who is vk pandian, why he appointed as Chairman of 5T

VK Pandian, a former IAS officer and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s close aide, has been named Chairman 5T (Transformational initiatives) with the rank of cabinet minister. This announcement came in an official notification on Tuesday. This development came less than 24 hours after Pandian’s request to retire from government service had been approved. Pandian will report directly to Patnaik, the chief minister.

“V K Pandian has been appointed Chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives), and Ama Odisha Nabi Odisha as Cabinet Minister. Pandian will work directly under the Chief Minister”, said a notification from the general administration department.

Who is VK Pandian?

Naveen Patel, the Odisha CMO, is the most trusted lieutenant for the 2000 batch IAS officer. He began his career in Kalahandi as a Dharmagarh Sub-Collector. VK Pandian is a Tamil Nadu native who began his IAS career in the Punjab cadre. His career changed dramatically when he married an Odia IAS officer named Sujata.

Pandian has been invited to speak at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration several times to combine administrators and defence forces courses.

In 2005, he became the collector for the Mayurbhanj District, where his work served as an example to the administration of how it can reduce the spread of Naxalism.

Vk Pandian has received several awards

The President of India awarded him the National Award for Rehabilitation of Public Works Departments. The single-window system was adopted as a national standard and implemented nationwide.

Pandian has received numerous awards for his work for people with disabilities.

He received the National Award for working for persons with AIDS from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The prime minister has awarded him the National Award twice for Ganjam as the best district in the country.

VK Pandian emerges as a key person in Odisha Politics

Pandian has been Patnaik’s private secretary for more than a decade. He gained a lot of influence in the power corridors within Odisha.

Pandian’s status grew after the 2019 Assembly elections when he was named the 5T Secretary. The 5T initiative aims to bring transparency and teamwork into government departments in Odisha. Even though there was no 5T official department, Pandian used his position to interfere in all government projects. Over the years, many ministers and MLAs sought an audience with Pandian, making him the key mediator in government affairs.

Why VK Pandian is in the News

VK Pandian was promoted to cabinet minister in the Odisha state government a day after he submitted his request for voluntary retirement. He had been Naveen Patnaik’s former private secretary.

In an order, Odisha’s General Administration and Public Grievance department announced that the IAS officer had been appointed Chairman of the state’s 5T (Transformation Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha schemes. In the order, it is stated that he would hold cabinet minister status.

PTI reported that sources within the BJD, the party in power, had earlier said Mr Pandian could join the party. He would likely be given a larger role before next year’s Assembly elections.


Pandian is at the centre of a controversy after he used the state helicopter to make a quick tour of all 30 districts in Odisha. Opposition parties claim that these tours resemble rallies by the ruling Biju Janata Dal, raising questions regarding their purpose and nature.

Aparajita Sarangi, a BJP MP who filed a petition with the DoPT to seek punitive actions against the officer, 49 years old, for alleged violation of All India Service (Conduct) Rules, had alleged that he crossed the red line and formally entered politics after resigning as IAS.

Saptagiri Ulawa, Congress MP, tweets on X

Saptagiri Ulaka, a Congress MP, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Pandian became the chief minister of Odisha before the next election.

“…such a power structure exists in Odisha. No one knows what is happening, but everyone knows the controlling people. VRS approved within three days of the holidays – super fast,” he wrote in a message on X.

Jairam Ramesh, Congress leader, posted a message about VK Pandian

A senior Congress leader, Jairam Ramesh, posted a sarcastic comment about Pandian. “He was a fine civil service and helped Naveen Patnaik immensely.” It is good to see that Pandian’s de facto status will now become de jure, and he will be a politician in his own right. Odisha was in a bizarre situation for over a decade and a quarter, with the CM acting as an absentee landowner and his chief aide serving as the state’s CEO.


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