G K Pillai hangs up his boots with his stint as the union home secretary making this mild mannered and fearless bureacrat one of the popular top rung officials during the UPA rule.
Pillai(61), who retired on Thursday after completing his two-year tenure in the challenging post, handed over charge to R K Singh, a 1975 batch IAS office from Bihar cadre. He always wore a smile and has been one of the most accessible home secretaries for the media.
Pillai had a busy last day meeting a stream of people who had gathered at his North Block office to bid adieu.
He took charge of the ministry barely six months after the country had witnessed the deadliest terror strike in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 in which 166 people were killed.
Pillai was actively involved in the daunting task of overhauling the security apparatus of the country and ensuring close coordination between various intelligence agencies working under the ministry.
During his tenure, Pillai has never shown signs of being overwhelmed by any difficult situation -- be it the German bakery blasts or a Maoist attack or the challenging security issues during Commonwealth Games.
Pillai always made himself available to the media and almost unfailingly quickly gave a preliminary assessment of any situation--be it Maoist attack or natural diasters or accidents.
His quick briefings for the media gave no scope for any ambiguity especially during times when speculation ruled the roost in the absence of correct inputs.
Pillai, a strong supporter of reform of the security forces, set out the priorities for himself soon after he took over: Kashmir, Maoist insurgency and the northeast.