Eyeing $1 trillion economy, Adityanath to elevate UP chief secretary

Anup Chandra Pandey UP Chief Secretary
Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Anup Chandra Pandey (second from left, in green shirt) looks on as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath receives the award for Best Urban Bodies in Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. Photo - Anup Chandra Pandey/Twitter

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Dr Anup Chandra Pandey is all set to become Adviser to Chief Minister with cabinet minister rank, post retirement. Referred to as the “Chanakya” of the Yogi Adityanath government, he is the chief minister’s most trusted IAS officer, having successfully implemented most of his ideas and schemes.

The post-retirement elevation is being perceived to fulfill Adityanath’s ambitious dream of making the state a USD 1 trillion economy by 2024.

The Chief Minister had said that the state has the potential to become a USD 1 trillion economy and although it is a huge target, it is not impossible to achieve as the state has the requisite resources and manpower. Adityanath had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the state to take up the challenge.

“During the Investors’ Summit, the Prime Minister had asked when Uttar Pradesh will become a USD 1 trillion economy. He asked us to accept the challenge,” he said. “Going by the present pace, it will take long. We will have to speed up and every person needs to contribute. If the state’s economy improves, it will benefit everyone and the future generations,” Adityanath said during the supplementary budget debate in the Assembly.

Currently, the size of the Uttar Pradesh economy stands at ₹16.89 lakh crores or USD 240 billion, and is the fourth largest among Indian states. Taking this number to USD 1 trillion by 2024 is by no means a small task.

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This is where Dr Pandey comes in. The Chief Secretary is credited with the successful UP Investor Summit in 2018, which saw industry majors such as TCS, Samsung, besides others pledging huge investment in the state. He has been successful in fetching investments, inking MoUs of over ₹4,28 lakh crore and getting ground-breaking ceremonies of projects. And now, Uttar Pradesh is preparing to host the Global Investor Summit in 2020.

Dr Pandey is also credited with the success of the majestic ₹5000 crore Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj from January 15 to March 4. His skills in coordination with the Centre in implementation of flagship schemes and programmes also weigh greatly in his favour.

Dr Pandey, a 1984-batch IAS officer, had superseded 14 other IAS officers to become the Chief Secretary of the state. He was to retire in February but was given an extension of six months, which is set to end this August 31. The extension was given keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier, there were reports that he might get another six-month extension but it did not happen. But for all good reasons, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister would not want to lose the experience, expertise and risk-taking ability of Dr Pandey, and this is why a special post is being created for him.

Meanwhile, the race to become the new Chief Secretary hots up, with many officials vying for the top post. Some senior bureaucrats are lobbying hard for this post in Lucknow and Delhi political circles. It is not clear who will get the top post, but one thing is sure that Dr Anup Chandra Pandey will remain the boss.

Vivek Avasthi is Senior Editor – Politics with Business Television India -BTVI