An officer who did the IAS proud in unforgettable ways
If covid is a war, then it has claimed a top-ranked martyr this week, Guruprasad Mohapatra, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1986 batch who was serving as secretary in the government’s department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT). The supreme sacrifice that he made epitomizes the work done by a large body of civil servants who have given their best to ensure that the nation and its citizens are able to emerge from this calamity, while many of them were themselves covid positive and symptomatic.
As an officer and a gentleman, few could match Mohapatra. As the head of one of several empowered groups set up by the Prime Minister for a timely, effective and coordinated response, he was instrumental in ensuring that a covid surge-led spike in demand for medical oxygen was met, marshalling oxygen supplies almost till his last few breaths to give other patients a fighting chance. Continuing work even while he was hospitalized, his sense of responsibility was such that he put the country above his own needs. Hundreds of officers have laid down their lives in the call of duty. As Kenzaburō Ōe wrote, “The dead can survive as part of the lives of those that still live.”
The untimely death of Mohapatra, or Guru to friends, was mourned by all, from the Prime Minister to ordinary people whose lives were touched by his presence. Rajiv Gauba, the cabinet secretary of India, paid him a rich tribute as “a man who ensured that the government’s efforts, in any field entrusted to him, were brought to culmination, with solutions that were both simple and structural”; “His demise was an irreparable loss to the nation. Mohapatra, along with Ravi Kapoor and Vaghela, was part of the team of Secretaries that managed to create an eco-system that ensured India went from importing to becoming the largest manufacturers of PPEs and from near zero production of ventilators to nearly 20,000 a year.” As a professional, his career was marked by achievements. In his role as municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, he oversaw the Sabarmati river-front redevelopment. As chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), he ensured expansion of aviation infrastructure in tier 3 cities for the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme. As secretary, DPIIT, he ensured that work on ease of doing business gathered further pace, with the country moving up 14 positions on the global chart. The government’s push for reducing the compliance burden of citizens in their interactions with the state apparatus was spearheaded by him. Guidelines for the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, described by Nandan Nilekani of Infosys as “breath-taking in its simplicity”, were an example.
Guruprasad Mohapatra passes away
AHMEDABAD: “We lost Guru. We lost a true friend, an innovator, a problem solver and an administrative reformer,” exclaimed a senior IAS official who attended the last rites on Saturday of the 1986 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer and DPIIT secretary Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra. He was heading the empowered group and was managing the entire oxygen supply logistics across the country during the Covid second wave till he was admitted on April 19. He passed away due to Covid related complications at AIIMS and was cremated at the Lodhi Road crematorium in New Delhi. He was 59 years. Prior to taking over as DPIIT secretary, Mohapatra served as chairman of Airports Authority of India.
Mohapatra began his career as an assistant collector in Surendranagar in 1986 and was then posted as DDO Junagadh.
“During these years, Guru honed his skill at developing administrative tools to solve governance issues,” says member Lokpal IP Gautam, who was Mohapatra’s batchmate.
After his brief stint at GIDC, Mohapatra was one of the key members in restructuring of Gujarat Electricity Board into different entities between 2002 and 2004. As Surat civic chief, he streamlined solid waste management and urban governance. As transport commissioner, Mohapatra drew the roadmap for phasewise CNG-fication of public transport in major Gujarat cities.
But it was during his 3.5 year stint as Ahmedabad civic chief that he put many of his ideas into action — from setting the ground for the Unesco World Heritage City nomination, completing major portion of BRT, Kankaria lakefront and Sabarmati riverfront projects, to putting the metro rail project on fast track to setting the ground work for SVP Hospital.
“AMC still follows the road quality audits, concept of model roads and the roadmap for zero-waste city,” says a senior AMC official. CM Vijay Rupani also took to Twitter to express condolences and said the state has lost an able officer. “His contribution to all sectors in Gujarat, be it urban development, industries or commercial taxes has been significant. He was a hard-working, innovative and team person. His work will continue to inspire us,” said Anil Mukim, chief secretary.
Source: The Times of India
A tribute to Guruprasad Mohapatra
On Saturday morning I was browsing social media platforms, I saw a familiar picture and a lightening struck in my heart. The news I never wanted to hear and read had finally touched my thumb and entered deep in conscious making me speechless. A very old good friend, a guide and a highly efficient IAS officer Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra had succumbed to Covid 19 complications.
When being posted as civic chief, I met him for the first time and I must take that pride in saying that I was the first amongst all reporters to interview him and have his personal number which an IAS officer, a bureaucrat would never share. He took my number and saved it and we kept chatting over different subjects and issues over a period of time even after he was transferred to New Delhi.
In the first meeting he was reluctant but opened up shortly after guessing me as he would judge a person within few minutes. After transfer of his batch mate and his predecessor I P Gautam, IAS, we thought city would not have a good officer like I P Gautam ever. But the way Guru Mohapatra took the charge and handled the things, all got shocked.
It was Mohapatra who began the Cleanliness Campaign in Ahmedabad city as a civic chief. Then came Model roads, Book fair and many more innovations he gifted to the city.
I used to visit him in the afternoon hours at the time he would have his meal while he would offer me Green tea. He never felt down by asking my views and opinions about project he was to start and those already tarted.
Though few years younger than my father Late Samuel James, he touched his feet and took his blessings when came home on one Christmas day. He was a down to earth man. A gentleman and an efficient officer who gave so much the Ahmedabad city and left.
