One day in the life of an IAS officer…
Dr. V. Irai Anbu, IAS (Tourism Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu)
If the speed at which he walks is anything to go by, Dr. V. Irai Anbu is one busy man. Starting from the time I walked into his room at precisely 9:34 a.m. one morning, his day was filled with meeting after meeting, punctuated by shorter conversations on the phone (both landline and cell) and seasoned by the occasional signature.
In a single day, this IAS officer operated from three different offices — TTDC headquarters, the Secretariat and finally, an on-site office where plans for the upcoming Summer Fest are in full flow. Excluding this, work happens in elevators, corridors, over meals and on-site when he is inspecting work and delegating what else needs to be done.
As one observes the life of a civil servant through an entire day, one realises how much knowledge is needed to do justice to the job. His Secretariat office would easily house 500 books, ranging from art to justice, Shakespeare to Thiruvalluvar. Efficient service, it could then be assumed, requires the officer to implement knowledge from more than one sphere of information! With the advent of faster communication, increased awareness and the Right to Information Act, there is increased responsibility and, “the job has become more challenging in the last 10 years.” Yet, he strongly recommends this as a career option “only for those who love to work with people and face challenges, have empathy, commitment and the ability to work hard”
I left Dr. V. Irai Anbu's office exactly nine hours after I walked in. Nine hours of breathtaking activity, a perfect opportunity to take a sneak peak into the workings of a government organisation. I have seen merely the tip of the iceberg but that is itself revelatory. As I thank him for his time, the officer is quick to remind me that his day is far from over. One day in the life of an IAS officer seems longer than for the rest of us.