Policy Engagements and Blogs

Leadership in the Indian Bureaucracy

January 19, 2018


The blog series below by TR Raghunandan, an advisor to the Accountability Initiative at CPR, sheds light on how senior IAS officers overcome challenges to do their work and create value for the communities they are responsible for:

Why the Bureaucracy Clicks, and Doesn’t recounts the experiences of V J Kurien, the Managing Director of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), and how he was able to convince and win the trust of all stakeholders to develop Kochi International Airport. His credibility as someone who strived for consensus helped overcome the challenges of financing, providing gainful employment for thousands of people, and getting the support of a sceptical local administration. An Eye for Detail, further explores Kurien’s exceptional eye for detail and his ‘un-relenting desire to seek economy and efficiency’ that set him apart from most other bureaucrats.

A Bureaucrat’s Endeavours Bear Fruit explores how T Vijaykumar managed to secure tribal rights and increase livelihood for rural women in Andhra Pradesh. It looks back on Vijaykumar’s experience as Managing Director of the Girijan Cooperative Corporation and head of the Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty, (SERP). The latter, a state-level society, cut through red tape and implemented the state’s ambitious poverty reduction mission thereby supporting 1.15 crore rural poor women in the state. The success of the Andhra Pradesh approach significantly contributed to the evolution of the national model – the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.

The Key to Success in the IAS reflects on the qualities that both Kurien and Vijaykumar exhibited, and how their personal experiences of interacting with the system shaped their professional vision such as dealing with political repercussions and jealousy of colleagues from within the bureaucracy. A Social Sector Crusader delves deeper into Vijaykumar’s career trajectory as a bureaucrat, including the time he was abducted and held for ransom by left wing extremists.