Surendra Kumar, IAS
Surendra Kumar, a 1993 batch IAS officer has been anointed as the Principal Secretary of steel & mines department. Additionally, Kumar will also be heading the Cuttack Development Authority (CDA). Kumar, an amiable and media-savvy officer replaces RK Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary who has been posted as Agriculture Production Commissioner.
Kumar is going to helm the steel & mines department at a very critical juncture. Post the successful online auctions of 24 merchant mines, the leases are now ready to commence production.
The restart of mining activity at these non-captive leases after a hiatus of approximately four months augurs well for the state coffers. Odisha has been finding resource mobilisation profoundly challenging in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Mining is the single largest contributor to the state’s non-tax revenue kitty. In the last fiscal, the state government garnered in upwards of Rs 10,000 crore by way of mining revenue.
Besides recommencement of operations at merchant mines, Odisha had lined up nine virgin leases for auctions. Kumar needs to oversee the process and hasten them to bolster revenues for the state government in the longer term. That apart, his vision and ample bureaucratic experience are also expected to come in handy for implementation of Ease of Doing Business Reforms in the mining sector.
These state-specific sectoral reforms are necessary for Odisha to avail borrowing beyond the mandated fiscal deficit levels. The central government has allowed states to stretch fiscal deficit limits and avail borrowing limit of up to five per cent of their respective Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). But this is contingent on states rolling out their own suite of reforms.
Kumar in his earlier avatars as the secretary of information & public relations (I&PR) and water resources department has earned his stripes as a dynamic and result oriented officer.
In his capacity as I&PR secretary, Kumar had played a stellar role in facilitating communication between ministers and media persons during performance appraisal of departments.
Article Written By Dibyajit Sahu
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