Civil servant, management guru, housing expert, innovator, writer, orator – many roles can be attributed to retired IAS officer CV Ananda Bose, who was appointed the new West Bengal governor on Thursday. But his role as a housing expert will be his lasting legacy as he is the brains behind India’s promise to provide affordable housing for all by 2022.
Bose, who was serving as adviser to the Meghalaya governor, was the chairperson of the working group that prepared the development agenda for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His concept of “affordable housing for all Indians" was adopted by the prime minister for implementation throughout the country, who has described him as a “Man of Ideas". Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, too, said he was an “inspired civil servant".
The former bureaucrat is an alumnus of the prestigious BITS Pilani and retired as chief secretary to the Indian government. He has worked as university vice-chancellor, principal secretary to chief minister of Kerala, chairman of central public sector undertaking Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and district collector, according to his website.
His website states that Bose joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1977, following which he made a name for himself by introducing innovations in good governance for a robust delivery of public services. He holds a PhD in habitat and environment, and is the chairperson of the Habitat Alliance in a consultative status with the UN. He also has an MA in English language and literature from Kerala University.
Bose is a recipient of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, and the first ever Fellow of the Lal Bahadur
Shastri National Academy of Administration Mussoorie, which trains top civil servants.
As for his expertise on housing and his contribution to India’s national policy, Bose founded the Nirmithi Kendra as the district collector of Kollam in 1985 to provide cost effective and environment friendly houses. This has emerged into a national network and is part of the national housing policy now.
A prolific writer and columnist as well, Bengal’s new governor has 40 books to his name in English, Malayalam and Hindi, including novels, short stories, poems and essays. He is a recipient of 33 international and national awards in different fields, and has represented India in European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, as well as the International Fusion Energy Organisation, ITER, France. He was the chairperson of the Atomic Energy Education Society.
On the family front, he was born to freedom fighter PK Vasudevan Nair and former government official C Padmavathy Amma in Mannanam, a village in Kerala’s Kottayam district on January 2, 1951. He married LS Lakshmi, with whom he had two children.
Known as the “makeover man” of the service, it is left to be seen how his relationship with the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government pans out. Dhankhar, his predecessor and now vice-president of India, shared a tumultuous relationship with the ruling party.
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