In a much-awaited large-scale reshuffle in the Central administration, the Modi government has appointed/reshuffled 23 Secretary-level officials.
Two senior bureaucrats from the PMO have been moved out to important positions — Secretary AK Sharma as Secretary of MSME and Tarun Bajaj as Secretary of Economic Affairs in place of Atanu Chakraborty, who is retiring this month.
The most notable appointment is that of Mr. AK Sharma, who was one of the most powerful bureaucrats in the PMO as he has been with PM Modi since October 2001 when he took over as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
“The fact that he has been moved to a not very significant department is telling,” an insider told The Hindu.
However, a corporate honcho said since the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would be the focus of the government after the pandemic, Mr. Modi has posted his trusted aide to concentrate his efforts and energies on it, which forms the backbone of the industrial sector.
Mr. Tarun Bajaj’s exit from the PMO was expected as his name was doing the rounds for a prized posting in the Ministry of Finance.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Rural Development, has been moved to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and will take over from Preeti Sudan, who is scheduled to retire this month but has been given extension in view of the pandemic. However, Mr. Bhushan will take over from her three months after April 30.
The Hindu mentioned on Saturday that Mr. Modi is expected to carry out a large reshuffle in the top administration over the weekend since seven Secretaries are scheduled to superannuate this month and there are already several vacancies.
As per the orders issued by the Department of Personnel and Training after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approval, Gujarat cadre IAS officer and chairperson of the CBSE Anita Karwal has been made Secretary, School Education and Literacy as mentioned in these columns.
Another Gujarat cadre officer RP Gupta has been made Secretary, Environment and Forest and Climate Change.
Vice Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Tarun Kapoor has been made Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Ravi Mittal has been shifted as Secretary, Youth Affairs and Sports. Amit Khare, who was earlier Secretary, I&B, has again been given additional charge of Secretary of the Ministry.
Ranjeev Ranjan, Secretary, Road Transport and Highways, has been made Secretary, Shipping.
Anand Kumar, Secretary, Renewable Energy, has been shifted as Secretary Culture.
Ravi Kant, Secretary, Food and Public Distribution, has been made Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Welfare in the Ministry of Defence. Interestingly, Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, has been shifted to the Ministry of Commerce as Special Secretary (Logistics).
Nagendra Nath Sinha moved from the Ministry of Home as Secretary, Border Management, to the Ministry of Rural Development as the Secretary.
PK Tripathi, Establishment Officer in the DoPT, has been made Secretary, Steel.
Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi has been taken from Jharkhand cadre to be appointed as Secretary, Renewable Energy.
Leena Nandan is the new Secretary, Consumer Affairs, and Rajesh Verma is new Secretary, Corporate Affairs.
Rajesh Chaturvedi is new Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, while Ajay Tirkey is Secretary, Women and Child Development.
“All changes in the postings and appointment were made after a detailed exercise involving the performance of each bureaucrat by PM’s Principal Secretary PK Mishra,” a top insider told The Hindu.
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