Odisha: IAS officer Pandian gets cabinet minister rank a day after taking VRS

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Oct 24, 2023, 10:03 AM IST

Updated : Oct 24, 2023, 12:10 PM IST

Odisha CM ex aide Pandian appointed Chairman of 5T with rank of Cabinet Minister

Retired IAS officer V K Pandian, former aide to Odisha CM, was appointed Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) with rank of Cabinet Minister. Pandian's rose to prominence as the close aide of the chief minister has often landed him in controversies, with opposition parties alleging that he was misusing his position for political gains.

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) : In a significant development in Odisha's political landscape, former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer V K Pandian, who was once a close aide to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has been appointed as the Chairman of the 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin (New) Odisha with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. This announcement came through an official notification issued on Tuesday, just a day after reports surfaced about Pandian's voluntary retirement from government service.

V K Pandian, a seasoned bureaucrat belonging to the 2000-batch of the Odisha cadre, had decided to take voluntary retirement from his government service, a move that raised eyebrows and fuelled speculation about his next steps in the state's political landscape. Following this development, the General Administration and Public Grievance Department revealed that Pandian would now work directly under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, further solidifying his position in the state's political hierarchy.

Pandian's journey in the Odisha bureaucracy began in 2002 when he assumed the role of sub-collector in Dharmagarh, located in the Kalahandi district. His dedication and competence soon earned him promotions, and in 2005, he was appointed as the collector of Mayurbhanj district. In 2007, he was entrusted with the important role of collector in Ganjam. It was during his tenure in Ganjam that he forged a close working relationship with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who hails from the same district.

In 2011, Pandian transitioned from being a district collector to serving in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), becoming Naveen Patnaik's private secretary. His role as a trusted aide and confidant to the Chief Minister played a pivotal role in shaping his career trajectory.

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Notably, after Naveen Patnaik secured his fifth consecutive term as the Chief Minister in 2019, V K Pandian was entrusted with additional responsibilities as the '5T secretary.' This role was created to oversee and implement transformational initiatives within various government departments.

Pandian's latest appointment as the Chairman of 5T Initiatives with the rank of a Cabinet Minister has given rise to speculation that he may soon join the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD). It is widely anticipated that he will assume a significant role within the party as preparations for the upcoming assembly elections, due early next year, gain momentum.

Throughout his career, V K Pandian has been no stranger to controversy. As a close aide to Chief Minister Patnaik, he has often been accused by opposition parties of misusing his position for political gains. His journey from a district collector to a key decision-maker in the state's administration has been marked by both accolades and criticisms.

In a letter addressed to the state's General Administration Department, the Centre's Department of Personnel and Training officially acknowledged Pandian's voluntary retirement, accepting it "with the waiver of the notice period as recommended by the State Government." This development has further solidified Pandian's transition from the bureaucracy to a prominent political role in Odisha's evolving political landscape.

Last Updated :Oct 24, 2023, 12:10 PM IST
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