Bhubaneswar: The Centre has appointed retired IAS officer of Odisha cadre Hrusikesh Panda as chairman of an experts’ committee of Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA).
He was formerly secretary, MoTA, and secretary, forest and environment, Government of Odisha.
The committee will look into different aspects of the Forest Rights Act 2006, which aims to protect the rights of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers, official sources said.
The Committee will review and suggest measures to be taken by the states in form of guidelines to speed up the process of recognition of community rights over forest land in the country. It will submit its report to the Ministry in three months, the sources added.
Panda, who topped the Indian Civil Services in 1979, retired from the Indian Administrative Service in 2015.
He hails from Kalidaspur village in Odisha’s Bhadrak district. He did MSc in chemistry before joining IAS. He has been awarded a doctorate degree in English literature for his thesis on relationship between society and literature: A study in creative writing. He also went to Australia and studied business management.
He is a well-known fiction writer in Odia and written two novels, Sunaput Ra Lake (1987) and Samasthe Ta Janithile (2017) that focus on the issue of forest dwellers.