A BUREAUCRAT’S DIARY : Rajeev Verma &Rachna Verma

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In the Indian system of government, the most critical decisions are made by state officials rather than the common concept that elected representatives take these! Here is a conversation with one such powerful official, Sh Rajeev Verma, the Chief Secretary of Puducherry , and his better half, Rachna Verma, who share moments from their routine for this special column.

What are the challenges of being the Chief Secretary of Puducherry ?

Rajeev Verma: As you know, Puducherry has emerged as the top performer amongst all states and union territories in the first social progress index released in December last year. Taking this forward, we have envisioned becoming the first to achieve all sustainable development goals well before the target date 2030. Tourism, the blue economy and the enabled services sector will primarily drive our economic growth. Puducherry tourism is a beautiful tapestry woven with threads of beach heritage and spiritual and wellness tourism. Being a small territory, Puducherry can serve as an administrative laboratory to evolve better governance models for public service delivery. A research park is being planned with IIT Madras, which may become one of the world’s most significant technology scientific research ecosystems. We are set to make rapid strides in the blue economy, with the country’s first marine spatial plan launched a few months back.

What does a routine day in your life look like ?

Rajeev Verma: The day starts with a routine of reaching the office sharp in time. Most of the day’s schedule is already fixed with meetings, interactions, etc., to be attended. Simultaneously, the file work goes on the entire day. Time management is the key, and I usually manage to be with my spouse for some time in the afternoon, even for 10 minutes, having fruits together. When the day winds up, she comes for a night walk with me on the beautiful beach road of Puducherry just across the office. Please tell us something about your hobbies.

How do you de-stress yourself ?

Rajeev Verma: Being in the lap of nature, at places with scenic beauty or in areas replete with our heritage, is always de-stressing. I am a computer science student and enjoy keeping pace with technology, listening to lectures, and gaining insights from academicians through online videos.

What’s most exciting about being a first lady ?

Rachna Verma: My exciting moments are the warmth with which people welcome me and the privilege to experience Puducherry’s serenity and divinity at close quarters. I am conscious that this carries a big responsibility, and our image is defined by our personality and how we behave with our family, friends, officer circles and even strangers we meet.

Please share some beautiful experiences of Puducherry.

Rachna Verma: The people of Puducherry are simple yet full of life. There is spiritualism in its soil. I see the sparkling eyes of young children, fragrant jasmine-adorned hair of charming ladies, religious men and women in places of worship. The cultural programmes put up by school students decked up in bright costumes on the national days, interacting with brainy young minds in school, enjoying the sand and sea at the stunning beachfront, and relishing multi-cultural programmes have been the captivating experiences of Puducherry.

(Views expressed are personal and solely of the interviewee)

By Lippi Parida

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