From Biden’s coming to food and flights of G20 guests, Mukesh Pardeshi has the minutes of it all

Muktesh Pardeshi who was recognised for his leadership role in the transformation of passport services in India and received the…

From Biden’s coming to food and flights of G20 guests, Mukesh Pardeshi has the minutes of it all

Muktesh Pardeshi (photo: ANI)

Muktesh Pardeshi who was recognised for his leadership role in the transformation of passport services in India and received the National Award on e-Governance (gold) in 2014-15 for his contribution is the head of operations for G-20.

Operations include logistics, transportation, planning and stay of dignitaries. So much so that almost every little detail passes through him. The Statesman interviewed Pardeshi to know the challenges that he must have faced during the past year.

Q: Coordination, planning, and execution is the most challenging part of any programme. And a project of this level demands a lot of intricate planning. How challenging was it for you?


A: Well, I would not call it a challenge. I would say this turned out to be a great opportunity for me. At every step, we have learned. The experience is enriching and believe me it helped us much to understand each state in terms of culinary delicacies, art and culture, and special handicrafts. The theme and vision of the event was to turn an elite diplomatic event into a people’s event with a touch of Indian-ness. And, I am glad we could plan it accordingly. So far through the 200 ministerial meetings, we could see that delegates are enjoying the Indianness in everything. The conference room is more or less similar in every country but in our conferences, we have introduced India-ness through food and handmade gifts.

Q: What is the duration of this mammoth planning?

A: This has been going on for the past one year. The meetings were happening in each and every state of India. From Andaman Nicobar, Daman to Kolkata to every state. Many of the delegates loved the Chingri malai curry in Kolkata when served during lunch. Apart from that, we interacted with a lot of people in Delhi and elsewhere to make it a people’s show.

Q: What was the focus during planning?

A: The focus was to make it a people’s programme. The entire India should feel that the G-20 is happening. Earlier it was only Delhi that probably used to feel the event. Today the country is feeling the G-20. They may not know the details of why and what is happening in the meeting but they do know G-20 is happening. So the focus was inclusivity and to tell people that this event is for all.

Q: You planned for gifts for the visiting dignitaries?

A: Off-course. Gifts have been procured from every state. We have shared it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will select it for the respective guests. But I can tell you that it will be full of Indian-ness.

Q: How were the menus planned since there are different people with different tastes?

A: We have been in touch with the offices of all the dignitaries. We have taken down details from them about the preferences of the guests. Then step two included the ‘Chefs’ and planned the menus to suit everybody’s taste buds.

Q: How many countries are participating altogether?

A: The number of countries including India are 20 and we have invited nine more countries apart from the G-20. So there are altogether 29 countries.

Q: Bharat Mandapam has been renovated and is now hosting a huge programme India never held before. What all has been kept in mind while planning for the welcome and stay of the leaders of 29 countries?

A: We have kept the interests of the countries in mind. There are Islamic countries where members probably would want to offer prayers. The prayer rooms are there. There is an arrangement of the rooms where bilateral talks could take place. Bharat Mandpam is a ‘no drone zone’.

Q: Will there be any bilateral talks with the participating countries?

A: Yes. There is a place for the Prime Minister to hold bilateral talks plus if there are other countries interested then they can also hold talks. We have arrangements for that too.

Q: How was the stay of the delegates in the hotels planned since security is a big issue?

A: I have been interacting with the hotels for quite some time. We have had several rounds of meetings to plan and to ensure that they are safe. There are many hotels that have kept the occupancy low in order to ensure safety.

Q: Is the American President Joe Biden coming?

A: Yes. He has confirmed.

Q: All VVIPS have various preferences about food and stay. How difficult was it to manage and accommodate?

A: We have been in touch with their officials. We took care of the minute details to ensure that they were happy and satisfied with the arrangements.

Q: There will be a huge rush at the airport. Do you think IGI is equipped to handle the rush?

A: The VVIPs will land at the Palam technical area. There will be manageable pressure on the regular flights. I would not say there will be no pressure. So the airlines were informed and they worked it out.

Q: Delhi will witness a two-day lock-down on September 9-10?
A: That is not true. The metros will remain functional and a few restrictions at central Delhi are due to VVIP visitors. A little planning on the part of commuters will not create any problems for them.