New Delhi: Former higher education secretary Vinay Sheel Oberoi, who was recovering from a liver transplant operation, passed away Friday after reportedly suffering a stroke two days before.
The 63-year old retired IAS officer belonged to the 1979 batch of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, and served as the union human resource development (HRD) secretary from June 2015 to February 2017, when he retired.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, who handled the HRD portfolio between 2014 and 2016, tweeted Saturday that Oberoi had been a “father figure”.
Vinay Sheel Oberoi – colleague, father figure , friend. Was blessed to serve with him in HRD when he donned the hat of Secretary Higher Education. Though we lost him last night , his guidance & kindness will stay with me forever. Om Shanti 🙏 pic.twitter.com/xgn4JmWvYf
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) April 11, 2020
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu was among others who condoled his demise on Twitter.
Deeply saddened by sad demise of Vinay Sheel Oberoi, former Secretary Higher Education, Union HRD Ministry, GOI. We have lost an amazing personality who had spent time in Northeast and had great passion for the region and for Arunachal.
May the departed soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/I4RJomyd1S
— Pema Khandu པདྨ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་། (@PemaKhanduBJP) April 11, 2020
Oberoi’s other stints included a tenure as secretary in the Women and Child Development Ministry, and later as India’s ambassador and permanent representative at UNESCO.
We are deeply saddened at the passing of Sh. Vinay Sheel Oberoi, who served as the Permanent Representative of #India to @UNESCO from 2010-14. Our heartfelt prayers are with his family. His contributions to #education, both at UNESCO and at @HRDMinistry will always be remembered. https://t.co/pI9ndIsQmN
— India at UNESCO (@IndiaatUNESCO) April 11, 2020
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Working on a photography book
As HRD secretary, he played a key role in the Modi government’s Institutions of Eminence (IoE) project. However, there was much controversy when he landed a post-retirement job with Reliance, whose yet-to-be constructed Jio institute was subsequently selected among the private institutes shortlisted for the IoE tag in 2018.
Oberoi, an alumnus of the prestigious Doon School and Delhi School of Economics, retired from government service as the secretary in the HRD Ministry in 2017. He joined Reliance Industries Limited just over a year afterwards.
His talent for photography was his own, although he spent time in Arunachal Pradesh for a photography book late last year. The captions that accompany some of the photos in this report are Oberoi’s own, sent to a friend with whom he shared the passion.
Wherever Oberoi is, the sky is hopefully just as blue as in his beloved Tawang that you can see here.
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