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IAS officer Dr Santosh Babu takes VRS to mentor UPSC aspirants

Its not everyday that an IAS with over 25-years experience in service, takes VRS. Dr Santosh Babu was well decorated officer
Indian Masterminds Stories

IAS officer Dr Santhosh Babu, well known in Chennai and Tamil Nadu for his work, has taken Voluntary Retirement and has decided to join Chennai’s Officers’ IAS Academy as a full-time teacher.  

Babu’s retirement despite having 8 years left in the field came as a shock to many including top political leaders. However, the Officers’ IAS Academy seems to be thrilled to have him in their faculty. Babu will be teaching Public Administration optional, in addition to General Studies topics such as E-Governance, Technology and other subjects. He will also be the Chief Mentor there.

“In every single position he has held, he has made a difference and transformed the lives of people. He has initiated over 250 innovations and initiatives in his career. Very noteworthy are his contributions as the Principal Secretary IT, and earlier as Collector of Sivaganga and Krishnagiri. He is also a qualified Medical Doctor and has degrees from London School of Economics, Harvard University and NUS, Singapore to his credit. His extraordinary oratorical skills combined with his passion for teaching will help our students to achieve their dream of becoming Public Administrators,” the Academy said in a statement.

The officer with over 25 years of experience has also received other recognitions like the Best Collector Award of the Government of Tamil Nadu for child labour eradication and was also given the  “Pride of Tamil Nadu”. In 2017, Poompuhar won the National e-Governance Award and the Skoch Smart Governance Platinum Award under his leadership. The Rotary Club, Madras Metro also  presented him with the “Changemaker” award. However, the officer says his top accomplishment is being mentioned by former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in his speech on ‘Committed Leadership’.

It is widely speculated that the IAS officer opted to retire despite having 8 years of service left because he was unhappy with the pressure put on him to approve a tender for the Tamil Nadu Fiber Net Corporation of which he was the Managing Director. A month after a Rs 2000 crore BharatNet project was floated by TANFINET, Babu was allegedly shunted out of the Department of Information Technology. Subsequently, anti-corruption group, Arrapor Iyyakam came out with allegations that the tender only favoured some companies. After alerting the Centre to this issue, the government asked the state to cancel the tender and issue a fresh one.

In a personal text message to his close friends, the bureaucrat said that the state government has issued his Voluntary Retirement from Service (VRS) order with effect from Saturday afternoon. “My work in government, I think, has been very significant…Please wish me good luck for my future endeavours,” he wrote.

Santhosh Babu, a 1995-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, had sought retirement from service in January 2020. However, shortly after his request, the government of Tamil Nadu posted him as the Chairman and Managing Director of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (TNHDCL). He was already holding additional charge of TNHDCL since September 2019. Following his retirement request, it was widely speculated that he was upset over the undue pressure placed on him from the ruling dispensation to approve a tender in Tamil Nadu Fiber Net Corporation (TANFINET), of which he was the Managing Director. He was also the Principal Secretary to the government in the Department of Information Technology.


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