New Delhi: Girish Chandra Murmu, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, was appointed the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Friday.
Murmu, currently serving as the expenditure secretary in the Ministry of Finance is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trusted civil servants, having worked closely with him in Gujarat.
Murmu was principal secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office when Modi was at the helm in the state.
The 1985-batch officer has held important positions in the finance ministry across departments such as financial services, revenue and expenditure. He is considered to be soft-spoken and approachable by his colleagues but someone who is decisive and sharp enjoying the confidence of the Prime Minister.
Murmu was due to retire next month.
Stint in Gujarat
Murmu worked in the chief minister’s office for seven years beginning 2008 before following Modi to the Centre in 2015 when he joined the Ministry of Finance as a joint secretary.
In Gujarat, he also held posts in the state home ministry under then minister of state for home Amit Shah.
Belonging to Odisha, Murmu has a post graduate degree in political science and an MBA from the University of Birmingham.
He will replace the current governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satyapal Malik, who has been appointed the Goa governor. The Modi government also appointed Radha Krishna Mathur as Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh.
The appointments were necessitated by the government’s decision to revoke Article 370 in August and convert Jammu and Kashmir into a union territory with an assembly and Ladakh as an union territory without an assembly.
The task ahead
Murmu will have the challenging task of restoring normalcy in the union territory in the wake of the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370.
Although most of the restrictions have been lifted since the clampdown on 5 August, a civil disobedience by the residents has meant that shops remain shut in the Valley for the major part of the day and children skip school despite the government announcing their reopening.
He will also have to ensure that the volatile law and order situation does not go out of hand. In the last fortnight, militants have stepped up their activity, killing five outsiders in the Valley. He will also have to deliver on the Modi government’s promise of bringing economic development and jobs for the youth in J&K.