Girija Vaidyanathan new Tamil Nadu chief secretary

Known for her no-nonsense attitude and clean track record, Girija is a 1981-batch IAS officer who also holds a PhD in health economics from IIT-Madras.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published:December 23, 2016 2:29 am
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A day after Income Tax raids at the residence and office of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohan Rao, the state government on Thursday replaced him with senior IAS officer Girija Vaidyanathan. The raids on Rao’s premises continued and documents pointing to undisclosed assets worth Rs 10 crore were recovered Thursday, said officials.

Known for her no-nonsense attitude and clean track record, Girija is a 1981-batch IAS officer who also holds a PhD in health economics from IIT-Madras. Rao, four years junior to Girija, was appointed last June, superseding more than a dozen seniors. Official sources said Girija was second in the seniority list of state IAS cadre.

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Daughter of S Venkitaramanan, Reserve Bank of India governor from 1990 to 1992, Girija has served as principal secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department in the Tamil Nadu government in the past. She has held numerous positions overseeing health, education, agriculture, transportation and state planning departments over the years. She has also pioneered several public health programmes besides holding the Mission Director post of the National Rural Health Mission.

“She is one of the key policy advisers in several wings of the government,” said an official.

A retired government secretary, who was a senior colleague of Girija, said: “Her responsibilities during a long career mostly revolved around health and environment sectors. Her interventions in the improvement of maternal and child health programmes implemented in the state over the years were remarkable, besides her interests in policies, development sector and academics.”

Meanwhile, raids at the residence and office of Rao’s son Vivek led to recovery of documents of undisclosed assets worth Rs 10 crore, said officials. So far, documents of assets worth Rs 15 crore have been recovered during the raids, they added.

“We are assessing the documents and the quantity of seizure before registering a case,” said a senior I-T official. Sources said the possibility of CBI registering a case in the matter cannot be ruled out as they too are looking into the seizure.

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