As Revenue Secretary of the Government of India and former CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India, Ajay Bhushan Pandey has little time to indulge in leisure. Amid the gloom and doom of a slowing economy, muted growth in GST revenues, and the controversy around Aadhaar and citizenship, Pandey is left with no time to unwind. But when the technocrat-turned-bureaucrat does get time, he likes to 'go back to his roots' - literally.
While working for the Maharashtra government - he was the MD of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation and Secretary to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, among other positions - Pandey and a dozen of his friends bought a 2.5-acre plot of land for farming in Raigarh district, about 100 km from Mumbai, where they grow mostly fruits and vegetables. "We wanted to remain connected with the ground, and understand the problems of farming and farmers that we often fail to see otherwise," says Pandey.
Pandey used to visit Raigarh frequently when he was in Mumbai. However, after relocating to Delhi, he has not been able to visit the farm for the past one year. Once he is free from his responsibilities in Delhi, that will change, he says.