Veteran bureaucrat Sanjay Singh’s nomination as the secretary of information & public relations department with a few months shy of the crucial 2019 elections marks a watershed moment for the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Singh handpicked for the important post is also viewed by many in the political establishment and official circles as the master stroke applied by the incumbent BJD.
There couldn’t be a better choice for the portfolio. Singh, an amiable officer with vast administrative acumen more than makes the grade. He is expected to handle the media and communications apparatus adroitly. In fact, Singh has never let the ruling government distraught on any of the key positions allocated to him. A native of Bihar, Singh has served as the collector cum district magistrates of Gaya and Patna. He wielded enormous clout in his home state as the confidante of stalwart Nitish Kumar, serving him as the personal secretary when the former was the chief minister.
Singh takes over the reins from Hemant Sharma who was discharging the role of information & public relations secretary in an additional secretary. Currently, Singh also helms the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) besides discharging his duties as the secretary, skill development & technical education.
A 1997-batch IAS officer, Singh, in 2017, was feted with the the national award from President Ram Nath Kovind for promoting sports through corporate social responsibility (CSR) in New Delhi. After taking charge of the Idco two years ago, Singh made special efforts to promote hockey through the corporation’s CSR initiative.
The corporation also owns the Kalinga Lancer team that won the Hockey India League this year and was runners-up in 2016. The Idco has one more feather in its cap. The corporation had developed necessary infrastructure in a record 90 days when Odisha hosted the Asian Athletics Championship earlier this year. “As a government PSU we realised that government agencies need to promote and patronise sports. The award is a recognition of the efforts made by team Idco in this direction”, Singh says.
Singh is a post graduate in economics from the prestigious Delhi School of Economics and did his schooling from DPS, RK Puram. His areas of academic specialisation lie in developmental economics and monetary economics. Singh has vast administrative and managerial experience especially in the power sector.
Singh has also been at the forefront for attracting new investments to Odisha. He has been trying unorthodox tricks and thinking out of the box to sell the state as a favoured investment hub. Idco promotes a popular hockey team – Kalinga Lancers and a new jersey has been designed for the players with the logo- ‘New Opportunities’ embossed on it to promote the vibrant business opportunities Odisha can offer. Singh is also one of the directors in the Board of Governors at IIT, Bhubaneswar.
Apart from Idco, Singh is the secretary at the department of skill development & technical education. The newly carved out department’s vision is to provide leadership in assuring quality and in stimulating innovation in technical education and vocational training sector in the state through vigorous pursuits of industry-academia interface and achieving excellence in the delivery of technical education. As a measure towards skill development, the department under Singh’s leadership has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with taxi aggregator Ola Cabs.