“The Quiet Disruptor in Governance”

Dilip Routray, OSD to Chief Secretary, Odisha

by Subhechcha Ganguly
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He serves a very strategic portfolio in the corridors of power. He is the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the numero uno bureaucrat in the state- the Chief Secretary. For most, OSD is just another administrative embellishment. Not for Mr Dilip Routray, the incumbent OSD to Chief Secretary Mr Suresh C Mohapatra. This OSD is someone strikingly special. He has adorned the position for over 10 years. Odisha has witnessed multiple IAS officers who have been coronated as the Chief Secretary. But Mr Routray is the only constant in the tide of change. He has won the confidence of all the Chief Secretaries. Also, he enjoys the vote of confidence of the omnipotent Third Floor.

Being the OSD to the state’s topmost and seniormost mandarin is no cakewalk. It mandates administrative acumen, coordination and multitasking skills of the highest caliber. Mr Routray’s performance has always spoken louder than what he could actually speak. True to his salt, the reticent officer has validated it over the years. He does not steal the limelight. Nor does he crave to be media savvy. A quiet workaholic, Mr Routray’s credo is- the less you speak, the more you connect much in sync with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s governance idiom.

Be it coordinating or troubleshooting, Mr Routray is an exemplar for any shade of administrative work. He played a stellar role in managing the virulent Covid pandemic, anchoring critical government interventions like expediting decision-making at the highest level of hierarchy. His work may not have garnered media attention but it got acclaim from Odisha’s babudom. He is credited with the coinage of the ABC formula- Attitude, Belief and Character for taming a deadly viral strain. When people were quarantined during peak Covid, he enthused them to focus on mental wellness. He has carved out an independent identity for himself as a dexterous officer. Also, he has cemented his credentials a people-centric officer. He belongs to that rare breed of officers who strike just the right harmony between official commitments and personal responsibilities.

Despite his scary schedule, Mr Routray is immersed in educational, literary and cultural activities. He has been elected as the Secretary of the famed Bhubaneswar club. Yet, the unassuming and unobtrusive officer attributed the success to teamwork. “It’s the vision of the ex-Chief Secretary Mr Asit Tripathy which has made this all possible. We will strive best to give a facelift to the club’s culture and activities”, he quipped.

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