Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay is a person endowed with a lively, compassionate and evergreen heart. A member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and a former Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry, Dr. Mulay is also a writer, poet, columnist, thinker and a former Ambassador.
One remains awestruck to see the career-graph of Dr. Mulay. In his SSC examination, he stood first in Sanskrit at the state-level and received the prestigious Jagannath Shankarsheth Scholarship. He topped the Shivaji University, Kolhapur, in English literature and won the Dhananjay Keer Prize. He also topped in his Masters in Personnel Management from Mumbai University in 1981. For a brief period he joined as Deputy Collector after achieving first rank in the Maharashtra Public Service Commission. He was awarded the Peter Alvaris Medal. Then he succeeded in Civil Services examination and joined the Indian Foreign Service.
Dr. Mulay held important positions, like Under Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Second Secretary in Tokyo (Japan), First Secretary in Moscow (Russia), and again First Secretary and Counsellor in Indian Embassy, Japan. As a Director in the Finance Ministry, New Delhi, he played a significant role in getting financial assistance from Japan for the Delhi Metro project. He worked as a Deputy High Commissioner in Mauritius and later as Minister (Political) in Indian Embassy, Damascus (Syria). During his tenure as a High Commissioner in the Maldives, besides strengthening the security relations successfully, he established the Indian Cultural Centre.
He was the Consul General of India in New York. He coordinated Prime Minister Modi’s path-breaking event at Madison Square Garden. While holding all such important positions, he also strove for getting legitimate share of different schemes of the Central Government for Maharashtra.
Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay is not only a superb diplomat or senior Government officer but also an author of more than 15 books in English, Marathi and Hindi. He has been honoured with Maharashtra Government’s award for his literary work. Several of his books have been translated into Urdu, Arabic and other languages. His autobiographical work Mati Pankh Aani Aakash is included in the 100 best books of the last century. It has also been prescribed as a textbook in North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon. For over 15 years, he has written columns for leading newspapers of Maharashtra, like Maharashtra Times, Loksatta, Sakal and Lokmat. Even today he writes columns for newspapers.
He is a recipient of several prestigious awards. He has been consistently engaged in the task of developing reading culture. He has taken initiative in establishing libraries and sports clubs. He has established an orphanage called ‘Balodyan’ for 50 children at his native place Abdulalat, in Kolhapur District.
Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay is so unassuming that he could easily mingle with anyone despite his position and age. He never carries the burden of his image, position or authority while interacting with people. While talking with the youth, he says, “We have to break the barriers ourselves.” One can see the range of his scholarship in his simple and lucid language as well as in the illustrations from the wide variety of sources.
Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay had a dream of issuing passports to 100 crore people in India. To realise this dream, he helped his Ministry to create a vision of taking Passport Sewa to the people’s doorsteps. He believed that passport is our identity. It is symbol of our country. It is our pride. We should all get it in a smooth manner. Getting a passport was considered so difficult and taxing that people were scared of the very process and kept themselves away from it. They were even ready to miss a chance of foreign trip. However, Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay removed all constraints in the process.
With four simple documents (Aadhaar, PAN Card, Voter ID and a Personal Affidavit) one can now get a passport within a week. He simplified the process of police verification and also made it people-friendly. Now, getting passport is as simple as opening the app on a smart phone and getting an appointment of one’s choice. Within minutes of giving the biometrics, the process of printing and dispatch begins and an SMS is received by the applicant. Every day, over 2 crore people visit the passport website and over 1.5 lakh people receive SMS from passport centres. Because of this ambitious project and its superfast implementation, people began calling him the ‘Passport Man of India’.
Under Dr. Mulay’s leadership, 410 new passport offices were opened in the country as part of taking passport office to every Lok Sabha constituency. From a mere 77 passport centres in the country, the number in 2019 stood at 510. E-Passport Seva of India has become a symbol of Digital India, public-private partnership, efficiency, transparency and accessibility of the Government service. In fact, this is considered a revolutionary approach that will facilitate dynamism and mobility of our society as a whole.