When Krishna Kishore Jasthi arrived in Odisha as Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation), not many people outside of the Income Tax department in the state capital of Bhubaneswar really knew of him – except, of course, some seasoned national political observers and hard-core newshounds who were aware of his illustrious career and his long but successful fight for justice against the ruling dispensation in Andhra Pradesh where he was caught in a vicious vortex of vendetta politics simply for doing his job as a strict and disciplined officer.
The fact that the senior IRS officer – recently promoted as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance – does not hail from Odisha and typically keeps a low profile also contributed to his initial anonymity in the state. But that has changed – slowly but surely – over time, thanks to word spreading about his unflinching honesty as a bureaucrat, his unquestionable effectiveness as an administrator and his compassion as a human being, not to mention his long-standing association with good causes.
Since early this year, he has been actively involved in an initiative to train as many as 2,00,000 people in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) across Odisha by the end of 2025. He was the coordinator of the Mass Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training Programme, the first step of that initiative, which was organised by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (Odisha) and Sri Jagannatha Service Foundation in association with the American Heart Association and AIIMS Bhubaneswar. Held at the Kalinga Stadium and inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself on February 2, this was a massive but well-organised event that saw some 2000 people, including hundreds of police personnel and women students, receive training in life-saving CPR skills.
Imagine the number of people that can potentially be saved from heart attacks in Odisha with the success of such efforts.
More recently, since last month, Jasthi has also been playing a rather similar role in another initiative by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (Odisha) and Sri Jagannatha Service Foundation – to plant 10 lakh trees in the state by the year 2025. This massive plantation drive is expected to pave the way for many other similar efforts that can make Odisha a model state in environmental conservation and place it at the forefront of the fight against climate change. No wonder this initiative, too, has received much support from the government of Odisha.
While doing all this good work, Jasthi has also led the Income Tax Investigation Directorate of Odisha to deliver its best ever results on all parameters – from making the largest cash seizure to unearthing the highest amount of undisclosed income. Apart from his zero-tolerance for corruption, he is also known to have repeatedly instructed his teams to ensure that taxpayers are treated with respect as they contribute to the nation’s growth. The Directorate has neither received a single complaint of harassment, nor has it seen any leak of taxpayer data during his tenure.
It is heartening and inspiring to see how this ace bureaucrat, in such a short span of time, has become a veritable part of Odisha’s success story.