Friday, February 26, 2010

Indian Finance Minister’s B-team gets ready for the big annual event of Feb 26

HERE'S the picture of India’s B-team that has sealed the fate of Budget 2010-11, which is being presented in Parliament by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday. Sitting along with Mr Mukherjee (middle) are minister of state (revenue) SS Palanimanickam (right) and the minister of state (E,B&I), Namo Narain Meena (left), both of whom incidentally are were not deeply involved in nuances of the Budget.
But the men who were actually behind this mammoth exercise spanning over three months and more, are the bureaucrats standing behind Pranab babu and his ministerial colleagues. Expenditure secretary Sushama Nath (extreme right), a 1974 batch MP cadre IAS and finance secretary Ashok Chawla (5th from right) and 1973 batch Gujarat cadre IAS are the two bureaucrats who were part of the Budget team of P Chidambaram too. Also, the chairman of CBDT SSN Moorthy (third from left) and CBEC chairman V Sridhar (2nd from left) have been part and parcel of this year’s Budget process from the very beginning.
What’s however is quite significant this time is the induction of a number of new faces after the Budget preparation process had actually begun. By the time, Cornell University professor Kaushik Basu (4th from the left) joined the North Block as chief economic advisor in November at the rank and pay of a secretary, he did not have much time to experiment on how bureaucracy works, and he began the gigantic task of collating the economic survey that was presented on Thursday.
Interestingly, as many as three key bureaucrats --- R Gopalan (5th from left), a 1976 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS and banking secretary, Sunil Mitra (2nd from right), 1975 batch West Bengal cadre IAS and revenue secretary, and finally Sumit Bose, 1976 batch MP cadre IAS and disinvestment secretary --- donned their roles in North Block much after the Budget process had already reached its peak.

Bihar IAS’ office raided
Bihar Vigilance Investigation Bureau on Thursday carried out a raid at the office of the outgoing Patna Municipal Commissioner K Senthil Kumar, a 1996 batch Bihar cadre IAS and seized some documents. There was a raid both at the office and residence on Wednesday too. He reportedly owns a café and a departmental store in addition to having a number of immovable properties in Patna, Delhi and Chennai. 

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