Dr Swarna Subba Rao, today would be serving his last day of present term as Surveyor General of India. Its not everyday a young officer aged ~53 years is elevated to the post of Surveyor General of India, an important post considering the growing ubiquity of maps and location data. Except for a year when he was asked to go on leave, he otherwise had a good six years to charter the growth path of Survey of India. Looking back at achievements, one would recall the hauling up Google and off late the long overdue CORS which might have moved into its pilot project stage. Though, it will remain a mystery for common man, what did the govt. gain from sending him on virtually a paid holiday for more than a year.
Before one sticks out a gun at him, one should look at his pain about SoI being a sub-ordinate office of Dept of Science and Technology, which could have been an impedance in its functioning. Though there has been a restructuring committee for Survey of India in place for sometime now, but I wonder if any radical thought process would emerge from the “school of old boys”.
During the tenure of Dr. Nag, OSM and DSM were introduced, I wonder if the division of product should be extended to the division of mapping process and also division of reporting, with the maps for civil domain being driven with the intent for providing maps to public and users including control points, providing data auditing services etc. The ‘defense’ part can be restricted and prohibited in the interest of the country. Similar views have might have emerged amongst the restructuring committee members about bifurcation of functioning of Survey of India and Military Survey.
Moving forward, in a very welcome move, Govt of India has given a clear signal that it would like to respect and protect the concept of seniority in armed forces where in Maj Gen VP Srivastava, currently Addl. Director General Military Survey, who fulfills all the the criteria of becoming Surveyor General of India has been given dual charge of holding office of Surveyor General of India, starting from 1st July, for next three months or till the time a permanent incumbent is nominated.