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Yogi builds team for efficient delivery in run-up to 2019 polls

When chief minister Yogi Adityanath chose senior IAS officer Anup Chandra Pandey as the state’s chief secretary, the move signalled he was tightening his grip on the administration and building his team to expedite delivery of government schemes in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

lucknow Updated: Jul 19, 2018 12:49 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Yogi Adityanath,IAS officer Anup Chandra Pandey,2019 Lok Sabha elections
Yogi and his cabinet lauded him and assured his services will be used in one form or the other.(PTI Photo)

When chief minister Yogi Adityanath chose senior IAS officer Anup Chandra Pandey as the state’s chief secretary, the move signalled he was tightening his grip on the administration and building his team to expedite delivery of government schemes in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The step also sought to counter the impression that the chief minister did not have the last word in key appointments in the state. Such an impression had gained ground after some officers were sent from the Centre in the past.

As infrastructure and industrial development commissioner, Pandey had earned praise for holding a successful Uttar Pradesh Investors Summit-2018 in February.

He had also worked out the crop loan waiver scheme in the ‘shortest possible time’ and laid out the roadmap for its implementation.

Pandey’s predecessor Rajive Kumar, who retired on June 30, was not considered the chief minister’s choice.

Nevertheless, Yogi and his cabinet lauded him and assured his services will be used in one form or the other.

“My predecessor has set very high standards for me. I will try to uphold them,” said Pandey, promising to ensure implementation of the Sankalp Patra that the BJP brought in 2017 assembly elections in the state. He also faces the challenge of streamlining administration.

Senior IAS officer Prabhat Kumar is another key member of Adityanath’s team. As the state’s politics revolves around the farm sector, he has been appointed the new agriculture production commissioner, replacing Raj Pratap Singh, who carried out reforms in the mining sector.

Known for having unearthed scams as the divisional commissioner of Meerut, Prabhat Kumar is expected to check corruption and improve efficiency as the state’s second top bureaucrat.

Additional chief secretary Mukul Singhal, now posted with the appointment department, is another member of the team. Known for his hands-on approach, Singhal drew attention when he was seen in a queue at UHM hospital in Kanpur during a surprise check to verify a woman patient’s complaint that she was being denied medicines.

After verifying the complaint, Singhal ordered action against the errant pharmacist.

Additional chief secretary, finance, Sanjiv Mittal has steered the fund starved state government clear of any controversy and ensured funds for the crop loan waiver scheme, seventh pay commission arrears and development programmes.

Yogi’s team also includes the chief minister’s principal secretary SP Goel. Additional chief secretary Awanish Awasthi is an integral part of the chief minister’s team of officials.

He was brought back to Luckow from the Centre apparently for being appointed in the chief minister’s secretariat.

As chief executive officer of the Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), Awasthi has made a major contribution in reducing the estimated cost of the Purvanchal Expressway project.

Cane commissioner Sanjay Bhoosreddy, too, has carried out many reforms and made efforts to clear dues of cane growers.

“This is in sharp contrast to the officers, who believe in passing the buck,” says another functionary.

Principal secretary, home, Arvind Kumar and principal secretary, energy, Arvind Kumar too have been taking Yogi’s agenda forward.

The focus on putting together a crack team of officials may also help the government dispel the notion that some officers rarely take decisions, people familiar with the issue in the corridors of power feel.

“Some officers make themselves inaccessible to people, who reach the secretariat with their petitions. They hold meetings even during the hours reserved for visitors despite directives from successive governments to remain available for the people,” they say.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 12:49 IST