AIADMK’s pick of no-nonsense Girija Vaidhyanathan as Chief Secretary surprises many

Daughter of S Venkitaramanan, who was Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor from 1990 to 1992, Vaidyanathan is a native of Nagercoil in southern Tamil Nadu, where her father was born to a Tamil Iyer family.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 22, 2016 4:18 pm
Girija Vaidhyanathan Girija Vaidhyanathan

Girija Vaidyanathan, the new Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, is not only a no-nonsense officer in the state cadre but is also someone who was sidelined in her career. Her predecessor P Rama Mohana Rao, former Chief Secretary, who was removed from the post on Thursday morning following Income Tax raids at his premises with seizure of over Rs 30 lakh worth new currency, five kilogram gold and documents revealing undisclosed assets worth Rs 5 crore, himself was appointed in last June bypassing over a dozen IAS officers.

Daughter of S Venkitaramanan, who was Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor from 1990 to 1992, Vaidyanathan is a native of Nagercoil in southern Tamil Nadu, where her father was born to a Tamil Iyer family. Girija, who served as the principal secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department in the Government of Tamil Nadu, had held numerous positions overseeing departments in health, education, agriculture, transportation and state planning over the years. Senior colleagues recall her role in pioneering Tamil Nadu’s major public health projects. She also headed the Mission Director post of the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) besides being a key policy advisor in several wings of the government.

“She was one of the brains who played behind the best public health and education projects during Jayalalithaa’s first regime. More than AIADMK, it was DMK that considered her mostly. She was neither corrupt nor someone who would always agree to their bosses and colleagues,” said a source close to Vaidhyanathan.

For another friend of her, “Girija maintains a low profile. She is workaholic, academic and a work oriented person like her father.” Vaidhyanathan joined the civil service in 1981 and her main focus has been in the development sector. Her responsibilities during the long career mostly revolved around health and environment sectors. Veterans in the Tamil Nadu government would recall her interventions in the improvement of maternal and child health programmes implemented in the state over the years. With a PhD in health economics from the IIT-Madras, Vaidhyanathan’s appointment has taken many in surprise. “She was always an unpopular officer for AIADMK unlike DMK which used her vision and ideas in many programmes and policies. This is a real surprise,” said a senior government secretary.

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  1. S
    Sri
    Dec 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm
    I hope they also replace all the ministers in ADMK with sensible educated people rather than people who go around falling on their leaders feet.....
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    1. B
      Balpasu
      Dec 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm
      Get a life Adu Idu...End of Dravidian casteist parties are nearing. Religious party like Congress is booted out. BJP with Modi is only indicating development, I cannot see any religious angle to any actions so far.
      Reply
      1. G
        Ganesh mahesh
        Dec 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm
        Periyar pundamavan Dravidian parties hate Brahmins
        Reply
        1. S
          Siva sankaran
          Dec 23, 2016 at 7:28 am
          While referring newly appointed Chief Secretary's name, the author chose her last name as per the western convention. whereas it is her spouse name. I think it is appropriate to mention her with first name "Girija".
          Reply
          1. A
            Adu Idu
            Dec 22, 2016 at 1:37 pm
            LOL corrupt religious BJP isfishing in troubled waters.lt;br/gt;All this raids did not happen, until PMfound it hard to make Sasikala group accept to bjp terms.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;onlynaive people would think these raids are to target corrupt.lt;br/gt;in that case Vijay mallya, Lalit modi ets would have been raided loong time back.
            Reply
            1. A
              Adu Idu
              Dec 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm
              Solid note?, if you cant win people votes,this is back entry.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;They shoul dhave conducted these raids long back, its just surgical strike,lt;br/gt;as many accept to enter foot in TN whatever way possible, including using govt machinery where it suits BJP needs.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;ITs all happening for Just political bargaining with sasi group, not to protect people tax money.lt;br/gt;so entry is not a public mandate, just some parties wish to enter TN.
              Reply
              1. M
                mumbai
                Dec 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm
                Not selected by aiadmk. mandate from BJP. Good signs for dravidan parties' demise
                Reply
                1. B
                  Basha
                  Dec 22, 2016 at 10:33 am
                  Congratulations
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    Bhagavath B S
                    Dec 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm
                    DMKS back entry or straight entry closed, all pre planning of stalin failed,aiadmk no split
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      stupid
                      Dec 22, 2016 at 6:41 pm
                      Chief secretary is chosen by State govt. Not center. First get your facts right. Jaya wanted a corrupt preson so she chose Rao. O,Panneerselvam wanted a trouble free start to his CM post so he has chosen her even-though she was primary person under DMK.
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        SRIDHAR
                        Dec 23, 2016 at 6:31 am
                        Friends, never ever get into politics and caste................all are human ............judge their value in way of work..............everyone will be rewarded one day.
                        Reply
                        1. C
                          c
                          Dec 22, 2016 at 11:21 am
                          C p Chandra Das from Memphis lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;It is really heartening to find that a very senior IAS officer, who has been evaluated as a NO nonsense bureaucrat has umed the office of the Chief secretary of the TN secretariat. The recoveries from the house of the former chief would have send shock waves throughout the state and would have dampened the spirit of the present council of ministers , and the new chief with a clear vision will be in a position to create a confidence in the public about governance.
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            romi
                            Dec 22, 2016 at 10:55 am
                            good honesty shud be rewarded lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;shows changes coming in aiadmk
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Ram
                              Dec 22, 2016 at 11:59 am
                              She is daughter in law of former RBI Governor S Venkitaramanan. Ace comedian and action S Ve Sekar is her brother in law.
                              Reply
                              1. U
                                Umesh Suri
                                Dec 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm
                                More Babus need to be shown the door to Tihar jail to clean the system. time to clean sweep.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  Ramsubramani Harihara Iyer
                                  Dec 24, 2016 at 2:06 am
                                  Is it not high time that I.E. Use its discretion and refuse comments containing abusilve language? How do U tolerate the language ofGanesh Mahesh,Sambasivam and Kumarwho have opened their dirty mouth and mind in commenting?
                                  Reply
                                  1. I
                                    ifu
                                    Dec 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm
                                    RBI GOVERNOR VENKATRAMAN MET J JAYALALITHA EVEN BEFORE SHE AND ADMK WON IN 1991 TO REQUEST FOR A GOOD POSTING FOR HER DAUGHTER.lt;br/gt;THIS MEETING WAS ARRANGED AT POES GARDEN BY A COIMBATORE INDUSTRIALIST WHO WAS THE FIRST SUPPORTER OF JAYALALITHA.
                                    Reply
                                    1. J
                                      James Japp
                                      Dec 22, 2016 at 2:19 pm
                                      Why don't you go to church and be happy? Christmas is around the corner and you can get a few more converts for Rs.2000 per head. May be, your priest has hordes of 2000-ruppe notes tucked away for this purpose.
                                      Reply
                                      1. K
                                        Kumar
                                        Dec 23, 2016 at 2:07 am
                                        Poda Parpana naye!
                                        Reply
                                        1. K
                                          KS KUMAR
                                          Dec 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm
                                          You are happy with persons like Rammohanrao rather than an honest officer like Girija only because in your view she is the choice of BJP
                                          Reply
                                          1. K
                                            krvasudevan
                                            Dec 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm
                                            A good officer with great credentials but not a yes-person is sidelined by the political establishment. Only the officers who toe the politicians and help them in their corruption are given good postings. This has been the one major reason for the rot in the system. It is good that an officer has got posting, on merits, for once.
                                            Reply
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