A day after taking voluntary retirement, V.K. Pandian, a close aide of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has been appointed as the chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha in the rank of a Cabinet Minister, and will work directly under the CM.
“Shri V K Pandian is hereby appointed as Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha in the rank of Cabinet Minister. Shri Pandian shall work directly under the Chief Minister,” reads an order issued by the state General Administration and Public Grievance Department here Tuesday.
The 5T initiative was launched by the Naveen Patnaik government after it came to power in 2019 for a fifth consecutive term. It was launched with the agenda to transform governance in all departments by bringing about big, transformational, institutional-level changes. Pandian wielded enormous clout through ‘5T’ — team work, technology, transparency, transformation and time limit.
Pandian as the 5T secretary was instrumental in the makeover of high schools, hospitals, stadiums, renovation and restoration of ancient and revered temples, and also major pilgrimage sites in the state.
Pandian, the 2000-batch Odisha cadre IAS officer, was first appointed as the sub-collector of Dharmagarh in Kalahandi district in 2002. Later, he also worked as the collector of Mayurbhanj and Ganjam districts. Pandian, a native of Tamil Nadu, has been the private secretary to CM Patnaik after joining the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in 2011.
The President of India had conferred the National award for Rehabilitation of PWDs to Pandian during his stint as the Collector Mayurbhanj. He also received the Hellen Keller Award due to his work for the cause of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
As Collector of Ganjam, he received the National Award for MGNREGA twice for the best district in the country given by the Prime Minister.