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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Former Union health secy Keshav Desiraju, grandson of S Radhakrishnan, passes away

Desiraju died at a private hospital in Chennai due to acute coronary syndrome. He retired as the Union Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs and held several other positions in the Government of India, as well as other state governments.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 5, 2021 7:02:55 pm
Keshav Desiraju was an IAS officer from the 1978 batch of the Uttarakhand cadre. (Twitter/@DesirajuKeshav)

Former Union health secretary Keshav Desiraju passed away Sunday morning in a hospital in Chennai. His demise comes on Teacher’s Day’, marked in honour of Desiraju’s grandfather and former President of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

According to a news report, Desiraju died at a private hospital in Chennai due to acute coronary syndrome. He was 66.

Desiraju retired as the Union Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs and held several other positions in the Government of India, as well as other state governments. He was a scholar and researcher and an advocate of prioritising mental health. Even after retirement, the IAS officer continued to serve in advisory boards of several organisations and contributed towards improving public health.

Recently, he had authored a biography on Carnatic singer M S Subbalaksmi. Previously, he had co-edited Healers or PredatorsHealthcare Corruption in India with Samiran Nundy and Sanjay Nagra.

MP Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to express his condolences. “My dear, dear friend for 57 years, Keshav Desiraju, a most outstanding civil servant has just passed away. What a tragic irony that he left us on the day the country marks the birthday of his grandfather,” he wrote.

Desiraju was an Uttarakhand cadre IAS officer from the 1978 batch. He had completed a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government of the Harvard University.

Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot also remembered Desiraju as a member of the Chief Minister Rajasthan Economic Transformation Advisory Council. “He was a distinguished, gentle and a creative thinker, and a person of great eminence,” Gehlot said.

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, K Vijay Raghavan, expressed shock over the scholar’s demise.

India’s Centre for Policy Research, where Desiraju had served as a member of its governing body, too, expressed its condolences of his demise. “He was an integral part of the @CPR_India family and his work has inspired generations of scholars at the Centre. His passing is an immeasurable loss to us. Our condolences to his family,” the organisation tweeted.

Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant remembered Desiraju as “a remarkable human being, a professional civil servant, a progressive intellectual.”

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