PVRK Prasad, a great institution builder

THE HANS INDIA |   Aug 22,2017 , 01:10 AM IST


The former Indian Administrative Service Officer, former Media Advisor to late Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, former Director General Dr MCR HRD Institute and former Executive Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), PVRK Prasad, passed away on 21 August. He was an expert administrator, spiritualist and humanist PVRK was an institution builder wherever he worked and they are the lasting memories of him – be it TTD, MCR HRD or to that matter any other institution.

I had known him for nearly five decades. PVRK was serving as Collector when I first met him and later it continued while he was Commissioner, Information and Public Relations, in the united AP, and also EO, TTD. I knew him more intimately when I worked with him when he was Special Chief Secretary and Director-General DR MCR HRD Institute. 

It was in the year 1998, I remember very well, the day when PVRK joined in the MCR HRD Institute as DG. I went to his chambers to explain about one of the important programmes that the institute took up, under specific instructions from the then Chief Minister of AP N Chandrababu Naidu who was also Chairman of Institute. It was an OMR (Optical Mark Reader) based training needs analysis of all the five lakhs plus employees of state government from Junior Assistant to Head of Department.

The programme was half way through and as the CM was busy with Lok Sabha elections held that year, there was some slackness in pursuing the matter by the Institute authorities. Even before I could attempt to explain, PVRK said that he preferred the posting in the Institute to relax and concentrate on his spiritual pursuit and hence no need for him to know any detail and everything would be looked after by the Additional DG. While he was saying this, he received a call from the CM enquiring about OMR progress and asking him to see the CM with all details.

Within minutes he took a briefing from me and we both went to meet CM where PVRK explained like an expert on the subject as if he had been dealing with that for several days. That was his way of dealing things. He never looked back and it was his and only his contribution to the Institute, making it one of top training institutes in the world. 

PVRK during his last and, of course, long-lasting tenure in the government service, he was credited with the everlasting contribution of transformation of the Dr MCR HRD Institute of Telangana. PVRK took charge as the Director General of the then Institute of Administration (IOA) in 1998. At that point of time, the IOA had been mostly involved in organising traditional, rule-based, classroom-oriented training programmes. The location at Road No 25, Jubilee Hills, was known to be remote, isolated with little connectivity. Within three years of his taking over, many initiatives and institution-building programmes were initiated and launched. 

It was during his tenure, the institute was renamed as ‘Dr MCR HRD Institute’ with the mandate of developing human resources in the state, who would be competent to fulfil current and future manpower requirements of the State government. A major ‘State Training Initiative’ (STI) was launched aiming to build capacities of ‘Training for All’ (TFA). The aim of the STI was to build capacities of providing about 60 hours (two weeks) training to each of the five lakh State government employees. 

The institute’s infrastructural facilities were expanded and brought to the then ‘State of Art’ level. It may not be an exaggeration to say that 90% of what one sees in the Institute had the imprint of PVRK vision. In a first-of-its-kind, at that point of time, individual, functional and organisational needs identification exercise was initiated and completed. 

Based on systematic identification of training needs, many training modules for cutting edge level functionaries were developed. Using DVD medium delivered Computer Based Training and relay of programmes through TV/Satellite channel. The Centre of Good Governance (CGG) was set up on the Institute campus. The aim was to identify best practices and develop replicable models.

Tony Blair, the then UK Prime Minister, came all the way from England to inaugurate the CGG and spent a lot of time at the institute including one-to-one meeting with the then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. District Training Centres were established in every district for organising training on decentralised basis. Under the overall direction and control of District Collectors who were designated as District Training Commissioners.

National Training Policy stipulation of earmarking budget equivalent of 1.5% of salary budget, with separate budget head, was implemented in the State because of vigorous persuasion by PVRK. PVRK laid a select foundation for transformation of the Institute from Administrative Training institute to Apex Training Institute and from a provider of traditional training to capacity-building institute of the State.

The institute became ISO 9007 2000 certified, in a record period of eight months, perhaps the first HRD Institute in the country to have got the certification. A large number of trainer training and capacity building programmes were undertaken. The institute, under PVRK guidance, conceptualised, designed and implemented a major programme on development of change leaders in the State. This consisted of organising department-wise and organisation-wise ‘Governing for Results’ (GFR) programme, identification of change leaders, and organising development programmes for identified change leaders called Core Group Development programmes.

A major programme on ‘Elimination of Child Labour’ (ECL) was undertaken in collaboration with ILO and VVGiri-National Labour Institute. Using an innovative strategy called ‘Influencing the Influencers’ more than 4,100 Influencers, across the State were sensitised and capacities built. 
Apart from these several exchange programmes like with Harvard Business School, module development work with UNDP assistance, Master Trainer Development programme with DOPT, Government of India, assistance etc., were also initiated by PVRK.

After the 1999 elections to the state assembly and after the formation of cabinet, all the ministers including the then CM were provided with three-day training programme designed and developed by PVRK. PVRK Prasad authored several popular books in Telugu, including 'Naham Kartha,' 'Asalem Jarigindante' (Wheels behind the veil), 'Tirumala Leelamrutham' and 'Tirumala Charitamrutam'. In his death, the country has lost an able administrator, institution builder and spiritualist. 

By Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

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