Many in Bihar say Pratyay Amrit’s name should be entered into Guinness World Records for helming a sick corporation which built the highest
number of road bridges in a year. As Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam's CMD, this 1991-batch IAS officer oversaw completion of 259 major bridge projects in three years since 2006. In view of its success, the nigam has now been given responsibilities like road and hospital construction, among other things. “Now we are out of debt, making handsome profits and are also spending crores on philanthropy as part of our CSR (corporate social responsibility),” a nigam official says.
Pratyay delivered. So have others in chief minister Nitish Kumar’s A-team, who were chosen for their competence. Earlier as principal secretary (finance) and now as development commissioner, Navin Kumar has been the chief strategist in financial matters. Known for his sobriety, the 1975-batch IAS officer is the man behind the state’s budget drafts and also the all-important memorandum to the finance commission. He also heads the State Investment Planning Board, formed by the Nitish government to attract investment. The board mobilized proposals worth Rs 96,000 crore in just three years.
R K Singh was the builder during the initial years of the Nitish regime. Currently secretary (defence production) at
the Centre, the 1975-batch officer was the architect of the development of the state’s road network as principal secretary, road construction.
Madan Mohan Jha was specially brought in from central deputation. As HRD boss, he initiated the move to recruit over two lakh teachers on contract. He also conceptualized several other projects. After his untimely death in 2007, Anjani Kumar Singh has been brought in as HRD principal secretary to complete his unfinished work.
While Deepak Kumar managed the key health department for the first three years, Afzal Amanullah's three-year tenure as home secretary is still remembered for the bold initiative to rein in criminals, including politicians of Nitish’s JD(U). The 1979-batch officer now looks after urban development.
Anup Mukherjee, as rural development department head, supervised implementation of poverty alleviation schemes, including NREGA, and won accolades for the state even from the Centre. The 1974-batch officer, who believes in working quietly, is the state’s chief secretary today.
Bureaucrat-turned-MP N K Singh is also an important player in Nitish's team. Not only does he give ideas to the CM, but he is also credited with successfully showcasing Bihar in the country and abroad.
BACKROOM BOYS : During the Lalu-Rabri regime, a single bureaucrat called the shots at the CM’s office. The change of guard brought a tech-savvy team to manage the affairs. Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, 52, the CM’s principal secretary, has been associated with Nitish Kumar since 1998 when the latter was railway minister. Both Nitish and RCP, a 1984-batch IAS officer of UP cadre, are from Nalanda and belong to the same caste. Insiders say Nitish treats RCP like a family member.
Nitish also banks heavily on S Siddharth (1991 batch) and Chanchal Kumar (1992 batch). As secretaries to the CM, they coordinate with principal secretaries of various departments and oversee implementation of welfare and development programmes. Siddharth, from Tamil Nadu, is a BTech and has attended advanced courses at IIM-Ahmedabad. Chanchal, an MTech, has also studied micro-finance in the US.
There’s a clear division of work. While Siddharth looks after infrastructure departments like road, building, urban development and energy, Chanchal has been assigned social sector departments like education, health, social welfare and disaster management.