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This Man Is Digitising India, One Project At A Time Meet the man who helmed the passport seva project

By Sanchita Dash

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Rajneesh Chadha

Be it finance, manufacturing, retail or government – digital transformation is the need of the hour. From computerization to digitization, Rajneesh Kumar Chadha has mastered all the tricks of the trade. With over 29 years of experience, mostly in the digital sector, Chadha is still going strong, handling major projects like the Passport Seva Project credited to his name.

In an interview with the Entrepreneur India, Chadha talked about his experience in dealing with the Passport Seva project and his new ventures.

Introduction To Software

Chadha started his career in 1988 by working with a manufacturing organization but slowly veered into marketing by working for HCL and soon after was introduced to IT. But only after joining TCS, he realized that life changed for him. "That is when things started to change for me. I started off as a module lead and within a couple of years went on to become a business relationship manager for some of the important GE Businesses like GE Plastics, GE Capital Corporate and GE Indsys. Later, I moved on to a financial product company called Nucleus Software Exports Ltd in 2006 as a VP and business unit head," he said.

Helming The Passport Seva Project

Chadha was invited back to join TCS in 2007 in Delhi and was entrusted with the programme for CVS Pharmacy of the US, which needed to regain client's confidence. CVS is the biggest pharmacy and retail chain based out of the US with over 18,000 stores. But in the summer of 2008, things really got moving for him.

"I still remember I got a call from the ISU head of TCS's Government Business Unit in June 2008 to take up the Passport Seva Project as the Project Director. This was one opportunity that made my name go down in the history of my country for digitizing one of the most important, sovereign functions. I was excited with the project, understanding its quantum. I headed all 11 verticals of the project right from application development to testing to security to infrastructure to citizen services and many more to name. From scratch, we brought the programme to its culmination and got it ready to be piloted in seven passport centers," said Chadha.

He, however, left soon after that. "After that it was just replication of the same process in all centers as the proven blue print. Thus a back bone to support additional centres was already established," he added.

Starting His Own Venture

After TCS, Chadha rejoined Nucleus Software Exports Ltd as Senior Vice-President and Strategic Business Unit Head for Japan. But, he soon wanted to start something of his own. That's how Mango Informatics came into being. Asked about the name and he laughed and said, "We were inspired by Apple but we thought Mango could be sweeter." With his own venture, Chadha took up projects where he had to integrate some of the most sophisticated and niche sensors for a prestigious government organization.

He then went on to work with top Indian and international banks and financial institutions for the implementation of a CRM product for around three years, having taken up position of Global Delivery Director with a CRM Product organization.

"Digital Transformation Is Not New"

Having been at the helm of so many projects and with years of experience in the digital sector, Chadha soon went on to start his own advisory. He now works with corporate and other financial institutions to advise them with digital transformation.

But Chadha said while the craze was new, digital transformation started long back. "For example, for an old bank like Citibank, launch of their Mobile Banking App years ago was just another step towards digitization, but a similar app launch even today could be a major digitization for a cooperative bank," he explained and added, "But yes, digital is evolving. From providing a single window to customer to tracking spending behavior and patterns of consumers to security — digital transformation is finding its place everywhere."

Block-chain — The Way Forward

On Block-chain, Chadha was quick to explain. "I read this somewhere and completely endorse the view that Blockchain will do the same to economy what internet did to information," he said.

Today, he works with institutions to draw their AS-IS and TO-BE blueprint after evaluating if they need Blockchain at all. Post that he advises them on how to leverage this technology. "Blockchain is not a simple software implementation, so we first help them understand if they need Blockchain and then execute the same by letting them know about the models and connecting them with companies that carry out execution while he monitors the execution for them," he said

Digitization A Win-win For Entrepreneurs And Corporate

The advent of digitization has been helping both entrepreneurs and corporate is what Rajneesh believes. With specific reference to finance he said, "I haven't felt the need to go to the bank in last, may be 10 years, for any of my requirements. Everything could be done online, if not, phone banking would do the trick. That's the power of digitization. It's going to be a different paradigm for entrepreneurs — as consumers and as suppliers," he said.

When it comes for banks to either partner or acquire start-ups, Chadha thinks partnering is surely a win-win for both. "Banks are very keen to partner. For example, if they have to implement Blockchain technology, it will take a long time and would be capital intensive for them to create a separate department for this task. But by partnering with a Blockchain start-up, they can get a head start with zero or minimal capital investment," he added.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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