Ram Sewak Sharma, chief executive of the government’s National Health Authority (NHA), whose term ended on January 31, retired from the post. The NHA is responsible for the operation of Ayushman Bharat, the country’s flagship public health insurance scheme.
Sharma is admired for his tech savvy, as India’s digital public goods infrastructure was also built under his leadership. Even the first Director General of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was Sharma. UIDAI is the government agency that operates the Aadhaar database. He had a difficult time as DG due to public concerns about the safety and effectiveness of UIDAI. As a result, the man is credited with driving one of India’s most ambitious Digital India initiatives, called Aadhaar.
On his resignation as CEO of NHA, RS Sharma said: “As my tenure at the National Health Authority (NHA) comes to an end today, I am delighted to share that we are embarking on a transformational journey of healthcare delivery in India .”
He was appointed President of TRAI in 2015 for a term until 2020. Since then, his job has also included overseeing important changes in the telecommunications industry, such as halving interconnection user fees. As the telecom regulator, Sharma ensures the affordability of mobile internet to bridge the digital divide by promoting mobile services. Under his leadership, the national 4G network coverage rate exceeded 90%.
Before Sharms’ appointment to Trai, the bureaucrat served as secretary of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), director-general of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and chief secretary of Jharkhand.
The helmsman has been entrusted with leading a technical task force to successfully deliver vaccines during the disruption of Covid. He used his experience in Aadhaar to make the CoWin application.
Sharma has spearheaded the ambitious Digital India umbrella initiative, which aims to revolutionize the banking system through digital payments through the UPI system through the development of several ICT-focused policies. The bureaucrat was a big advocate of data ownership, privacy and security, and net neutrality during his tenure as head of Trai.
He was reappointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Agency of India (NHAI) by the central government on 1 January 2021. With keen insight, Sharma carried out effective structural reforms to the Co-WIN platform. He also led India’s Covid vaccination campaign, a global milestone in itself. Sharma served on the National COVID-19 Vaccine Stewardship Panel formed by the Government of India to address the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
Sharma is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur with a Masters in Mathematics. He then joined the Bihar cadre as an Indian Administrative Service Officer. Sharma founded Jharkhand at the turn of the millennium, shifted to Jharkhand. He has an MS in Computer Science from the US and a PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.