ON SUNDAY, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis congratulated one of his officers —Pune collector and 2003 batch IAS Saurabh Rao. “CM @Dev_Fadnavis congratulates Pune Collector Saurabh Rao as he gets appreciated by @PMOIndia for his prompt action”, says the official twitter handle of chief minister’s office (CMO) in Maharashtra. In fact CM’s appreciation comes a day after joint secretary in Prime Minister’s Office Ms Debashree Mukherjee wrote a…letter of appreciation for the sensitiveness shown by Rao’s office regarding a case of a heart operation of a six-year-old girl being referred by the PMO.
It all started when the PMO received an application from one Ms Vaishali Monish, a six-year-old student from Pune’s Hadapsar area, for medical assistance. What she needed was a heart surgery. The PMO then forwarded the application to Pune collector Saurabh Rao’s office.
The Pune administration took up the matter and on June 2, 2016, the little girl was operated, free of cost under the existing government schemes.
“I place on record the appreciation for the sensitiveness, shown by the district administration, ensuring prompt action in this case. I also appreciate the necessary help extended by the Ruby Hall Clinic”, PMO joint secretary Debashree Mukherjee said in her appreciation letter dated June 10, 2016. The letter, which was addressed to collector Rao, was later released by the CM's office in social media sites.
An MA in political science before getting into IAS, Rao worked as an assistant collector in Wardha, CEO of Zilla Parishad in Gondia and also served as a municipal commissioner. He also served as collector and district magistrate in Nandurbar.
Rao, 40, originally hails from Uttar Pradesh. He first got into IPS in 2002 and began his probation in SVP National Police Academy in Hyderabad. And in 2003, he was selected for IAS.
Rao is known to be a straightforward officer which in the past placed him in controversies as well. In January 2015, for example, Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal chairman expressed strong displeasure over Rao's language while writing an affidavit filed before the tribunal, according to media reports published in local newspapers. He also landed up in trouble over his reported remark that his name figured in the voters' list of two Lok Sabha constituencies -- Pune and Nagpur.
PMO’s appreciation letter is not an usual act. It’s however not clear whether the PMO has now adopted a new policy of appreciating officers, or whether this one was more of an exception.