IAS as an enduring administration in India forms an inseparable part of the administrative branch of the Government of India. The clichéd quote ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ stands true for an IAS officer as they have to look after and manage administrative functions as well as implement developmental policies for the government. The power to do well is the only power when time is of essence; the responsibility is to be responsive, when the nation calls. Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan, an IAS officer, leads the way with the power of being ‘Socially Responsible’.
Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan is a factotum in general. From a bureaucrat, to a doctor, writer and a cartoonist, he is well- diversified in nature. He is already a known name and is famous for his commendable contributions to the Coimbatore City. He has numerous achievements under his belt apart from being youngest Commissioner and Special Officer of Coimbatore Municipal Corporation. He is the prime-mover behind Coimbatore getting chosen as the top city from Tamil Nadu as a “Smart City” in the very first selection round. He continues to be engaged in training and motivating youngsters for appearing in civil service examinations.
From Doctor to Commissioner
From a medical degree, to Master’s in Public Policy and the Civil Services title, Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan have an interesting story to unfold about his journey through various genres of education. He graduated from Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai and served as the Assistant Collector (Trainee) at Erode and Sub Collector at Kovilpatti before his appointment as the Corporation Commissioner in Coimbatore. There, he started a group named “Kovilpatti Study League” and trained village students for competitive examinations.
Recalling his various stints, Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan says that it was a memorable yet tough journey so far. “I had to make a lot of hard decisions and keep the focus going. Having reached the point where I am today, the challenges lying ahead are huge. My focus is to look out for many opportunities, overcome challenges and continue my journey of being a change maker for my country.”
Parents, his greatest role models
Parents role have been a key factor in the success of many people. Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan also attributes the success share to his parents. His parents constantly encouraged and supported him to achieve success. He says, “Whatever I am today is because of unflinching love and support from my family. My parents played a huge role in not just the goal setting, but also helping me achieve those goals. The backup at home front is so strong that I can peacefully concentrate on the job most of the times”.
Inspiration often conveys enthusiasm and taking action in pursuit of a particular endeavour. It can be found anywhere, at any time, when anyone or anything strengthens the sense of viability and desirability. Like every other child, Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan drew inspiration from his father. He pursued the civil services, because he always wanted to follow the footsteps of his father Mr. R. Kannan, who is an Indian Forest Service officer.
Recalling his days of hardwork and determination, Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan says that “a lot of learning and unlearning happens during IAS training period”. One of the most important lessons that he have learnt during the training is the importance of working in a group, with the group and taking the entire group forward. Another important learning which helped in Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan’s career is adaptability, which he sees as an advantage in the competitive global economy. Being adaptable, helps him to quickly prepare for unforeseen circumstances.
Postings and Experiences
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan served as an Assistant Collector in Erode from June 2012 to May 2013. From September 2013 to November 2014, he served as the Sub Collector/Sub divisional Magistrate of Kovilpatti, Tuticorin district, Tamil Nadu. His journey as a Commissioner started from 2014 onwards. In addition, Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan has also been designated as the Special Officer, since October 2016.
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan recalls that his first posting was a challenging assignment as he had to work with a lot of law and order situations almost on a daily basis. Solving age old land issues gave a lot of satisfaction, and reading them on the file, back tracking on it, corroborating all the evidences, number crunching on them – were all akin to solving a puzzle, making the very interesting. He is happy that throughout his tenure he has been learning a lot of things which helps him to improve on a day to day basis.
On IAS examination and interview
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan says that Civil service exam preparation is a cycle of uncertainty. One may or may not get out of it successfully, but should keep trying and enjoying the process. Keep working hard without thinking too much about the results. Always back yourself and trust your ability. Success will be yours.
He shares his success tips to crack the Civil Service Examinations. He says that one should start enjoying the process of the exam and go through daily routine without losing focus and without giving pressure to self. End of the day, nothing will substitute for the hours we put into sincere study.
According to him, the secret of success is dedication, determination, hardwork and faith in God. Also, enjoying the phase of preparation with a good sense of humour and a really supportive family and friends could really help in overcoming the stress. Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan believes in time management and says that, “If one can plan properly, manage the study time well, practice properly with tests and is cool enough, you can manage the exam time well.”
Sharing on the interview tips, Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan says that Interview predominantly is to check our readiness for the job and to see our reaction to tough situations, issues and challenges. Interview is all about testing the capability of a person, to actually see if one could handle such situations in a balanced manner.
Change maker make their change happen. Using a combination of knowledge, resources and determination, they push through until their dream becomes truth.
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan in a true sense is indeed a Change Maker. He believes that irrespective of one’s profession, all of us are ‘Agents of Change’ and have responsibility towards the society. According to this IAS officer, each of us should think “I am the change,” unless we take ownership of change, change will never be ours.
