Monday, March 30, 2015

Reviving Nostalgic Memories: DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant's journey to Tellicherry, his first posting

A bumper fish catch! Kant at Tellicherry’s fish market
WHEN DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant visited Tellicherry last week, he tweeted: “Reviving nostalgic memories of d past!”. No wonder, it was this town located on the Malabar coast of Kerala where Kant, now known to many as a brand guru in government, began his IAS career as a sub-collector. A key driver of some of India’s most popular sarkari campaigns -- God’s Own Country, Atithi Devo Bhava and Make in India – this 1980 batch IAS went to Tellicherry’s fish market on Friday and wrote:
“It’s a bumper fish catch! At the fish market in Tellicherry, Kerala where I started my career 32 yrs back.”
It may be recalled that prime minister Narendra Modi in an interaction with union secretaries on November 1 last year advised the country’s top bureaucrats to visit the place of their first posting for a couple of days so that the exposure could provide them new insights on policy-making. As many as 80 GoI secretaries attended that meeting held at PM’s official residence of 7 Race Course over tea, dhoklas, pakoras and gulab jamuns etc.
Did Kant find any change at Tellicherry? “Driving thru Malabar region of Kerala I find d landscape dotted with jazzy car showrooms and fancy jewellery shops. Prosperity via Gulf!”, Kant tweeted. The senior bureaucrat also posted a photo of an “exotic Moplah dish" of Malabar with fish parthas and banana cotton buds.
Tellicherry is now called Thalassery. Located in Kannur district it falls on North Malabar region. According to Wikipedia, Europeans nicknamed the town as “Paris” or in other words “The Paris of Malabar”, as it was the sole French military base in Kerala those days.
Kant had a number of postings both in Kerala and in Central government. Before becoming the secretary of the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) last year, he was the CEO of DMIC Development Corporation which is responsible for creating India’s first industrial corridor between Delhi and Mumbai. Kant’s journey in the corridors is, however, best remembered for his six-year-old (2001-2007) stay at union tourism ministry as a joint secretary where he undertook a number of innovative campaigns including Incredible India and Atithi Devo Bhava.
Kant later authored a book titled “Branding India-An Incredible Journey”.

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