Thursday, August 09, 2012

BoI Power List, 2012: PMO official BVR is 5th Most Powerful Bureaucrat

THIS is the fourth year the BoI ( is coming out with its annual list of India’s 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats. As we repeatedly mentioned in the past, the power list does not necessarily reflect the conventional bureaucratic hierarchy. Instead, those powerful bureaucrats are chosen on the basis of an officer’s connect, capabilities and power to influence the system. The list of the movers and shakers of the power corridors is prepared after evaluating off-record opinions of 100 people including politicians, bureaucrats, civil society activists etc.
And BVR Subrahmanyam, a 1987 batch Chhattisgarh cadre IAS, is India’s 5th Most Powerful Bureaucrat, 2012. First, read what Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh himself has to say about BVR:
“I need an officer who has the experience and exposure in handling sensitive matter. The officer also needs to be someone who enjoys my trust and confidence. Due to these reasons, I have selected BVR…”. This is what PM wrote to Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh who had wanted his officer back to the state, as BVR was on deputation from the time Chhattisgarh was created in 2000. BVR joined as a joint secretary in PMO, his second innings in the South Block office, in March this year.

Power Points
• BVR, an engineer and MBA (London Business School), was a director in commerce ministry when UPA government came to power in May 2004. Manmohan Singh chose this Andhra man as his private secretary. In four years and 21 days of working as PM’s private secretary, BVR became very close to Singh who in turn “trusts” this IAS officer completely.
• The second power-point of this man comes from his long association with Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary to PM. When Chatterji was the executive director in the World Bank, BVR was also stationed at Washington DC working as senior adviser to Chatterji at the rank of a joint secretary.
Power Punch
When Prime Minister took addition charge as finance minister for over a month recently, BVR was the PMO’s points-person for the 5-department-strong finance ministry. The communications from PM to North Block actually meant communications from BVR! And BVR's power punch continues...


  1. UPA Govt came to power on 22 May 2004 and not May 2005 as has been reported above.

  2. We have corrected the mistake. Thanks dear reader. BVR was a director in the ministry of commerce between June 2003 and May 2004. He joined PMO on May 30, 2004. And as you have mentioned, UPA came to power on May 22, 2004, meaning he had joined the PMO eight days after the UPA-1 was formed.