BVR Subrahmanyam could be J&K's chief secretary: IAS officer's experience in dealing with insurgency makes him ideal choice

Chhattisgarh additional chief secretary (Home) BVR Subrahmanyam's two stints at the Prime Miniter's Office, during Manmohan Singh's and Narendra Modi's tenures as prime ministers, and his experience in the state's home department have been instrumental in getting him transferred to the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He is tipped to be the chief secretary of the state, where Governor's Rule was imposed on Tuesday. BVR, as he is popularly known in bureaucratic circles and among his friends, is a 1987-batch IAS officer with a mechanical engineering background, and belongs to Andhra Pradesh.

Considering his effective handling of issues related to the Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh, the Centre has posted him in Jammu and Kashmir, which is reeling under a severe internal security crisis at the moment, due to Pakistan-backed terrorism.

According to highly placed sources in the Chhattisgarh government, Subrahmanyam, both as the principal secretary and then as ACS, home department, played an effective role in coordinating with central paramilitary forces and state police in tackling Naxalism in the Maoist-hotbed Bastar.

Chhattisgarh’s ACS (Home) BVR Subrahmanyam flanked by Bastar IG Vivekananda (left) and Dantewada district collector Saurabh Kumar. Firstpost/Debobrat G

Chhattisgarh’s ACS (Home) BVR Subrahmanyam flanked by Bastar IG Vivekananda (left) and Dantewada district collector Saurabh Kumar. Firstpost/Debobrat G

"In the last three years, there has been a decline in Maoist incidents in Bastar. Unlike in the past, the number of casualties in a single Maoist attack, except the one that occurred in Burkapal, has come down. Subrahmanyam had been at the helm of affairs and had an excellent liaison with security forces. Things could have been worst in this Maoist belt, but his active participation, planning and execution as ACS (Home) helped a lot in containing the insurgency," an official based in one of the districts in Bastar division told Firstpost, on condition of anonymity.

The importance of this Chhattisgarh-cadre officer can also be judged from a reply given by Manmohan to Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, when the latter requested the former prime minister to relieve Subrahmanyam from the Centre – so that he could serve in Chhattisgarh, his parent cadre.

It's part of bureaucracy folklore that Raman wrote to Manmohan to relieve Subrahmanyam so that the latter could serve his home cadre. The prime minister had replied that he needed 'an officer with experience to deal with sensitive matters and who also enjoyed his trust and confidence'.

Considered close to Modi, Subrahmanyam worked with both Manmohan and Modi with equal ease and earned their confidence.

He was amongst Manmohan's most trusted men – like C Rangarajan, Shivshankar Menon, TKA Nair and Pulok Chatterji. Subrahmanyam, 57, had worked in the PMO as private secretary to Manmohan for over four years during the UPA-I government.

His second stint, as joint secretary in the South Block (PMO), began in March 2012 and continued till March 2015. He worked almost for a year as joint secretary under Modi, till he moved to Chhattisgarh.

Subrahmanyam, who also earned a management degree from London Business School, also had a stint in between as a senior advisor to the World Bank in Washington DC.

Known as a 'no-nonsense man', Subrahmanyam, who also held the additional charge of jail and transport in Chhattisgarh, ensured that buses and public transport were not on the move during operations against Maoists in any particular area.

According to Chhattisgarh Police sources, he ensured these safeguards so as to avoid casualties during operations against Maoists. Coordination between central security forces and the state police has often been considered as a bottleneck during operations against Maoists in Naxal-infested states.

Chhattisgarh’s ACS (Home) BVR Subrahmanyam flanked by police and central security force officials on a field visit to a high-risk area in Bastar. Firstpost/Debobrat G

BVR Subrahmanyam flanked by police and central security force officials on a field visit to a high-risk area in Bastar. Firstpost/Debobrat G

Subrahmanyam, instead of delegating from his office, used to be on-field to monitor implementation of policies and their progress.

He also initiated the Bastar Development Plan, which ensured fast-tracked construction of roads in conflict areas. Today, the smooth blacktop roads across Bastar are considered to be an important factor in pushing the Maoists on the back-foot.

"Subrahmanyam, during meetings on security issues, always emphasised on coordination and cooperation between central forces and state police. As a result, things have improved during operations, especially due to his field visits in high-risk areas," a central security force official in Chhattisgarh said.

It was during his tenure as head of the state's home department that Chhattisgarh Police adopted an offensive strategy against the Maoists, unlike in the past, when the forces used to act defensively.

"Keeping the rich experience and calibre of the ACS in mind, who also enjoys a good reputation, the Appointments Committee found him eligible for Jammu and Kashmir's top post. Under Governor's Rule, the coordination with the Indian Army and security forces is of prime importance and plays a crucial role. Given his experience in conflict zone administration in Chhattisgarh, we're sure he'll do well in the state," Ramesh Nayyar, a Raipur-based veteran journalist added.

Subrahmanyam has been asked by the Centre to take charge in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect. He could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.


Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 18:44 PM

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