A Man With A Mission

Bhubaneswar: Odisha has seen a steady development in the last two decades under the able leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Almost all development parameters witnessed improvement and it is on a growth trajectory that no other Indian state has achieved recently. All this happened because of the dedication of the Chief Minister and his trusted team towards the people of Odisha.

All this transformation can be credited to the team that the Chief Minister nurtured which included some of the best experienced minds and the young blood that is ever ready to help the people of Odisha. One among them is the Chief Minister’s Private Secretary V. K. Pandian, who was recently made the Secretary, 5-T Initiatives.

After successfully donning various roles in the State, the young Pandian became the Collector of Ganjam in the year 2007. With his able leadership, Ganjam saw a solid transformation in the fields of MNREGS, agriculture and solving migrant labor problem. Within a few years, he became a household name in the district and was regarded as one of the finest administrators of the state. His style of work and the passion to deliver the best attracted the Chief Minister’s attention who wanted him to be with him in the endeavor to transform the state. In 2011, Pandian was made the Chief Minister’s Private Secretary. A turning point in the career of Pandian, his new role was to help Naveen achieve his ambitious targets to take the state ahead economically and socially.

As the Private Secretary of the Chief Minister, Pandian became the invisible force that always helped Naveen achieve his goals. But Naveen’s political detractors could not digest the fact and accused the young officer of interfering in political affairs, an allegation that has no base. Unlike his stint as the Collector of Ganjam, when he was overtly active in the governance and was seen aggressively participating in various departmental activities, as the PS, Pandian went to the backseat and went away from public glare. As a sincere officer to the Chief Minister, he dedicated himself to Naveen and held on to his official mandate.

The political and personal attacks could not distract him from doing his duties. As a particular section of the political fraternity kept on attacking him with baseless allegations with malafide intentions, he kept his cool and never took any vindictive action. Even he did not become vindictive to those who attacked his residence in February 2018 and never showed his annoyance or said anything publicly.

He was silently working for the development of the state. All along, one person who had full faith in him was Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Appointed V.K. Pandian as the Secretary 5-T Initiatives at a moment when the state is witnessing a paradigm shift in development process. The transformation process has started wherein the people will be the center of governance. Citizen centric governance is the new term that needs to be adopted. Naveen’s transformation initiative based on the New Mantra has already started showing results on ground. The landmark initiatives such as farmers empowerment through KALIA, women empowerment through Self Help Groups and Mission Shakti, transformation of Puri, revamping of the governance process through Mo Sarkar, are some of the challenges that need to be fulfilled.

While transformation of Puri is undergoing, we can see a visible change on the ground. The process is being directly monitored by the CMO and V.K. Pandian is actively involved in the process reviewing the day to day progress. The ambition is to transform Puri into a World Heritage City. The ambitious Mo Sarkar program is going to be implemented in the state from 2nd October 2019.

The two most important public departments Police and Hospitals will be initially included in the Mo Sarkar program, in which all service delivery processes will see a change. This will make the departments accountable and responsive to people’s needs. The citizen centric initiative intends to make services nearer to the people.

Participating in a meeting on implementation of ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative, as secretary 5-T Initiatives, V.K. Pandian gave a practical and pragmatic lesson to the officials.

Pandian said, “No one comes to police station or hospitals out of their own volition. People come to hospitals and police stations in times of distress. So, it is necessary to redress the grievances of people coming to these places. A person comes to police station when he loses his child or getting tortured. Police should know how to behave with people in these situations.”  He said, now the time is over for incremental improvement, and the time has come for transformational changes. Hence, all officials should dedicate themselves to the betterment of the people. What makes Pandian’s Saturday speech special is that it was for the first time people saw him speaking to a wider audience after a gap of many years. It was quite similar to the days when he was the District Collector of Ganjam. His short but crisp speech attracted the headlines in media and he has been praised for his ambitious plans. It reminded the days when the dynamic officer would take meetings of various offices in Ganjam. It is seen as his outstanding comeback and people are realising that he is still the same excellent and humble IAS officer. The content of the speech was so ambitious and inspirational that only an officer who has worked on the grassroots level can only articulate.

As an officer who wants transformation within the system that he is associated is not new to Pandian, his days as District Collector can be seen as example when he made a mark in transforming many areas.

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