B. D. Pande
B. D. Pande
Prof. Ajay S.Rawat,Nainital-
Bhairab Dutt Pande B. Sc. (Allahabad), B. A. (Cantab) was born on 17th March 1917 in Haldwani, district Naini Tal. He passed the High School Examination in 1931 from Government Intermediate College, Almora. His performance was excellent and stood first in merit in both Kumaon and Garhwal and also obtained a high position in the merit list of the then United Provinces. His performance in Intermediate was equally outstanding. He went to Allahabad University for his graduation and did his B.Sc. from there with a first division in 1935 and then joined the University of Cambridge from 1936 to 1939. He qualified the Indian Civil Services Examination in 1938 from London and was the first person from the present State of Uttarakhand to have been selected for the Indian Civil Services. He was allotted the Bihar cadre and served the State of Bihar from 1939 to 1960 in different capacities and was one of the most popular officers of the State for his honesty, integrity, humane attitude and administrative acumen. His services as Finance Secretary Bihar, 1949 to 1953, have etched history in the field of administration and during 1951 when Bihar was struck by almost famine like conditions; he also shouldered the responsibility of Food Commissioner of Bihar very dexterously. He was Development Commissioner of Bihar from 1956 to 1960. Subsequently he was deputed to the Central Government where he held various positions. He was also Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation of India, Bombay. Later he served the Bihar Government as Commissioner General cum Chief Secretary very successfully at grave situations like food scarcity of 1967 and the general elections. Concomitantly he was sent to the Centre as Secretary Planning Commission subsequent upon which he held the important positions as Secretary, Department of Heavy Industries, Government of India, Secretary, Ministry of Industrial Development and Finance Secretary, Government of India. In November 1972 he was appointed Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India and held this post till his retirement. He was the first person from Uttarakhand to have reached this coveted position of the senior most civil servant in the Government of India.. The Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio head of the Civil Services Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Indian Administrative Service and head of all the civil services under the rules of the business of Government of India. The Cabinet Secretary is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister and though there is no fixed tenure his average tenure has been less than three years. In the Order of Precedence he is above the Chiefs of Staff or equivalent in other services holding the rank of full General.
Between 1981 and 1984 he was the Governor of West Bengal and Punjab and is the first person from Uttarakhand to be appointed as governor. In 1984 he returned to Almora and stayed in his ancestral house. He was a nature lover and was not enamoured by the charm and comforts of big cities. Unlike other bureaucrats he preferred to return to the hills and help and guide the people of the area with his vast experience. With this intent he accepted the offer to become the Chairman of the Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi a public charitable trust established in 1967 and its off shoot, the Uttaraakhand Seva Nidhi Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan totally devoted to the dissemination of environmental education in schools and for sensitizing the rural women.. In 2007 he resigned from the position of Chairman of both the organizations, which are doing a yeoman service. He was 90 when he resigned but was very active and had become a role model for the people who are interested in bringing about a change in the society and to arrest the problems of migration and environment in the hills. In the year 2000 the President of India conferred the Padma Vibhushan on him for his distinguished services to the nation. He was awarded the D. Litt (honoris causa) degree by the University of Kumaon in 2006. On 2ndApril 2009 B.D. Pande who was known for his modesty, constructive approach, perspicacity and concern for development for all left for his heavenly abode.