A tribute to Shri Guruprasad Mohapatra who took every job as challenge and a personal task. Who always defended his men. A man worth learning from.
– Hemington James
– Executive Editor
– The Ombudsmanews
Source: The Ombudsmanews
Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra: An example of Team Modi’s work ethic
New Delhi: Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), passed away due to Covid-related complications on June 19, 2021.
The importance of his work and dedication can be seen in the personal touch in PM Modi’s condolence tweet: “Saddened by the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary. I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti.”
Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra exemplified the governance philosophy and work ethic of ‘Team Modi’ —India comes first and everything else is later.
A few weeks ago, the government of India led by PM Modi was working round the clock to ensure that states are provided with everything they need during the COVID second wave. A key part of this effort was ensuring supply of medical grade oxygen to various states . PM Modi had entrusted this work to Dr Mohapatra, who was made the head of one of the Empowered Groups in charge of monitoring the supply of medical oxygen across the country. Dr Mohapatra’s commitment to his work can be gauged from the fact that he chaired an important meeting of the Empowered Group to review supply of oxygen to the states on April 19, 2021 even though he himself had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was to be hospitalized in AIIMS, New Delhi just a few hours later. Despite running a high fever, he continued to keep himself available 24 by 7, attending meetings virtually, and ensuring that nearly 10 times the normal amount daily requirement of medical oxygen was delivered.
During the peak of the second wave, many in the media and social media had commented upon how officers like Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Sumita Dawra, and others were continuously attending court case hearings in various courts and even though this was distracting them from their main work, yet they continued to labour on tirelessly. That they were personally infected and were heavily burdened with multiple daily court hearings, and yet continued to work non-stop to ameliorate the COVID situation speaks volumes of the work ethic and philosophy of service-before-self.
Once, during the COVID crisis, PM Modi returned from a trip to West Bengal and started a meeting with a team of officers at 11 PM. Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra was also present in the meeting. PM Modi, on seeing him, enquired about his health and asked him why he was working at such hours despite being unwell himself? Dr Mohapatra is said to have replied that he will be fine and as for working despite being unwell, that he was inspired by PM Modi himself who was working without ever taking a break and wanted to emulate him in putting the country above self.
Dr Mohapatra was a 1986-batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer. He worked as the Municipal Commissioner in Surat from 1999 to 2002 and is remembered for the good work during his stint there. Later, as Municipal Commissioner in Ahmedabad, he played key roles in some of the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s iconic flagship projects such as Sabarmati Riverfront, BRTS, Kankaria Lakefront and Heritage Promotion.
After a medical battle of one and a half months, Dr. Mohapatra, a key person in India’s response to the second wave, died due to post-COVID complications on June 19, 2021. Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra was set to retire next year but gave his all to the country even before that.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also expressed deep shock at his untimely death. Lauding the example set by Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Gauba said that “even while he was suffering from Covid in the last two months, he remained committed to his work, continuously monitoring the supply of oxygen movement across the country in most challenging time. He will always be remembered for his proactive initiatives and commitment towards public service.” Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra was a shining example of the kind of people in ‘Team Modi’, who work hard, non-stop and continuously put people’s interest above everything, sometimes even their own health.
Gujarat cadre IAS officer Guruprasad Mohapatra dies of Covid-related complications
Gujarat cadre IAS officer and secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Guruprasad Mohapatra passed away due to Covid-19 related complications in New Delhi on Saturday. He was 59.
Mohapatra had played a key role in several projects including the Sabarmati Riverfront and had introduced “model roads” in Ahmedabad.
“Mohapatra was admitted to AIIMS on April 18 after he was infected with Covid. He was in the hospital for over one-and-a-half months and had recovered from Covid,” said a senior official in Delhi.
Prior to taking over as DPIIT secretary, Mohapatra served as chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI). A 1986-batch IAS officer of Gujarat batch, Mohapatra was one of the IAS officers who moved to Delhi after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.
“Saddened by the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary. I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.
Source: The Indian Express
DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra succumbs to COVID-19 complications
PM, Ministers and industry captains convey condolences.
Secretary, Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Guruprasad Mohapatra died of COVID-19-related complications at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Saturday.
Mohapatra, 59, was admitted to AIIMS in mid-April. He is the first serving Secretary to the Government of India to have succumbed to COVID-19.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over his demise.
“Saddened by the demise of Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary. I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” Mr. Modi said in a tweet.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted: “Shocked to know that Dr. Guru Prasad Mahapatra, Secretary, @DIPPGOI is no more. Enthusiastic at work, positive in attitude as a senior bureaucrat, he was constructive in his approach. Condolences to his family and friends.”
Home Minister Amit Shah, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba too expressed their condolences.
“Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary was a very able and hardworking officer. His untimely demise is very saddening. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family in this hour of grief,” Mr. Shah tweeted.
Source: The Hindu
Till the last: Guruprasad Mohapatra | Delhi
Winner of a Special Healthgiri Award for his dedication to duty in clearing up the problems in the production and supply of medical oxygen to hospitals at the height of the second wave of the pandemic
At the height of the second wave, hospitals across the nation were struggling with inadequate oxygen supplies, leaving patients in dire straits. If India saw any success in boosting the production and streamlining the supply of oxygen to medical facilities, one man gets the lion’s share of the credit—the late Guruprasad Mahapatra, who served as secretary of the Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). He also served as the chairman of an empowered group mandated to streamline the delivery of oxygen supplies to hospitals.
Source: India Today