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan saw himself as a change maker, during his initial days as a doctor. As days moved on, he wanted bigger challenges, hence he shifted to the Civil Service. In this job, he feels immense satisfaction and proud of giving back to society. Echoing his words, “In this job, I get the change maker feel almost every single day despite all the pressure and despite being pushed against the wall at times. That is the feeling which we get when we tackle the difficult of law and order scenarios, when we bring in a systemic change in public service delivery, when we bring in the community with us as a part of our governance, when we bring in initiatives for real time governance which is unparalleled and motivate us to work harder and create bigger and better changes.”
Remarkable changes in Coimbatore City
The Coimbatore city has seen remarkable changes, since Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan took charge at the Municipal Corporation. He gives credit to the people of the city and feels immense gratitude for all the help from the community and active citizenry.
Some of the notable initiatives are:
- Introduction of Patta Scheme – Patta is an important legal document which provides the relevant information about a property. This is a type of property ownership proof. Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan who is known for his swift action, initiated the new scheme of availing Patta in one hour in Kovilpatti. In the new scheme, the applicants can collect the Patta within one hour, provided all related documents are submitted. Through the fast track patta scheme, the documents will be issued within two weeks at special camps. Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan says that the main objective of such an initiative is to eliminate red-tapism and corruption and will be a great help to rural people.
- Revamping of Water Bodies – A lot of work has been done towards the revamping and re-developing of the water bodies. The road along the Ukkadam Big tank is now popularly called as the ‘Marine Drive’ of Coimbatore. The Valangulam tank in the city Centre which was waterless and fully encroached with more than 2600 buildings is now without a single encroachment and is brimming with water. The municipal corporation is further planning to enhance it by putting in a people’s promenade as a part of the Smart City Mission.
- Waste Segregation – Under the Swachh Survekshan, the Commissioner aims for a garbage free city. One of the methods is the implementation of QR Code which helps to track waste collection and disposal. The process is to connect the trash bin to a scanner built on it that will rate the level of waste segregation collected from the residents and update the same in the server on a real time basis.
- Ban of Plastic Bags – Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan brought awareness to the general public about the harmful effects of plastic by conducting various expos. These expos brought out the various alternatives to plastics which could be used in our day to day life. Additionally he took measures to ban plastic bags under 50 microns in and around the city.
- Kovai Green League – A project initiated by Brookefields in association with Bosch, MC3 and Rotary club of Coimbatore to increase the city’s green cover. The league works toward creating awareness on carbon footprint, wealth out of waste and environmental conservation. As part of the event, a green campus award is presented to recognize the schools that have the greenest and most eco- friendly campus.
- Health and Sanitation – Sanitation begins at home and all of us have a role to play here. Waste Management at our household level, home composting using our own kitchen waste, using the manure from our home compost and kitchen water to create a kitchen garden, simple cost effective rain water harvesting are all initiatives on waste management which the Commissioner has been successfully implementing in his municipality for about three years.
Social media to voice Civic Grievances
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan ensures that the people’s grievances are addressed timely. For this purpose, he explores the options of tapping the other social media platforms such as SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Whats App and Telegram to provide more channels of communication for the public to voice their grievances.
Message to Youngsters
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan believes that youngsters have the potential to bring positive changes to the country. His message to the youth is to never give up. He says, “Do not do something just because someone else did it. Do not give up on something just because someone else gave up. You are what you are and you can achieve anything”.
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan stresses on the fact that there is no scientific formula for what makes a good leader, only a belief in one’s own ability. He always tries to push beyond his limits and go the extra mile. It helps him to deliver more than what is promised, which he believes is his mantra for success.
As the Managing Director of Coimbatore Smart City, Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan IAS looks forward in implementing model roads in Coimbatore city. The Model Roads project is an initiative by the Corporation under the Smart Cities Mission, hence the coinage of the term ‘Smart Streets’. These streets will include high quality walking and cycling facilities, improved access to public transport, organized parking and vending zones and streamlined junctions. As the name suggests, these streets will be an exemplary of the kind that Coimbatore will have in the future – a model to look up to.
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan also has many other initiatives in his bag. He says that few projects such as the largest 24×7 water supply scheme in the country, restoration and rejuvenation of the 8 lake network in the city are in the pipeline. He adds that his focus will be on taking Government schemes to the people at a faster pace, besides expediting the on-going development works and commencing new works. Core focus areas will be drinking water, solid waste management, public health and hygiene.
A writer’s journey
Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan, despite of his busy schedule, finds time in giving wings to his creative geniuses. He has always been super passionate about writing, and has written three books in Tamil. ‘Ettum Thoorathil IAS’ (IAS at reachable distance), a book which provides details to help out aspirants preparing for competitive exams), ‘Adhuvum Idhuvum’ (This and That) which talks about various emotions in our life and how they govern us and ‘Orey Kallil 13 Maanghai’ (13 mangoes in one stone) focuses on achieving various goals in life without running behind life. All these three books have been listed among the best sellers.
Apart from this, Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan also tries his hand in fiction writing. His first English fiction ‘Once upon an IAS exam’, which gives a hilarious and an emotional account of a boy chasing his dream of becoming an IAS officer, is slated to be released this October.