Monday, February 28, 2011

Indian ambassador to France Ranjan Mathai turns top contender for next foreign secretary

INDIAN ambassador to France Ranjan Mathai, a 1974 batch IFS officer, is emerging as the top contender to clinch the coveted foreign secretary’s job in July end, 2011 when incumbent Nirupama Rao completes her two years tenure. Of late, Mathai’s chances have brightened after his batchmate and another strong contender Alok Prasad was sent to Tokyo as Indian ambassador to Japan earlier this month. Prasad who was the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka before becoming the Deputy National Security Adviser was believed to be the front-runner, but his chances slipped after he was shifted out to Japan.
According to sources close to the development, the only other officer who could upset Mathai’s chances of becoming foreign secretary is another 1974-batch IFS officer Hardeep Puri, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
Born on May 24, 1952, Ranjan Mathai completed his post graduation in political science from the University of Poona before joining Indian Foreign Service in 1974. Earlier, he had served in Indian Embassies in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Tehran and Brussels and worked as joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs between January 1995 to and February 1998. He was the Indian Ambassador to Israel, Indian Ambassador in Qatar, Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK in London before becoming Ambassador of India to France.
Whatever be the final outcome, it’s certain that a 1974 batch IFS officer would become the country’s next foreign secretary. And if Pulok Chatterjee, known for his proximity to 10 Janpath, becomes the next cabinet secretary in June, 2011 as is widely speculated in corridors of power, both top posts of IAS and IFS would remain with 1974 batch officers for the next two years!

Action and Appointments
a) Government employees in Bihar including over 400 IAS and IPS officers have furnished their details of their assets ahead of the February 28 deadline. The state government had earlier announced that those who would fail to meet the deadline would find their salaries being withheld.

BoI Extraa…
Himachal Pradesh government has instructed bureaucrats to keep the phones on even after office hours. The state government is upset of the fact that officers prefer to keep their mobile phones off.

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