Giving Mumbai world-class infrastructure and getting the ‘clean and transparent’ tag for Maharashtra will be his top priorities chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad tells Sayli Udas Mankikar on his first day in office.
You have been given this responsibility in a very tricky situation, when scams are dogging the state. How do you view this posting?
After 35 years in the administration, I am very happy to be given this challenging responsibility. There is a lot of scope for improvement in terms of bringing in transparency in its functioning.
I will first put a management information system in place to streamline all administrative processes. The common man should have easy access. I want to see Maharashtra race ahead of all other states.
What is chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s brief for you?
I met him last evening and his brief was clear. He expects a clean administration, transparent working, streamlining systems and teamwork. We can achieve this by proper planning and I am sure the bureaucracy will stand behind it.
You handled city projects as the commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. Mumbai has great expectations from you…
Mumbai will always be at the top of my agenda and the state’s main thrust. My vision is to make it the global financial capital. For that, we need to concentrate on developing infrastructure of international standards.
There are projects of more than Rs. 41,000 crore in pipeline. I will be following them up because I will be the de-facto executive chairman of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
How are you going to handle the action on Adarsh scam?
I do not want to comment on the issue since it is being investigated. Such incidents can happen so there needs to be transparency. There are some minus points in the system that we need to overcome.
You come from a socially backward class. What has your journey from being Gadchiroli’s first collector to the top post in the state administration been like?
It has been long and difficult yet fulfilling. My mother was a teacher and times were tough. But looking back, I feel my posting in Gadchiroli was more rewarding than that at the Centre.
Coming from a socially backward class, I can identify with problems of these sections. There are a lot of schemes for socially and economically weak sections, but the problem lies in their implementation. I will look at removing the hurdles to make these schemes more accessible to people.