Skip to main content

Pandian chosen as Gujarat's next chief secretary, setting aside his senior SK Nanda's claim for the top post

By Our Representative
D Jagatheesa Pandian, additional chief secretary, industries, has been chosen by Gujarat government to take over as new state chief secretary, setting aside the claim of No 2 in the bureaucracy, Sudip Kumar Nanda. Belonging to the 1981 IAS batch, Pandian will take over as chief secretary on November 1, 2014. Officials said, Nanda’s Congress past played a major role for dropping him. Currently additional chief secretary, home, Nanda has been sent to head the Gujarat State Fertilizers Corporation (GSFC), a state public sector undertaking (PSU) in Vadodara. More recently, during Navratri, Nanda overturned Vishwa Hindu Parishad move not to allow Muslims to enter garba venues. He barred use of identity cards to take part in garbas.
Belonging to the 1981 batch, Pandian, a “devout” Roman Catholic, and known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was instrumental, as managing-director of the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), in turning the state PSU into an important national player in oil and gas exploration. Modi as Gujarat chief minister gained a major political milestone in 2005, when Pandian helped him declare that GSPC had found 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in the KG Basin off Andhra Pradesh coast, “highest ever” in India. It is quite another thing that later the claim was found to be totally hyped.
Another of Pandian’s ambitious venture was of turning GSPC into an international player by taking oil and gas blocks in Egypt, Australia, Yemen and Indonesia. However, his biggest venture – to go in for oil and gas exploration in Egypt – was abandoned recently, with huge losses to the tune of 300 million dollars to the PSU. Formerly with the World Bank in Washington, Pandian, first as GSPC chief and later as head of the state energy and chemicals department, played a crucial role in propagating Modi in the US. He frequently visited the US to convince policy makers and corporate about the need to look towards Gujarat as the main investment destination.
Nanda’s claim to be chief secretary was rejected twice – instead of elevating him on the top post, the Gujarat government extended the term of outgoing chief secretary Varesh Sinha first in May and then in July, making many a babu ask why he was being asked to “suffer” like this. It is believed, Modi’s Man Friday in the chief minister’s office – K Kailashnathan – played the main role in ensuring that Pandian is preferred over Nanda. Officials site not only his Youth Congress days in 1970s as the reason for not allowing him to be Gujarat chief secretary; they say, he continued to remain “close to Congress leaders” in Delhi till the UPA was thrown out of power in May this year.
As head of the industries department, Pandian is the key person looking after all the preparations for the Vibrant Gujarat global investors’ summit, to take place on January 11-12, 2015. Proactive and sharp, he is known to get along well with politicians of all hues – whether of the BJP or the Congress. Pandian will retire in May 2015, after which, it is believed, Hasmukh Adhia, additional chief secretary, finance, will become the next chief secretary. Former principal secretary in the chief minister’s office under Modi, Adhia retires in November 2018. Adhia was of the chief architects of Modi’s karmayogi maha-abhiyan – an effort to “educate” babus in RSS style workshops.

Comments

Dr RKD Goel said…
Will he check all the illegal work and constructions going on in Vadodara. Even illegal constructions on All India Radio Security fencing wall from 1999 causing Security lapses of AIR building any one may sobatage AIR Vadodara Building.

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.