A Visionary’s Commentement

A leader is a visionary who foresees a future which no one else can. A leader must be futuristic, empowered, goal oriented & sincere in nature. Looking back at history we have witnessed the lives of magnificent and vibrant leaders like Shri Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Shri Sardar Patel etc. whom we have always looked up to for imbibing their values and vision. Their key objective was change. They wanted to bring a change that could transform the future. Similarly, one such leader of today, the administrator of Daman and Diu, Shri Praful K. Patel, brought tides and ebbs of changes with his strong vision of making the Union Territories go cashless.

Commencing from the land of Late Hon. Himmat Singh, Shri Praful Khodabhai Patel was born on 28 August, 1957 at Unava, a village located near Unjha in Mehsana district of Gujarat. Shri Praful Khodabhai Patel is a Diploma holder in Civil Engineering. He started his career in construction sector through his partnership firm Sabar Construction. He has been highly socially active since his college days. He served through Rotary club, Lions Club, Red Cross Society and other social organizations. His interests are traveling, reading, mountaineering, rescue in natural calamities, adventure touring to unexplored places and research.

Winds of Change

Since years Himmatnagar has been a central site for the state’s ceramic industry and home to several manufacturing units such as Asian Granito Limited (AGL), City Tiles Limited, Regent Tiles and Century Tiles. Shri Praful K. Patel enrolled as a voter in 27-Himmatnagar (Gujarat) constituency, at Serial no 526 in Part no 79. He became prominent through his constituency of Himmatnagar. He won the elections as MLA of Gujarat Vidhansabha for Himmatnagar in 2007. He served till 2012 as the MLA of Gujarat Vidhan Sabha for Himmatnagar.

After his successful service as an MLA, Shri Praful K. Patel was appointed as Minister of State for Home affairs in Gujarat. He was allotted portfolios of Police, Housing, Border security, Civil Defense, Home Guards, Gram Rakshak Dal, Jail, Prohibition and Excise. Shri Praful K Patel took oath as minister of state on 21st August 2010. Praful K. Patel, first time MLA from north Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district headquarter, Himmatnagar town, also served as Sabarkantha district BJP President since 2010. Patel was instrumental in securing victory over Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat for BJP.

Transformation of the Union Territories

In August 2016 he took charge as an administrator of Daman and Diu. He took upon his term with a positive start expressing his vision and mission regarding the future of the Union Territories. He emphasised on an all-round development agenda with key focus laid on improving tourism infrastructure and revenue opportunities for the coastal territories. Making his agendas clear, he thrived towards making a better Daman and Diu. He established dialogue with locals, interest groups, industry experts and administrative authorities for laying out a blueprint of D&D development model.

The first step he took was making Daman & Diu go digital by offering free wifi at many tourist and public places under PM Modi’s Digital India campaign. The service was launched by the Information Technology department of Daman and Diu along with BSNL. Subscribers can use data upto 300 MB on mobile handsets at a speed of 2 to 4 Mbps. The service is made available in Daman at areas frequently visited by tourists such as Fort area, Pargola Garden, Bom Church, Moti Daman and Nani Daman Jetty, Devka Beach, Marwad Hospital, Somnath Temple and Jampore Beach. In Diu, the facility is available at Nagoa Beach, Khukri, Bandar Chowk, and Jalandhar Guest House. The next steps include complete digital makeover and wifi availability in the region.

He has strived and faced head-on, the challenges of making Daman and Diu a thriving tourism economy. On 9th November 2016, when PM Shri Narendra Modi declared the ban high-value currency notes under the demonetization regulation, it proved to be a drastic change in perspective of his mission. Holding onto his exceptional leadership qualities, he embraced demonetization as an opportunity to thrive better and made a revolutionary commitment of making Daman and Diu the only cashless places in India before 19th November 2016. He organized meetings with public representatives, Govt. Employees, teachers, Social Organizations and different Associations about tackling demonetization and carry forwarding the mission of cashless Daman and Diu. All the organizations were given training by the Department of Information and Technology. He initiated vigorous field work on regular basis to keep a report on the Cashless Daman drive. For initiating a revolution before the liberation day, he required assistance of experts and locals to carry forward the mission step by step. He prepared 140 teams for Daman and 50 teams for Diu, consisting 10 members each for doing the groundwork and educating the public about cashless transactions. The volunteers were mostly school and college going youth who went door-to-door and spread awareness regarding e-payment, e-wallet, credit card, mobile banking, POS. Different applications connected with cashless transactions in the mobile were downloaded to educated people. Test transaction upto 10 rupees were made during the demonstrations for the public. They were able to approach nearly 11,000 households on the first day itself.

The administration also extended efforts to make all the government services go cashless when it comes to payment of electricity and other utility bills. Associations like Rickshaw wala’s, hotels, bars, lorry’s, cabin’s, petrol pumps submitted their reports on regular basis regarding cashless transactions carried out by them. A three day campaign was run to create a welfare account where it was easier to make 2 to 5 rs transaction. Crediting a minimal amount in the welfare account was a valuable step taken for making people approach towards cashless transactions. Signatures were taken to keep a record of people who understood the transaction method inside out. The main focus of the campaign was around 80,000 labourers and their families who were employed in different industries located in Daman. They were made aware on how to use their keypad phone to make payments for utilities and to vendors.

Emerging of a New-age Daman & Diu

Commencing towards the conclusion a mega revolutionary path, Shri Praful K. Patel emerged triumphant. He achieve his mission successfully with overwhelming response from citizens across the regions. On 20th December 2016, Daman and Diu were declared as the FIRST CASHLESS REGION in the entire country. A moment of celebration was witnessed right after the spirits of liberation day. Many associations from Daman and Diu were witnessed in the spirit of happiness by being able to go 100% cashless in a very short span of time. Shri Narendra Modi expressed his gratitude to Shri Praful K. Patel on his successful initiative of cashless Daman and Diu.

He proved to be a leader who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Ultimately, his leadership crowned Daman and Diu as the only cashless region of India. He kept his team motivated and focused by showing equal zeal in his mission and motivated them to do their best to achieve it.

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