HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Newly appointed Acting Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudel became close to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai after Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar forced the PM to transfer Paudel from the Home ministry.
After the transfer, Paudel got a chance to work closely with PM Bhattarai in drafting the policy on good governance. Bhattarai government’s good governance policies are considered to be Paudel's brainchild.
Born on May 9, 1962 in Baletaksar 5, Gulmi, Paudel joined government service on July 4, 1988 as an Accounts Officer. He was promoted to the post of Under Secretary on August 19, 1996 and passed the internal exam to become Joint Secretary on February 5, 1998 before being appointed as government secretary on October 11, 2007.
Paudel completed Masters in Business Administration from Tribhuwan University in 1989 with First Division majoring in Financial Management.
He worked as Consular General for Tibet Autonomous Region of China. He also worked as Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Home, and Information and Communications.
He enjoys social service, travelling, yoga and meditation and has visited over two dozen countries including the US, UK and other European and Asian countries.
According to his colleagues, Paudel is outspoken, straightforward and intolerant of irregularity of any kind. He is prompt and action oriented and appreciates innovative ideas.
However, he is also considered to be impractical in many aspects. His detractors say he is immature as he works in haste, According to them, Paudel decides arrogantly on any issue as per his preconceived ideas and gives little time for the others to elaborate. “In the course of working promptly, he sometime disregards the procedure and system, which is not considered practical and mature,” a government secretary told THT preferring anonymity.
"This indicates the prime minister's grip on the coalition government," says Narayan Wagely, former editor of a national daily. Good governance is a key agenda for the PM, and Leelamani Paudel is the key architect of this project. "If the PM had not been able to push his choice through, he would have been exposed," Wagley says. "When the political process is stuck, it is up to the bureaucracy to run the state, so the role of a trusted chief secretary becomes important," Wagley says.
Secys in race miffed
KATHMANDU: Those government secretaries above Paudel in the seniority list have expressed dissatisfaction with the government decision. Abanindra Shrestha, Secretary at the ministry of Information and Communications, who was second in the seniority list, said he would go on leave from Monday. He stated that no one would like to work under a junior chief secretary. “I have around two-and-half-month of service left before I retire. From tomorrow I will go on leave before resigning from the post", said Shrestha. Likewise, Baman Prasad Neupane, Secretary at President's Office expressed dissatisfaction with Paudel's appointment. However, he said he is yet to think of his next step. Shankar Koirala, who tops the seniority list could not be reached for comment. Tana Gautam, who was also in the race, refused to comment. All of the one dozen secretaries in the race were appointed secretary on the same day and will retire on October 9.