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DPIIT secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra dies of Covid complications

A Gujarat cadre 1986-batch IAS officer, he was appointed to the DPIIT in August 2019. He was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi in mid-April and is the first serving secretary to the Government of India to have succumbed to the disease, as per a PTI report.

Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra died of Covid-19 related complications on Saturday morning. He was 59.

A Gujarat cadre 1986-batch IAS officer, he was appointed to the DPIIT in August 2019. He was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi in mid-April and is the first serving secretary to the Government of India to have succumbed to the disease, as per a PTI report.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers expressed their condolences over Mohapatra’s demise.

“I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal,” said the Prime Minister in a tweet.

Dr Mohapatra was a “very able and hardworking officer”, tweeted Home Minister Amit Shah.

“His long-standing service and dedication to the Nation have left a lasting impact”, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

Calling him an “outstanding” civil servant, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said Mohapatra’s untimely demise was “an irreparable loss for all of us”. As the head of one of the Centre’s empowered groups to deal with various aspects of the pandemic, he worked tirelessly even when he was unwell, Gauba said on a DD News broadcast.

“Himself down with Covid-19, he continued to work till long hours to increase the supply of oxygen and ensure… transportation to various parts of the country. His contribution was immense in value,” said Gauba.

Prior to joining DPIIT, Dr Mohapatra had served as the chairman of the Airport Authority of India (AAI). He had earlier been deputed as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

In Gujarat, he held several roles, including that of the commissioner of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

A “passionate” administrator, Mohapatra’s “innovative ideas and proactive initiatives” set new models for the Indian economy, said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry.

“He helped guide a number of industry and investment related policies and engaged with investors to resolve issues,” said Banerjee, adding that his contribution to the manufacturing sectors, FDI, and ease of doing business as DPIIT Secretary “will continue to positively impact industry”.

“Dr Mohapatra was known for his administrative acumen and his innovative methods of working will always be remembered by us. Having worked extensively with him on a host of issues, we will always remember and miss his guidance,” said Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Uday Shankar.

“Personally, having known Dr Mohapatra and being friends with him as fellow students for over four decades since university days, I have lost a friend very close to me. I will always remember him as one of the finest human beings with a golden heart,” he added.

“In Dr Guru Prasad Mohapatra’s untimely death, India has lost an able administrator,” Steel, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted. “A pioneer, he made unparalleled contributions in reforming the urban development landscape in Gujarat, led many public enterprises with distinction and also steered the commerce and aviation sector,” he said.

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