Maha gets a think tank

The Democratic Front government led by Prithviraj Chavan has tagged 12 issues as top-priority and set up a think-tank comprising senior IAS officers to work on it. The think tank, headed by Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, will handle issues such attracting investment, develop infrastructure, and eradicate malnutrition in the state. Other items on the agenda of the panel’s top priority list will be simplifying rules of business and administrative reforms, e-governance, improvement in human development index, special component plan and tribal sub-plan, supply of clean and potable water, development of tourism, ports and allied facilities. The think tank is for comprehensive planning and speedy implementation of various schemes. “It is to take help of senior officials who have expertise in specific sectors for planning and implementation,”said Gaikwad, while sharing the idea with his colleagues from the state administration. The 19-member panel comprises departmental heads such as additional chief secretaries Umesh Chandra Sarangi (home) and J K Banthia (public health), principal secretaries Swadhin Kshatriya (revenue), Sudhir Kumar Goyal (co-operation), A K Jain (CM’s office), K P Bakshi (GAD), UPS Madan (project director, Mumbai transformation project), Malini Shankar (water supply), Ajay Bhushan Pandey (on Central Govt deputation for Aadhar – the UID project), secretaries Ashishkumar Singh (CM’s office), Mahesh Pathak (higher & technical education), Valsa Nair Singh (environment) and Sudhir Takre (rural development). Sales Tax commissioner Sanjay Bhatia, additional commissioner MMRDA SVR Srinivas will also be a part of the panel of which additional commissioner of MMRDA Aswini Bhide will be the member secretary. Notably, two of its members are former IAS officers who had resigned to join private sector. While Sanjay Ubale is associated with a Tata Group enterprise, V K Jairath is active in investment management and infrastructure, sources said. According to Mantralaya officials, inclusion of the two IAS officers was surprising and their involvement in formulating government policies on crucial matters will be a conflict of interests.

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