Health secretary’s transfer regrettable: Amartya Sen

Kolkata, Feb 19: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen Wednesday termed as “regrettable” the decision to transfer Union Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju to the department of consumer affairs.

Sen said he was “surprised” by the development because Desiraju was generally regarded as a “well performing health secretary”.

“Whatever the reason be, it is regrettable,” he said.

Sen was responding to questions at a media conference at the close of the 11th Kolkata Group workshop on “Curing India’s Health System: Learning from Asian Experiences”.

“I don’t know what led to the decision to move to some other sector and I am not able to comment on the alternative hypothesis that is presented… some of that was discussed also in the meeting” he said.

Desiraju possessed “clear headed thinking on health care”, he said.

A statement issued at the end of the workshop said: “The arbitrary transfer of well-performing senior public servants leading the necessary reforms of health care jeopardises effective long-range planning and implementation. Sustained leadership is needed.”