White Knight

Dr. J Radhakrishnan IAS is an officer who qualified for the Indian Administrative Service in the year the 1992 by securing the 7th rank at all India level and was allotted to the Tamil Nadu cadre. He has held several positions in the State Government of Tamil Nadu and has the experience of serving as Collector and head of four Districts—Salem, Sivaganga, Thanjavur, and Nagapattinam.

He was one of the youngest Commissioner of Chennai Municipal Corporation in the year 2000 and 2001. Has also served as in the Secretariat, Government of Tamil Nadu as Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, and Special Secretary to the Government in the Finance and Education Departments, and also served as the Commissioner Prohibition and Excise department.

In March 2009, he joined the United Nations Development Programme on deputation from the Government, as its Assistant Country Director and is the Head of the Disaster Management Unit.

In an exclusive interview with Marie Banu, Dr. J Radhakrishnan IAS shares his experiences working for disaster relief programmes and his views on social issues.

Being a veterinary doctor by education, what inspired you to join Indian Administrative Service?
Treating animals has its own charm. After completing my Veterinary Medicine Degree, I worked for a short time as an Assistant professor in Kerala Agricultural University. Along with teaching and research I had a lot of time. I had the interest to pursue civil services after reading various competitive magazines.
The challenging assignments and the accompanying responsibilities given to civil servants at a very young age inspired me to make an attempt for civil services, especially Indian Administrative Services.
I continue to love veterinary profession and whenever I get an opportunity I do visit colleges and hospitals.
You are known to be a compassionate person. Which of the social issues disturb you?
Two issues disturb me—female infanticide and foeticide; and care of elderly.
Female infanticide and foeticide is a challenge in many parts of India, especially in the District of Salem in Tamil Nadu. When I was serving as Collector here, I was involved in the revival of the cradle baby scheme, and activities that were connected with eliminating and reducing female infanticide and female foeticide.
It was very disturbing to see girl children being given away under the cradle baby scheme and it was unfortunate to see cases of female infanticide. This was not due to economic reasons, but due to social problems which of course has been drastically reduced now. When I read about such incidents in Haryana or Rajasthan I still get disturbed.
Similarly, although there are a lot of social protection measures available, care of elderly is becoming a challenge not only for the poor people, but across various sections of our society. Many people do not practice what they preach!

The government is involved in a lot of welfare measures and so are the NGOs. Still, there is a dearth of social issues that needs to be addressed. What according to you should be the effective strategy that government and NGOs could adopt to address these issues?