Girija Vaidyanathan; Fourth woman to become chief secretary of Tamil Nadu
Chennai, Dec 23: Girija Vaidyanathan, a 57-year-old senior official in Tamil Nadu bureaucracy, was appointed as the 45th chief secretary of the State at a time when the rattled official machinery maintains a stunned silence following the action against her predecessor, P Rama Mohana Rao.
An experienced official, who has 34 years of service behind her, Girija is the fourth woman to become chief secretary of the State after Lakshmi Pranesh, S Malathi and Sheela Balakrishnan. Girija, daughter of former Reserve Bank of India Governor, S Venkitaramanan, has been a top performer all along, coming first among women aspirants and ninth overall when she cleared the civil service examination in 1981.
The same year, she received a master’s degree in physics from IIT Madras. Entering the service did not stop her from pursing her academic interests, as she obtained a doctorate in health economics from IIT Madras. In 1993, Girija also passed the examination for Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Beginning her career as sub collector in Tiruvallur in 1983-84, Girija has worked in several departments and was also the member secretary of the State Planning Commission. But a significant part of her career was spent in health, nutrition and education departments.
The other departments where she had her stints included civil supplies, personnel and general administration, industries, finance, environment and forests, planning and programme implementation, urban development, power and land development and revenue management. She has wide experience in the design and financing of schemes in the development sector.
During her tenure as Mission Director of the State Health Society, Tamil Nadu received the award for best performance among the non-empowered action group States. She has been involved in the implementation of various programmes in the health sector, with specific focus on improvement of maternal and child health, and strengthening public health system in the State.
Girija had served on the Board of Governors of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India during 1995-97. She was awarded the British Chevening Gurukul Scholarship in Leadership and Excellence 1999 at the London School of Economics and Political Science.