CHENNAI: Seasoned bureaucrat Dr Girija Vaidyanathan, known for her no-nonsense approach, integrity, high competence and revolutionalising the public health system in Tamil Nadu, was on Thursday named as the chief secretary replacing P. Rama Mohana Rao. Mr Rao was removed unceremoniously from the top job after his continuance became untenable following I-T raids at the residences and offices belonging to him, his son and relatives on Wednesday. Immediately after being sacked, Mr Rao was kept on wait list.
The appointment of Chennai-born Mrs Vaidyanathan, a 1981-batch IAS officer serving as the commissioner of land administration in the rank of additional chief secretary, came even as raids at the premises belonging to Mr Rao and his relatives continued for the second day. Mrs Vaidyanathan is the fourth woman chief secretary of Tamil Nadu after Lakshmi Pranesh, S. Malathi and Sheela Balakrishnan.
Mrs Vaidyanathan, daughter of former RBI Governor S. Venkitaramanan, had served as the health secretary from 2011-2012 during the tenure of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and was also the mission director of State Rural Health Mission. She was overlooked twice when K. Gnanadesikan and his successor P. Rama Mohana Rao were appointed as chief secretaries in 2014 and 2016.
“Dr (Tmt) Girija Vaidyanathan, IAS, additional chief secretary / commissioner of land administration is transferred and posted as chief secretary to government vice Dr P Rama Mohana Rao, IAS,” an order issued by Shiv Das Meena, principal secretary to the government of Tamil Nadu, said. The order also said Mrs Vaidyanathan will hold full additional charge of the post of vigilance commissioner and commissioner of administrative reforms. Mrs Vaidyanathan has another two-and-a-half years left in service, as she will retire in 2019.