A graduate from St Stephens College Delhi; an MA from Allahabad and an MBA from New York, Rajeev Ratna Shah is held by his peers as a civil servant cast in a classical mold; politically neutral, result-oriented, and a successful management practitioner. He is equally admired for his cerebral and conceptual skills which enable him to comprehend the bigger picture.
He made his mark as a crisis manager when he was airdropped to take charge as District Magistrate Aligarh in a very dangerous situation of communal frenzy compounded by police revolt. While serving the state of UP he also served as Principal Secretary Home and Power departments and Secretary to the Chief Minister, VP Singh.
During his unusually long eight-year stint as Secretary to Govt of India, he occupied several important positions. As CEO Public Service Broadcasting Corporation, he was responsible for introducing Private FM channels, DTT, or Digital Terrestrial TV, and laid the regulatory foundations of DTH (Direct to Home) TV. As Secretary Disaster Management, he handled the aftermath of the Bhuj earthquake and generated the blueprint of an All-Hazard National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). As secretary IT, he created new institutions, viz NISG (National Institute for Smart Governance), CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team), NIXI (National Information Exchange of India), and the Public Key or Digital Signature Infrastructure. Two of his game-changing innovations were UID and NEGP.
He retired on 1st January 2008, as Member Secretary Planning Commission, joining the galaxy of predecessors like Dr. Man Mohan Singh, Dr. Arjun Sen Gupta, and Dr. Bimal Jalan. His last contribution as a civil servant was the submission of the Eleventh Five Year Plan, approved by the Cabinet and the National Development Council.
After retirement, he worked as Adjunct Professor Carnegie Melon University, Pittsburg, Pa. USA.