Tamil Nadu

Former IAS officer Santhosh Babu joins MNM

Former IAS officer Santhosh Babu, who took voluntary retirement recently, joined the Makkal Needhi Maiam on Tuesday in the presence of party founder Kamal Haasan.

Addressing the media, Mr. Haasan said Dr. Babu, who is a doctor by qualification and had served as a civil servant for 25 years, had eight years of service left. But he left due to his “uncompromising honesty”.

“After he decided to get into politics, he joined the right party at the right time,” he said, adding that Dr. Babu would be the general secretary (party headquarters) and wwould handle IT, data, research, policy and election manifesto and all headquarters operations.

Quality of life

Dr. Babu said small things that improve the quality of life of an ordinary person do not get much attention. “There is a big rural-urban divide that can be bridged only when there is innovative leadership. Our potential is world-class. Why can’t our governance be world-class,” he asked.

When asked to explain the MNM’s need to ‘Reimagine Thamizh Nadu’ when the State government had been recognised for doing good work, Dr. Babu said, “We have to compare ourselves with our potential, not with States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Have we reached our potential? We have not.”

He spoke about the controversy over his exit from service, which was related to four tenders worth ₹2,000 crore for laying optical fibre cables to provide broadband connectivity to 12,524 villages. “It has something to do with that. That was the trigger,” he said. “I got a call from the PMO and was asked when I can join. That was to become the CEO of MyGov and Joint Secretary, PMO. It was a privilege to be invited. But I had done huge work as Principal Secretary, IT … almost 17 innovations. One such project was the ₹2,000 crore Bharatnet tender, for which I went to New Delhi nine times, including once in a wheelchair,” he said. “When the tender issues came up and I couldn’t go to New Delhi … I thought there was no point and came out,” he added.

Asked about the farmers’ agitation in New Delhi, Mr. Haasan said the government should listen to the farmers. “It is not good for the nation. I like the sound of violin but not when Rome is aflame,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 9:20:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/former-ias-officer-santhosh-babu-joins-mnm/article33225909.ece

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