Wednesday, November 11, 2009

G K Pillai's Straight Talk on North East, SEZ and Maoism

MINISTRY of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday might have issued a denial of media reports quoting home secretary G K Pillai saying that China was supplying small arms to Maoist groups in India, but those who have tracked Mr Pillai for years know it for sure that he is fearless and at times non-diplomatic when he speaks out from his heart. Yes, reporters this time might have twisted his observation that rather than quoting him saying "small arms made in China were illegally brought to India and supplied to Maoist groups", it was presented as if he said China (which will mean Chinese government) supplied small arms to Maoists, quite a big accusation on India's powerful neighbour. Yet, Mr Pillai has spoken out quite frankly on a number of sensitive issues, the latest being his expression of unhappiness over West Bengal government's recent move of exchanging jailed Maoists for releasing an officer, done at the behest of none other than state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee himself. Those who know Mr Pillai, a 1972 batch Kerala cadre IAS, would say for sure that he commented on sensitive North-East issues quite fearlessly when he was a joint secretary (JS) in the ministry of home looking after North East affairs. Unlike most joint secretaries who avoid talking to press on record on any sensitive matter, Mr Pillai participated in every possible seminar on North East affairs in late 1990s quite passionately, and spoke to media on record thereby pushing the MHA's agenda quite aggressively. Very few people know that he was one of the key behind-the-scene actors to ensure mandatory 10% allocation of Central ministries for the North East and the creation of non-lapsable pool which have immensely helped India's one of the most backward pockets till today. Even when Mr Pillai was in the ministry of commerce in various capacities ranging from additional secretary to special secretary and then secretary during the last few years, he was quite forthright in various issues including his pet subject, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which he had implemented despite stiff opposition from various political quarters. In case of denotification of notified SEZs in Goa, he was even at loggerhead with Goa's political establishment. Despite he was in the reckoning to become India's cabinet secretary, he talked straight on issues which could potentially become controversial. And yes, all on record, and often on camera! Read: Imagine secretary Pillai or Chawla debarred from briefing press (September 17, 2009) Back to North Block: Pillai as new home secretary (June 6, 2009) Pati, Patni and Post: It's Pillai Vs Pillai for next cabinet secretary (May 11, 2009)
Indian Railways' ticket checking staff to be sensitised on security aspects Ticket checking staff in the railways will now be instructed to be vigilant to suspicious behaviour of any passenger or doubtful objects in trains and report the same to the escorting RPF party or RPF post at the next railway station. These directives of the ministry of railways follow the recommendations of the high level committee of officers drawn from NSG, IB, Delhi Police, RPF, CISF and railways which was constituted to formulate a composite security plan for Indian Railways.


  1. Mr Pillai is always liked by his junior officers. If you can deliver, he would take care of you.

  2. He is a fine officer with excellent negotiation skills. Most of his Straight Talk is a part of his greater strategy. Very important player in power corridors today.