PK Jena, ACS, Rural Development
An administrator of the highest caliber and a bureaucrat who often lends a humane touch to decisions, PK Jena(The Renaissance Administrator) is without a parallel. Jena stole the limelight recently when the Naveen Patnaik government elevated him to the coveted rank of Additional Chief Secretary (ACS).
And, deservedly so! A 1989 batch IAS officer, Jena(The Renaissance Administrator) has shouldered an array of responsibilities and helmed diverse departments with panache. The roles have demanded the deployment of the most critical skills and he has never let down the administration.
Jena(The Renaissance Administrator) is presently the functional head of the rural development department. He is also the Special Relief Commissioner and Managing Director at the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
Recently when a cold wave swept the state, Jena(The Renaissance Administrator) instructed district collectors to open public buildings, including schools, for people in need of shelter in view of the plummeting temperature.
Also, he has stressed capacity building at the community level to support and facilitate the efforts of the State and Central Government.
His most notable performance as a bureaucrat has been his staggered stints as the secretary, energy. It is as the head of the energy department that Jena unleashed a suite of reforms.
He pushed for 24×7 electricity and 100 percent rural electrification and assiduously superintended the works. After Odisha was devastated by Phailin, an extremely severe cyclonic storm, Jena set the ball rolling on a ‘Disaster Resilient Power System’ that could successfully withstand squally winds gusting to over 200 kilometers per hour.
Phalin had uprooted umpteen electrical poles and plunged many parts of Ganjam, the hardest-hit district, into four or more weeks of darkness. Had it not been for Jena’s diligent efforts, the restoration work on power infrastructure might have been delayed.
To ensure uninterrupted electricity for the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Jena conceptualized the State Capital Region Improvement in Power Supply (SCRIPS). This scheme, envisaged as one of the components of the disaster-resilient power system, is taken up at a cost of Rs 1500 crore to ensure uninterrupted power supply in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
In his tenure as the secretary of the IT department in 2010, Jena was instrumental in reviving comatose investments and bringing both IT behemoths as well as small to mid-scale companies on board.
MindTree Consulting that had almost exited Odisha recast its plans, thanks to the dogged and single-handed efforts invested by Jena. Not many in the corridors of power or elsewhere know that it was Jena who laid the baby steps to revamping the IT department and planning the electronics manufacturing cluster.
Yet again, Jena was assigned a charge of this department and he obliged with fast-tracking investment and engaging major investors, especially in electronics and mobile manufacturing space.
His coronation as the ACS has exalted expectations from the whole gamut of stakeholders. A career bureaucrat with an unblemished record and an efficient officer of unimpeachable integrity, Jena has more than held his own and raised the bar for peers and fledgling officers alike. More power to his tribe!