Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Diplomat M Manimekalai is India's evacuation specialist; gets PM's Award

Ms Manimekalai in Queen’s Baton rally in Malta (File photo)
IT WAS over one year ago. Ms M Manimekalai, a 1981 batch IFS officer was then Ambassador of India in Libya. Uprising against Libyan dictator Col Gaddafi was at the peak. The authoritarian regimes at Tunisia and Egypt had by then collapsed. There were air strikes in the capital city of Tripoli and elsewhere from European countries. Ms Manimekalai’s mission was to act like a full-fledged crisis management authority and evacuate more than 16,000 Indian nationals working in various companies such as Punj Lloyd, OVL, OIL etc. They were stranded in war zones of Benghazi, Tripoli etc.
One year later, on April 21, 2012, Ms Manimekalai received the prestigious Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2010-2011 at the individual category. If Tessy Thomas is India’s missile woman post Agni-V’s success, Manimekalai is India’s evacuation specialist, playing a key role in saving the lives of 16,000 Indians.
And this was how the department of administrative reforms and public grievances wrote about her
when she was chosen for the award: “The Ambassador provided the leadership, strategized the evacuation, prepared contingency plans, coordinated with the Indian government, arranged local logistics, arranged for money, streamlined procedures where required and was present on the ground in the hot zones to boost morale of the staff and stranded Indians.”
Ms Manimekalai engaged with the then Libyan government to get vital information like exit routes etc. apart from establishing liaison with Indian Missions in the neighborhood of Libya for emergency assistance. Special arrangements were made so that Indians could make calls back home. She was instrumental in arranging 10,000 emergency passports from the MEA in anticipation that many Indians might not even have travel documents. Her team ensured that food and water and other essentials were stocked at the final evacuations centers. A database of Indians in Libyan cities was prepared, and they were divided into teams for evacuation by air, sea and also by land routes. And not even one Indian lost his life thanks to the planned evacuation. Nepalis, Bangladeshis and Filipinos were also included under her evacuation plan.

Raman Singh wants PMO official back
PMO’s newly appointed joint secretary and 1987 batch IAS BVR Subrahmanyam is now the bone of contention between Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself. Raman Singh in a letter to PM claimed it is an “unauthorized absence” for the official who has been away from the state from the time Chhattisgarh was created in 2000. Subrahmanyam, an engineer and MBA (from London Business School) was PM’s private secretary during UPA-I. He will now be a joint secretary in PMO for three years “in relaxation of the relevant rules and provisions of the Central Staffing Scheme and consolidated deputation guidelines as a special case”, according to an ACC order. PM wrote back to Singh saying that he needed BVR’s service and he was using privilege of choice in interests of work.

Action and Appointments
a) Ashwani Kumar Datt, former CMD of Bharat Electronics Limited, has been appointed as Member, Public Enterprises Selection Board with effect of forenoon of March 23, 2012 for a period of three years or until he attains 65, whichever is earlier.
b) Shashi Shekhar, a 1981 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS, has been appointed as additional secretary in the department of administrative reforms and public grievances.
c) Devendra Chaudhary, a 1981 batch UP cadre IAS, has been appointed as additional secretary in the ministry of power.
d) Sharda Prasad, a 1981 batch UP cadre IAS, has been appointed as DG (Employment and Training), in ministry of labour and employment in the pay of additional secretary, by temporarily upgrading the post held by the officer.


  1. Churlish to even demur on such an issue.

  2. and from what I hear from the people on ground , she was one of the biggest hindrances to the smooth evacuation process!!