In life and in death, B N Yugandhar is that administrator who maintained an eloquent ‘low profile’.
On Sunday, his son, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, performed the last rites at Mahaprasthanam, in the simplest possible and fitting manner. A family affair, with a few others.
The 1962 batch IAS officer, who passed away at the age of 82 on Friday, scaled heights in an illustrious career, but carried them with least frills and modestly. He strictly went by the rule book and managed to steer clear of controversy.
At the height of India’s economic troubles, Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar served as the Special Secretary of Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in the 1990’s.
Coincidentally, KR Venugopal, his batchmate, who also crossed '80s was also serving as Secretary (Incharge of Kashmir and Social Development). Venugopal, is also an upright, low profile Administrator.
The hallmark of the two officers is their commitment to profession and causes they believe in, and their sincerity and austere lifestyle. No wonder that, themarriage of their children- Satya Nadella and Anupama Priyadarshini was a low key affair. They preferred not to invite the PM.
However, as widely reported, PV Narasimha Rao, a scholar and man of low profile, surprised his secretaries by ‘gate crashing’ the marriage and blessing the young couple, which eventually turned into a much talked about event.
Yugandhar was soft spoken, engaging and insightful in his conversations on subjects he dealt with , recalled his friends. Yugandhar served as Secretary, Rural Development and headed the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.
His last stint was in the Planning Commission during 2004-09. Thereafter, he was associated with the National Institute of Rural Development, Centre for Social Development etc., contributing and lending his vast experience to rural and social issues. Influenced by leftist thinking and wedded to rural issues, the IAS officer, focused his energies on issues of societal benefit in the past decade.
Yugandhar again was propelled into the spotlight when his son Satya Nadella, who was working with Microsoft in Seattle was elevated as the CEO by Bill Gates in 2014. The achievement celebrated across India, evoked a surprising but characteristic response from him when BusinessLine approached him. He reluctantly reacted with the line” I am happy and wish him well. He is doing his job and well”.
According to close family friends, the bureaucrat, retreated from public activities after the passing away of his wife, Prabhavati (a sanskrit lecturer), couple of years ago . His end came on the morning of September 13.
Hailing from Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, Yugandhar was a topper in Economics and a lecturer in the Sri Venkateswara University. In his first attempt, Yugandhar made it to the IPS, and the next year, 1962, he qualified for IAS.
Allocated to AP Cadre, Yugandhar along with KR Venugopal, YV Reddy, GP Rao, BK Rao and other IAS officers mentored by BPR Vittal, was instrumental in formulating several social welfare schemes in the State, recollected, B Yerram Raju, his student from SV University.
Yugandhar was a man of immaculate precision, highly analytical and schematic in thinking and responsible for many policy changes in rural development, bank lending to farmers and changes in training of IAS officers at LBSNAA, said Yerram Raju, a veteran banker and head of Telangana Industrial Health Clininc now.
Yugandhar believed that bureaucracy should work with people closely and know the pulse of the people. He should build bridges of understanding between the people, formulating policies and implementing them for people’s benefit.
Condoling the passing away of Yugandhar, Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu said, “Saddened by the demise of former bureaucrat Shri BN Yugandhar. He was an upright, committed officer. He worked for the upliftment of the marginalised sections of the society and to improve life in rural India”.