Ashutosh A T Pednekar has the distinction of being Goa’s first IAS officer and is well-known for his interest and promotion of technology and innovation. He has served in various assignments as District Collector of Udaipur, Alwar, Sriganganagar, Bundi and Dholpur. He has also served as the Commissioner and CEO of Jaipur Municipal Corporation and as Director and MD of Rajasthan Tourism. He is currently serving as Managing Director of RIICO – Rajasthan Industrial Development and Investment Corporation. He speaks with NT Kuriocity about his journey.

Maria Fernandes | NT

Pednekar’s ambition to become an IAS officer, he says, was shaped by his father, a police officer. “My father was in the Goa Police and constantly encouraged me to meet IAS and IPS officers and especially the IAS officer trainees serving in Goa. This early exposure when I was still in school helped me in understanding about the UPSC examination and what was required to clear it.”

Clearing competitive examinations as we are well aware is not an easy task. It takes months and sometimes years of preparation. There are certain qualities and skills that are required to clear these exams. “The UPSC examination is a long drawn out and gruelling examination. I think clarity of thought, persistence and a happy enthusiasm are assets in this journey,” he states.

During his two-year IAS training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie, Pednekar applied his mind, clarity of thought and persisted in excelling at the various tasks at hand. For his excellence he was awarded the Dr Subhash Dua gold medal, a prize that makes him proud even today.

Goan youth he believes, have historically been unafraid to seek challenges and opportunities beyond Goa and says now there is a need to rekindle and revive that entrepreneurial spirit that exists in them. Motivating youngsters to look at the opportunities available, he says: “Beyond our traditional strengths in hospitality services, there are many opportunities in Goa in agriculture-horticulture, small and medium scale manufacturing, under explored areas like wellness tourism, internet enabled remote services and even trading for that matter. These sectors, among so many others need a relook by you.” He also advises them to constantly upgrade their skill set and knowledge domain.

He is of the opinion that together as a society, we need to encourage and promote our youth to be entrepreneurial and to be unafraid of starting new ventures or be afraid of failure. “The size of Goa’s economy and GDP is more than sufficient to gainfully engage Goa’s youth,” he adds.