Chennai: Known for her clean credentials, Girija Vaidyanathan has successfully completed 365 days and a week as Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and had also gained stability at Fort St George. She assumed charge during the last week of December 2016 and it was a turbulent journey for the top official particularly post Jayalalithaa period, marked by series of income tax raids targeting state politicos and bureaucrats.
While the politics in Tamil Nadu plunged into chaos, the no-nonsense Girija handled the bureaucracy well until the month of August. And it was during the month of May, she brought in efficient senior officers like PWC Dawidar, Sunil Paliwal and T. Udayachandran. But soon, the incidence of dengue reached an all-time high and the state health department led by senior bureaucrat J. Radhakrishnan came under severe criticism. Only after the onset of monsoon, the dengue headlines faded away and then came the poor substandard monsoon preparatory works by the local administration department.
Again with political turmoil and unrest continuing among government employees, the state is losing its popularity among the public, this also badly reflected in the recent RK Nagar bypolls. The CS, who had a fall, was a long leave but it is a fact that her team failed on issues like the handling of cyclone Okhi and the issue related to transport department workers and another administrative order forcing motorists to carry an original licence also earned the public ire.
The state government also connived with the incompetent state election commission delaying the local body polls since 2016. While the recent strike by the transport workers and the demonstrations by Tamil Nadu electricity board staff can be termed a political conspiracy of Opposition parties, it is a fact that the bureaucracy also failed to win the confidence of government employees.
The last four months also saw shunting out of good IAS officers like J. Kumaragurubaran, V. Arun Roy, Udayachandran and Jyothi Nirmala known for their tough stands against the political pressure. The CS, who initially stood like a rock protecting the effective administrators, now seems to have lost her clout thereby resulting in extensions continuing among the ranks and files of state police and the information department. Further, there is no out of the box thinking or public friendly scheme coming from bureaucrats and policymakers....