Sanjeev Kumar is an IAS officer of Maharashtra Cadre of 1993 batch. He was born in bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh. Sanjeev Kumar holds a degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from University of Roorkee (now known as IIT Roorkee) and M.Tech in Communication Engineering from IIT, Kanpur. He also holds a degree in Financial Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institution of Management Studies, Mumbai University. He possesses wide experience of working in the field of infrastructure and Finance in Government of Maharashtra and in Government of India. Prior to current assignment, he has worked in Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation as Joint Secretary & Mission director for Housing for All project. Sanjeev Kumar has earlier served in various Ministries and departments of the Government of Maharashtra. He has been MD of Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation. He also served as District Collector of Gondia and Jalgaon District in Maharashtra and Divisional Commissioner of Nagpur Division in Vidharbha Region of Maharashtra. In an exclusive Interview with India Unbound Magazine, Sanjeev Kumar has shared his experience at various postings and his duties as Chief Managing Director of MSEDCL.
Nityanand Pandey & Purvaja
Kindly tell us about your childhood days, family background & where you were born & brought up?
I was born in Bulandshahar district, Uttar Pradesh village named as Margubpura. I had completed my 12th standard studies from Bulandshahar district. After that I had done Masters in IIT Kanpur. My father was a Mathematics and Physics professor and my mother was a housewife. We are two brothers and a sister and all are in government sector.
What are your memories of 1993 batch? Do you still meet your batch mates? How do you celebrate?
We all keep meeting each other in various meetings held by government of India. And sometimes we meet through similar postings held by the government. Generally, we celebrate by having lunch together or else it is difficult to spend time with each other. Some of them becomes very closer to you because of the situations or circumstances. We frequently keep in touch with each other through phone and through other social sites.
As you had hold a degree in Electronics & Communication, M.Tech in Communication Engineering & Financial Manage-ment so why you chose to become an IAS?
After my graduation, I came to Mumbai and started working with private sector just for about 15-20 days. It was the month of July and was very difficult time to survive because of monsoon so I decided to move IIT Kanpur for my master’s in communication. At that time, I saw some colleagues were preparing for UPSC. Therefore, even I thought to apply and I cleared it. As I was doing masters in communication, everything happened unintentionally which I had never thought of to become an IAS.
Kindly elaborate your present role as the chairman and MD, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd.?
As everyone knows that MSEDCL is the largest distributing company probably in India as well as in Asia. We have almost 2.4 crores NGO’s and our annual turnover is around 60,000 crores. Work force is around one lakh and maximum power we supplied this year is 20,000 mega volts, much more than any other state. Looking forward at this kind of job where you have to supply power to two thousand crore consumers throughout the day and run operations sufficiently so that we can recover money from them, raise the bill, run the company well. Because, we are independent government company. So, I have to see it that everybody gets electricity and the company is projecting effectively.
What are the major challenges you have face as a chairman and MD, MSEDCL?
Talking about the challenges, I had faced many challenges and to run a system effectively itself becomes a major challenge. Though, many professionals assist me but, geographical spread and also the spread of consumers make operationally difficult to maintain reliability. I am blessed with such a great Power Company but the system always has a scope of improvement. Other challenge is to connect with the consumers. Mostly, all the consumers think that the power company including ours are not working efficiently. That type of perception need to be change. There are problem, which is caused by reluctance of certain public to pay the bills. So, such challenges come across in this field.
Tell us something about the MSEDCL App through which we can get Self Meter Reading information? Which has been introduce by you?
The task, which we took ourselves, was to improve consumer satisfaction. Therefore, mobile application was the first step towards the task. We had introduced MSEDCL App last year with the blessings of our Hon’ble Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and also with the help of government of Maharashtra and Government of India.
It works in this way:-
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) bill comes with a QR Code through which consumers can easily download the Mahavitran App to avail all services offered by the electricity utility.
Consumers can scan the QR Code on the bill using the QR reader in their smartphones and download the app directly. The Mahavitaran app enables consumers to register complaints, link all connections to one account, register/change/update his/her mobile number and email id to get alerts and billing information.
We has also started an SMS service for registered consumers whose meter readings have not been obtained. The SMS provides a link through which meter readings can be sent to the utility so that accurate bills are prepared and sent. Consumers can send their feedback about the services using the app. Besides the QR Code on the bill, the app can be downloaded from the company’s website www.mahadiscom.in or Google Playstore and iOS App Store. Over 11 lakh consumers have downloaded the Mahavitaran app in the state so far.
Women Empowerment has always been among the top agendas of Mahavitaran is any step taken by MSEDCL to empower women?
