FOR the third year in a row, BoI (www.babusofindia.com) has come out with the list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats in
, 2011. The power list has been prepared after evaluating the opinions of 50 politicians and bureaucrats in India ’s corridors of power, and using inputs from BoI’s own assessment. In the next few days, you will know who are these five movers and shakers of Indian bureaucracy, and more importantly why each of them can exercise their influence in key decisions? The list does not necessarily reflect bureaucratic hierarchy as importance is given to personal standing and equations, future capability and the current socio-political ecosystem. Delhi
Principal secretary to PM, TKA Nair, who was the second most powerful bureaucrat in BoI’s list of 2009 and 2010, has slipped to the fifth position in the list of 5 Most Powerful Indian Bureaucrats in
, 2011. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has recently divested Nair’s power as he would no longer be the principal secretary to PM from India October 3, 2011. Yet, Nair will continue to exert influence in high-voltage power scene in the year to come. BoI in earlier occasions dubbed him as a master bureaucrat comparing him with Henry Kissinger of yesteryears.
Nair, who has so far successfully protected the PMO from scams around it, will remain an adviser to PM even after Pulok Chatterji, known for his proximity to Sonia Gandhi, takes over as principal secretary to PM in the first week of October. Nair had earlier served as secretary to former prime ministers IK Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and worked in Planning Commission too.
The big question is: Will Nair, who is 11 years senior to current cabinet secretary, move to a Raj Bhawan? Or will he continue to play key roles in South Block till May 2014? At least for now, no one can write off Prime Minister’s No 1 spin doctor. After all, Nair like the US might have lost the AAA rating, but he is still as important in Indian bureaucracy as the US dollar is to the world.