A 2002 batch IAS officer, Dr Dinesh Arora took charge as executive director, Rural Electrification Corporation, in May 2016. He is also chief executive officer of REC Power Distribution Company Limited, Ministry of Power.
In his current role, he is spearheading government initiatives in rural electrification. He is also credited with transforming the monitoring process of the rural electrification programme. “We have devised a mechanism for field-level monitoring and deployed a team of young and vibrant electrical engineers – gram vidyut abhiyantas (GVAs) – at the block/district level. The GVAs are responsible for village electrification as per the timelines. While visiting a village, the GVA takes photographs of individual milestones achieved and uploads the status on the mobile app, GARV,” he explains.
Arora feels that the rural areas in India are characterised by low consumer density, low load density, slow load growth, low paying capacity and high cost of delivery. Commenting on the rural electrification scenario, Arora says, “There are 18,452 villages that have not be electrified long after independence. The left-out villages are located in difficult geographical terrain or face law and order issues. In his Independence Day speech last year, the prime minister called for the electrification of all the remaining villages within 1,000 days, infusing new momentum in the rural electrification programme.”
Arora has a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery. He was awarded the Chevening Gurukul Scholarship 2011 for Leadership and Excellence by the UK government, the SKOCH Gold Award 2014 from the Ministry of Urban Development for a web-based management information system for rural electrification. In the past, he has worked in various capacities, such as sub-collector and sub-divisional magistrate, Ottapalam, Palakkad; district collector and district magistrate of Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram; additional secretary (health), State Mission Director (Kerala), National Rural Health Mission; and founder MD, Kerala Medical Services Corporation. He has also served as private secretary to the minister of state for communications and information technology, and shipping.
Arora enjoys playing badminton and chess, and flying kites. In his spare time, he likes to teach biology to under-privileged students. He strives to unlock the true potential of everyone he comes in touch with. “It is important to go that extra mile,” he says.