We do employ women at every level, there is reservation for women. Women reservation is a positive step which has brought up by the government. In our company, many positions are allotted to women. Even Government has also launch a squad known as Damini squad where women itself manage to control all sought of situation. We consciously trying to keep women employee so that there is no gender discrimination. Besides that we have a women as a Chief Engineer in Bhandup sector.
What is your future agenda for MSEDCL?
Our future Agenda is to make an organization, which meets the challenges of future. My main and immediate task is to create a work force, which is capable to know and understand the complexity of the work in power sector and also the complexity which is increasing day by day. The certain number of work force should be encourage to take part in every decision which is taken so that they can take this company more forward. Chairperson, Chief and Managing Directors wil keep on changing but the ultimate power of the company can be harvest by its employees.
Mahavitaran distributes electricity to consumers across the State except Mumbai. Kindly comment?
It’s because of historical reason. When Britishers came in india they privatized electricity because they had to developed their own country. The four places where they started electricity was Calcutta, Mumbai, Surat, and Ahmedabad. Therefore, from history Mumbai is getting electricity from private sectors. Since, Mumbai is already getting electricty by private sectors, Mahavitran excluded Mumbai.
Tell us something about the 4 companies which are distributing electricity under Mahavitran like MSEB holding Co. Ltd., Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. (Mahavitaran), Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (Mahagenco) and Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. (Mahatransco)?
Before 2003, all India electricity and all state had one board, which used to generate, transfer and distribute electricity so it was a muamalat organization. After Indian electricity Act of 2003 became compulsory for state to unmandal inauguration because, government has liberalize the generation so that everybody could generate the electricity till 1990. In early days the MSEDCL was the only power station, it used to generate the power, transmits the power at high voltage as well as distribute the power. So, for the better efficiency, this all three function was separated and this three concept use to handle separately to bring more efficacy. In 2005, they were seperated into three companies that are; Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. (Mahavitran), Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (Mahagenco) and Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd.
You were the Joint CEO of MIDC and Managing Director of the Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation what were the major challenges you faced there. Kindly share your experience?
MIDC was a great assignment. The major challenge was to convince people to put industry across Maharashtra state beyond Mumbai and Pune. The major challenge was to convince at the place like Aurangabad, Butibori, Kesodi, Satara, Nasik, Paltan etc, to run a small company was not a major challenge that time. Nevertheless, it also helped me to learn about Agro based industry a lot.
You also served as Director in the Ministry of Power, in-charge of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna and Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reform Programme, Can you please share us your experience?
While working with Govt. of India you get to know about the complexity of the subject and things that is spread throughout the nation. It helped me to know about the complexity of distribution of business across the country. That is the biggest thing I have learned in that field.
You worked for various ministries and state departments like sales tax, water supply & sanitation and industries, According to you what kind of improvement you need to do in Maharashtra State?
Improvements have been done up to a better extent. When I was working for water supply & Sanitation department we were responsible for total sanitation free and now a days our honorable Prime Minister has taken initiative of that project, we use to go across the state and worked tremendously. In 2 years of time, we had converted 5000 villages into open defecation place and got maximum awards from government of India. So many work was done and of course there is always a scope of improvements.
Who are the competitors in supplying electricity, state wise?
Generation of electricity is free, but there are many private companies who are generating powers. But talking about distribution, distribution is control by Government distributing department and each state distribution control by the government.
According to you is GSTand Demonetisation is helpful for our nation?
According to Sanjeev kumar GST 100% will bring a positive outcome without any doubt. One country one tax has a great initial has come after along time will surely help us for the betterment of this nation. Alcohol and fuel are still out of the GST? Yes, but government have to see the outcomes of everything and government can’t take sudden change because it will effect the economy system somewhere. The government will do what is better for the nation. There are some issue which has been examine by the departments.
What is your expectation from our CM Devendra Fadnavis for distribution of electricity?
His initiatives for citizen or consumers are very motivating. His initiative on providing online facilities to the consumers have helped us a lot in power sector. He always shows his vision and help us, we try to meet his vision.
Who is your role model?
I have always been inspired by our past of this country. The way people used to follow their path through knowledge and where every knowledge was challenge. I always go for think fresh and think new, the only view I follow.
How you spend your leisure time?
Well, I am a very lazy person in my leisure time. I sleep, watch TV and read newspapers but now days mobile phone take our time more and then I used to spent my time with my family.
What advice you want to give to the students who aspire to become an IAS or IPS?
I would like to say that be ready for a tough job. Hopefully student who are appearing for this post joins for a good reason and going forward for that good reason will be a tough path.
What message would you like to spread through India Unbound to your department & India Unbound readers?
As India Unbound Magazine theme is to explore untapped potential Need to tap the untapped potiential, use everything, one can create a change, one should belief in their own conscious that whatever they are doing is correct and that is the potential, which everybody has within them to make a change.