By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, December 19, 2023: In the government there are civil servants and civil servants. Some prefer to bask under limelight while some keep themselves obscure. If there was a civil servant who never sought any publicity one can easily identify Sudhansu Mohan Patnaik as one such mandarin although he held the apex position in the government of Odisha.

He after doing his post-graduation in Economics from St.Xaviers College,Calcutta (now called Kolkata) he joined the Indian Administrative Service in the year 1965. While in Mussoorie in the National Academy of Administration as ayoung probationer he distinguished himself. In Odisha he served in the erstwhile Sambalpur district as the Sub-Divisional Officer (now called Sub-Collector) in the Deogarh subdivision (now a district), and Sub Collector Grade I Bargarh subdivision (now a district).

For years he was posted in the Home Department as Under-Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, Special Secretary and Secretary.

He was posted as Commissioner Command Area Development, Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Secretary, Tourism, Secretary Education, Additional Chief Secretary and finally Chief Secretary. Even after his superannuation, he was appointed to head the committee set up by the Government on matters relating to agriculture.

In the government, the civil service plays a vital role in giving the political executive objective advice free from bias based on laws, rules, regulations, and precedents. Sudhansu Mohan Patnaik, known for his objectivity and phlegmatic approach superbly fit into that role as from the beginning of hiscivil servicecareer he had mastered laws, rules, regulations and procedures. He specialized in matters relating to the HomeDepartment, having done longinnings there. He was known for his hardwork, sincerity, and sobriety and most importantly integrity and political neutrality.

His father who started his career as a Deputy Collector under the British administration rose to become the Chief Commissioner, Tripura when it was Part C State after independence. He later held the position as the Chief Secretary of Kerala.

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