India

Unsung IAS heroes in COVID-19 fight

<br>Yes, you guessed right. These officers are from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) who are fondly called as the country's brain. Notwithstanding that their work is being noted by people, they have been relentlessly taking measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and managing smooth functioning of key departments like administration, finance, health, diagnosis, prevention, research and cure.

From the top, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, a Jharkhand-batch IAS officer of 1982 batch, who is the backbone behind the decisions being taken across the country in fight against the COVID-19 never came in the limelight but is the key of all instruments managing the crisis. Preeti Sudan, secretary at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been working on aligning all departments to execute the Modi government's policies to prevent the spread of the disease.

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A 1983-batch IAS officer from the Andhra Pradesh cadre, Sudan is usually seen leaving her office at Nirman Bhawan late at night. An MPhil. in Economics and postgraduate in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics, Sudan also served in the World Bank in Washington as a consultant.

Her ministry is the nodal agency for fighting the present coronavirus challenge. Sudan, along with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, coordinates with sister departments in the central and state government. The two conduct regular reviews of the evolving situation.

“She is also involved in the regular review of preparedness with the states and union territories. Also, she is the first point of contact for any query arising from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office or from the office of Union Ministers,” said a senior official from her ministry who did not wish to be identified.

“She played a major role in the evacuation of the 645 students from Wuhan, China,” the official added.

Among her cadre, Sudan has a distinguished track record of serving in finance, disaster management, tourism and agriculture. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, a 1984-batch Assam-Meghalaya cadre IAS officer, is leading the nation's fight against the pandemic in his capacity as Chairperson, National Executive Committee under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

He writes to states and coordinates with all the Chief Secretaries on a regular basis to ensure availability of essential goods, by invoking Essential Commodities Act 1955. Bhalla is handling the work of the Ministry of Home which is the nodal agency in managing law and order, internal security and other things amid the crisis and issues guidelines on intervals for the welfare of people during the lockdown.

These are among those top notch officers who are taking magnificent steps to maintain the situation inside the country without caring that their work will get publicity. Like them, many IAS officers are also contributing much more that needs recognition.

Cuttack Collector Bhabani Chainy displayed exemplary commitment to service by remaining on duty amid COVID-19 fight despite losing his father. District administration under S. Thavaseelan is becoming a bridge between farmers and citizens during the lockdown ensuring fresh local vegetable home delivery.

Rajasthan's Additional Chief Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh played a major role in the containment strategy in Bhilwara turning it into a model for other Covid-19 hotspots across India. Singh is being supported by young IAS topper and Bhilwara Sub-Divisional Magistrate Tina Dabi who said “What worked in our favour was that we were very aggressive and firm in ensuring that we want complete lockdown because we were facing the possibility of a community spread”.

Bhilwara district administration led by Collector Rajendra Bhatt also played a major role in successfully containing the pandemic in the area with his innovative and dynamic ruthless containment strategy.

District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, Suhas L.Y. has also been leading from the front on area containment of hotspots and ensuring supply of essential items to residents of containment zones. Under his guidance Noida administration ensures that all the residents living in the hotspots get milk and essentials delivered at their doorstep.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R.K Tiwari has been leading from the front in the fight against corona being Chairperson of State Executive Committee under Disaster Management Act.

There are many unsung IAS heroes who have been providing excellent service and supporting the government after the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defeat the deadly pandemic which has wreaked havoc across the globe.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS<br>rak/kr

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