, Mandore garden and other places were other memories the batch cherishes even now. Elegant Late Professor Surana, then HoD was equally feared and respected. Prof.Sancheti, Prof.Harit and Prof.Chauhan were fondly remembered for their traits and demeanour.
Message to youngsters :
It is never too late to choose what you like. College provides foundation and gives confidence to move on. You may decide what you want to be. Pursue profession of your liking.
Dr. Singh is happily married to Mrs. Richa (an ex-banker) and blessed with a daughter Anvi (B.Arch.) and son Utkarsh (II year Electrical Eng.).
The professional journey of Dr. Singh will certainly inspire youngsters and students who are in the midst of making career. We wish Dr. Singh a happy, healthy and blissful life.
About Author :
Khushi Bansal is a sophomore of MBM Engineering College, pursuing her B.E. degree in Computer Science Engineering. She is a tech enthusiast, interested in development domain and learning programming languages. Her hobbies include playing badminton, chess and she also has developed a habit of reading.