Arabinda Padhee, Principal Secretary, Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare
Arabinda Padhee, a no-nonsense and above board bureaucrat of impeccable integrity has been appointed as the Principal Secretary, Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare department in Odisha after his return from central deputation. Mr Padhee, the 1996-batch IAS officer will also hold additional charge of principal secretary of the Fisheries & Animal Resources Development Department.
He has been allocated the agriculture portfolio at a critical juncture when the state’s paddy output has slumped by 20 per cent due to deficient rainfall. Padhee’s appointment has raised the bar of expectation on agriculture reforms. His stellar work across departments in Odisha endeared him to the folks. And he is spot on the demanding assignment. Following the recent KALIA disbursement programme, Mr Padhee had a freewheeling chat with the farmers.
The veteran mandarin has a Master’s degree in Agricultural Science from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and a PhD from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) from University of Birmingham, UK. He has taken public policy courses at University of Toronto; Civil Services College, Singapore; and University of Cambridge at various points in his career.
Among the various positions he has held are District Magistrate and Collector; Director, Agriculture and Food Production; Director, World Bank assisted Rural Livelihoods Project; Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Cuttack; Chief Administrator, Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri; Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Tourism and Culture Department, Odisha and Joint Secretary, Department of Fertilizers, Government of India, New Delhi. During his tenure with the Odisha Government, he was instrumental in drafting the Odisha State Agriculture Policy in 2008. He has also served as a member of the Technical Support Group of the erstwhile Planning Commission that prepared the District Agricultural Plan manual. The government of India appointed Dr Padhee as the first nodal officer to implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in fertilizers in 2016.
Among the notable awards and citations Dr Padhee has received during his career in the Civil Services are the Best Collector award (2003-04) and the National Award for contribution to humanitarian services given by the Indian Red Cross Society (2006-07). He was the Indian Co-chair of the Sub-Group on Fertilizers of the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation in October 2015. He was awarded the AIASA National Award for outstanding Leadership in Agriculture for the year 2016. Dr. Padhee is a member of National Advisory panel on Agriculture-Nutrition under Poshan Abhiyaan. He regularly writes scholarly articles/Opinion pieces around issues related to agriculture nutrition and food policies, climate change and rural development.
His last portfolio was Director, Country Relations and Business Affairs at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), New Delhi.
Soon after joining the Odisha agriculture department, Dr Padhee took the staff by surprise with his two interesting letters. One was insisting the staff don handloom at least once in a week to promote Odia culture and tradition. The second letter was in the form of a crackdown, banning the use of paan, cigarette, gutkha or other forms of tobacco in office to ensure good health, hygiene and cleanliness.
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