The architect of Bharat Nirman
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R. Gopalakrishnan was the creator of the term and the conceptualiser of the initiative
I received with shock and grief the news of the passing away of R. Gopalakrishnan, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, a former colleague in the Prime Minister's Office, where he served as a joint secretary and later as an additional secretary, and a development policy strategist of exceptional talent and rare dedication to public service.
I feel the urge to pay public tribute to his memory because it is necessary to place on public record the patriotic service that a good civil servant performs behind the closed doors of government offices. Often their work goes unrecognised publicly, even unrewarded professionally. The lives of millions of Indians have improved in the past decade because of the good work and professional creativity and commitment of an officer like Gopalakrishnan.
Gopal, as all his colleagues and friends called him, has of course been posthumously rewarded with a fine tribute from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom he served through his entire first term and well into the second term, despite his failing health in the latter period. In his condolence message, the PM acknowledged that Gopal "was the brain behind a number of flagship initiatives of the government." The PM also said, "He had a very fertile mind and did not allow bureaucratic fetters to dull his creative instincts. I remember him for the single-mindedness and passion with which he pursued his ideas."
I wish to place on record the fact that many of the key "flagship" programmes of the first UPA government were not only conceptualised, but also given administrative shape and direction, by Gopal. He had a journalist's knack for coining phrases aimed at capturing public imagination. The most important such concept developed by Gopal was "Bharat Nirman".
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