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J&K CS returns to Centre after accomplishing mission

28/05/2021 at 8:45 AM

By Arun Joshi

 Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B V R  Subrahmanyam , one of the men behind the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution , is going back to the Centre   as Commerce Secretary after having  accomplished the mission  that he was assigned three years ago .

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on  Thursday ordered his appointment as Commerce Secretary in the Government of India .He will be officer on  special duty till June 30 , then he will take over from the current commerce secretary.

He had come to Jammu and Kashmir  on June 21 , 2018,  two days after the politically elected government of Mehbooba Mufti was reduced to a minority with BJP pulling out of the  PDP-BJP coalition government. His arrival marked the beginning of the process of abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into the two Union Territories of Ladakh, and J&K.

These decisions of August 5 , 2019 , and the security plans to handle the situation post abrogation of Article 370 , were all drafted in advance by B V R , as he  is known popularly among his colleagues and friends . He burnt mid-night’s oil in JK House, Chanakyapuri , for days ahead of the August 5 decisions .

That he was  the officer of great trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi became public when during a meeting of top officers and senior functionaries of the Government, including the then Governor Satya Pal Malik in Srinagar in February 2019, the Prime Minister praised him as an “ efficient officer”, who was the first to tell him that the Indian economy would touch three trillion dollars.

His three years in Jammu and Kashmir have seen much of transformation of the place not only in terms of its exalted status of special  status and a large state being brought at par with other states and UTs in the country, but also a slew of  measures that brought development in all sectors  as top priority on the agenda of governance . He also facilitated the introduction of the central laws and bringing changes in the style of governance  in J&K, which was earlier known as a state without any plans for infrastructural and human development in its archaic style of governance .

Over these years, he had become an icon of the  real bureaucratic power  and duty toward the people could stand up to anything  because of his own knowledge  and style of working that had enhanced confidence of Prime Minister in him.

Within hours after the state of  Jammu and Kashmir had come under Governor’s rule – a modified version of the President’s rule in the hitherto special status state , where Governor under such a rule had the legislative powers as well – came the announcement  of  Subrahmanyam  as the new chief secretary .

The message to the then governor N N Vohra was clear that he would not have the complete say in the matters of administration . Vohra took some time to understand It. Himself a hard-core bureaucrat , could understand that the Centre had put him on notice when  Centre dealt with the matters of state over him with Subrahmanyam .

Vohra was given marching orders in August 2018 ,and he came to know it through  a call from the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh while he was in Delhi  getting his  teeth checked up .

Subrahmanyam is returning  as a satisfied man, for he has completed and accomplished the mission he was assigned at the time when he was sent to J&K.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.

He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


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