V.K.Pandian : A young administrator now a youth Icon

Bhubaneswar : 29th May 2019 was a history for BJD as well as it’s supremo hon’ble Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik who crowned consecutively 5th time in a row and made history. And May 29 also happens to be the birthday of V Karthikeya Pandian, who has possibly emerged as the most influential factor in the ruling dispensation during the past nine years.
Pandian, a 46 year old IAS officer is officially private secretary to the Chief Minister. But his role and impact have turned out to be much more than what his predecessors ever had and his dedication for development of Odisha is now becoming him an youth Icon in Odisha.
A 26 year Tamil boy who is agriculture graduate and plant physiology postgraduate got the Odisha cadre IAS during 2000 and after training joined as sub collector of Kalahandi district which was one of the backward district of Odisha. As a young Sub-Collector in Dharamgarh, Kalahandi, his tough stance with millers ensured full payment of MSP to the farmers and profits to cooperative societies. This also helped the government to get highest ever revenue collections. This initiative got him the appreciation and felicitation from the Chief Minister.
As ADM in Rourkela, he had a blazing tenure of 7 months from august 2004 to April 2005.He was instrumental in the Chend market eviction leading to people getting back their hard earned money after 15 years. This hard work during the earlier carrier proves on those days to him as a brainy administrator who can go a long run.
Pandian was one of the youngest Collectors of the country when he took charge of Odisha’s largest district – Mayurbhanj on 29th April 2005 just before the age of thirty . His daily visits to the remote villages of the district helped accelerating the development process. During his tenure Mayurbhanj received the National Award for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities. He set in place a system whereby PWDs could be identified and rehabilitated at the village and block levels. This was later adopted as State policy. V K Pandian was a recipient of the Hellen Keller Award for his work for the PWDs- a rare distinction for a bureaucrat.

His work ability as a successful administrator was noticed by CM Naveen Patnaik when he became the Collector of Ganjam. Through out his tenure at Ganjam from 2007 to 2011 he had done a lot of marvellous work for public and needy. The district got the National Award for being the best district in NREGs implementation. He was instrumental in bring in groundbreaking innovations by undertaking payment of wages through bank accounts – well before it was adopted by the State or at the national level. A record Rs 100 crores was transferred in this manner into the bank accounts of thousands of labourers. His successful approach resulted in Ganjam getting the Presidents’ Award twice for leading changes. The people friendly approach helped maximize the mandays under NREGA and minimize the incidents of labourer migration to other states. The innovations implemented in Ganjam such as transfer of wages to bank accounts, putting up of Citizen Information Boards were later adopted nationally. These steps showed a deep sensitivity and understanding of people and an intent to root out corruption in government functioning.
Not by word he proved him self my his work and administrative ability for 9 years in different districts. Due to his successive tenure at Ganjam the home district of CM Naveen Pattnaik he moved to state secretariat as private secretary to hon’ble chief minister of Odisha.
He proved a proverb “Pure gold does not fear the flame” when he joined in CMO there was a powerful ex officer who tried to control the power and Pyari’s ouster from Naveen’s scheme of things paved the way for Pandian to stand like a pillar of strength for the CM, helping him through important governance and political issues. Pandian is very hard-working and always protects his boss’s interests. And unlike Pyari, he is a serving IAS officer. This has seemingly made Naveen trust him completely.
Pandian’s early-to-bed and early-to-rise lifestyle and his unusual working strategies have taken top-notch administrators out of their comfort zone.
The Chief Minister’s choice in assigning Pandian to assist him in the implementation of Five-T is a welcome step as he has been a pioneer in this direction. He is a team player and motivates his subordinates to perform to the fullest level. Those who have worked with him swear by his fierce loyalty and unimaginable support.
The efforts have already started bearing fruits as and the responsible authorities along with the ministers of the state are now in an accelerated mission mode.

The day his orders came out as Secretary 5Ts, the Secretariat was renamed Lok Sewa Bhawan.
He had taken a lot of decisions as per the advice of CM and executed or implemented successfully at community level. During COVID-19 crisis or Amphan either it’s FANI or it’s the new transformation of all temples of Odisha or Hospitals how he efficiently coordinate among all senior IAS officers to district level officers and monitors every project physically will definitely make ODISHA a definite growth in future. Wishing the tremendous Young IAS officer on his 46th birthday and wish he will take a place in every odiya people surely in near future.

Author: Dr Nalinikanta Mishra. A young Odia health and wellness entrepreneur and public health management professional, a SRM University alumni who is passionate to research on public administration and development of Odisha.

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