THE MAN WHO DARED TO DREAM BIG
Shri G. C.Murmu
by Honey Patnaik
Simple, straight forward and dauntless, he does not hesitate to call a spade a spade! From singing Rangabati and loving folksongs to reading mystery novels, acting, painting, body building, open arms combat, Karate and Jukado – he has done it all! A name to reckon with in the power corridors of the Government of India, an A-lister in the Modi government, Shri. Girish Chandra Murmu (1985 batch IAS) , Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, GOI, in a candid conversation with Coffee Bytes.
Tell us something about your early life?
I was born on 21st November 1959 in a non-descriptive village called Kanchisole, near Betnati block of Mayurbhanj district. Being the eldest of the eight siblings, I helped my father Shri. Bhagabat Murmu, a railway employee and my mother, Shrimati Parvati, in the daily chores.
How do you remember your childhood days?
It was a happy go lucky life, full of fun & frolic, reading mystery stories from pocket books picked up from the railway station, scampering off to Betnati High School in the morning and playing with my friends. I was a bright student and always excelled in my studies (laughs). Saraswati Bidyapeetha and Sripadganj High School in Baripada strengthened my educational foundation and in 1980, I majored in Political Science from Rourkela Government College with flying colours. I was both studious and naughty in college. I played a lot of pranks to annoy my friends and lecturers and I’m sure it cost me some precious internal marks (grins).
Had you always dreamt of becoming an IAS officer ?
To be honest I loved photography and wanted to be an artist. But my friends and family advised me to go for banking. Ultimately I appeared for both banking and the IAS examinations and qualified for both. During graduation I had also dreamt of doing a Ph.D, write some good books and get into the education field.
You had qualified for all the banking examinations; did you join anywhere?
My family was overjoyed when I joined my maiden job as a Probationary Officer in Andhra Bank at Burla but it had a life span of only two months. I was like a river searching for a level where I could settle down and I was on a hop-skip & jump mode for a while, switching from Andhra Bank to State Bank of India and then RBI. In 1985, I qualified for the Indian Administrative Services and was allotted the Gujarat cadre.
You were in Gujarat for three decades, how did it treat you?
Gujarat became my second home and I learnt to read, write and speak Gujrati fluently. Life was like a roller coaster and everyday was a learning lesson and an eye- opener. Kheda district where the milk capital of the country , Anand, is situated (now Anand district) was the first district that I joined as a Sub Divisional Magistrate. I have donned many hats, shouldered varied responsibilities and handled multiple portfolios successfully. I have worked across Gujarat and have been the longest serving collector, with almost a seven year stint at a stretch in three different districts. From being the District Collector to handling major disasters like the Narmada flood, Kandla cyclone, Bhuj earthquake of January 26th, 2001 , drought, Godhra riot etc. – I have seen it all. While posted as the Principal Secretary in the Home Department, I looked after some PSUs also and subsequently became the Additional Principal Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Gujarat till I migrated to the Union Government in 2015.
A few things that you loved doing.
Not many know, that earlier I loved watching art movies but was fascinated by Hollywood action films. At a point of time Arnold Schwarzenegger inspired me and I took to body building. I also took training in Karate and Jukado (a combination Aikido and Judo) along with open arms combat in 1994. I used to put in three hours of rigorous exercise every day to develop a great physique. I was always very curious about everything. When I was young I was interested in reading mystery and action stories like Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Sherlock Holmes etc. I feel , that reading these books has helped me develop my skills in analysing and detecting problems and finding solutions in my current work life.
Tell us something about the Jagannath temples that you have helped construct in Gujarat.
I tried my level best to help my Odia community construct Jagannath temples all across the state. The first one was in Baruch, the second one in Jamnagar and the third, which was the largest of them all was built in between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
It is understood that you played a role in taking Gujarat to the global market.How did you do it ?
In 2003 we started the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ campaign from scratch. In the first road show along with the Chief Minister, I went to Europe with Mr. A. K. Sharma (current Joint Secretary, PMO) for showcasing Gujarat to the European world. We visited Germany, Netherlands, UK, Switzerland etc. Thereafter I led teams abroad to showcase Gujarat for almost every successive Vibrant Gujarat event. Lastly, in 2014, I travelled extensively again and covered Russia, Poland, and Czech Republic etc. with the team representing industries to garner support for our campaign.
Can you tell us something about your family?
Well, I had an inter-caste marriage and my wife Dr. Smita Shukla belongs to Jabalpur. She holds a Ph.D in Sociology and used to teach in a college initially, but works for the under privileged these days. My daughter Ruchika is a commerce student & my son Ruhaan, is in the eighth grade and happens to be a brilliant chess player, loves shooting and is a good marksman.
What is your favourite food?
Can you tell us what has been your USP and any message that you would like to give our readers?
I guess my USP lies in the fact that I always try to help people who approach me. I believe that one should be straight forward with some commitment to give back to society and help the under privileged. I always stand by my motto ‘I can do it! ‘.
Do you have any dreams for your hometown, Baripada?
My innermost desire and dream is to be able to help the poor and the tribal people of Baripada. I have realized that the old generation cannot change much so it is our duty to first empower the youngsters by providing good education, and hone their skills, for which good educational institutions with comfortable facilities are a necessity. The area is mostly agriculture based and there is a great potential to promote agro-based products like growing medicinal herbs, ginger, anwla (goose berry), pulses, cashew, guava, rubber plants etc. Sports can also be thought of as a career option for the young and enthusiastic kids by providing them the right kind of facilities. If farmers are given the required support and are made aware of their potential they can take care of their families and lead a comfortable life. I am very encouraged with the good work that our Baripada Collector, Shri Rajesh Patil is doing for the upliftment of the farmers here.
What have you learnt from your stint as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Gujarat and the current Prime Minister of India?
He is a great visionary and an energetic and able administrator. I was fortunate to get a chance to work under him. I have tried my best to meet the demands of my job. There is lot to learn from such a great leader and statesman. I admire his vision, commitment and drive to take the country to greater heights. I am lucky that I had the opportunity to learn a lot, working in the Chief Minister’s office. ❏
• Assistant Collector and SDM, Petlad Sub-Division in Kheda District
• Deputy Secretary, Forest & Environment (1988 to 1989)
• D.D.O , Baroda (1990)
• Deputy Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation (latter part of 1990)
• M.D., Warehousing Corp (1991 to1994)
• Collector, Kheda , Bharuj & Jamnagar respectively (1994 to 2000)
• Relief Commissioner (2001 to 2002): Held parallel posts of Commissioner
Geology and Mining and I/C MD GMDC. (Handled the Drought &
Earthquake, riots as Relief Commissioner)
• VC and CEO Gujarat Maritime Board (2003)
• Principal Secretary, Home Department, Govt. of Gujrat, MD/CMD, GIIC
and held the post of Registrar Co-operative Society also, for one year
(2004 to 2015)
• Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and thereafter Principal
Secretary to Chief Minister from 2008 to 2015 and continued to hold the
post of Principal Secretary (Law and order) Home Ministry, Principal
Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, CMD, GIIC, Chairman Gujarat
Venture Finance ltd., Gujarat Chemical Port terminal.