The telecom regulator Trai chairman’s post will lie vacant in May. The other IAS contender for the post is defence production secretary and 1977 batch IAS Sekhar Agarwal. Agarwal has been in defence ministry since February 2008, and he was RP Singh’s colleague in the ministry when Singh was in South Block. Singh then moved to Udyog Bhawan as secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP).
Those who know RP Singh from very close quarters say he is a doer, and does not really care about political interventions. Unlike most of his suave and diplomatic IAS colleagues, Singh is talkative and highly informal in most occasions.Many within the government were also surprised when Singh as the DIPP secretary first made the discussion paper on FDI in multi-brand retail public in July, 2010. He asked his junior officials to transparently place all comments on the discussion paper public too. Interestingly, Kamal Nath as commerce and industry ministry first tried to open up FDI in multi-brand retail during the UPA government. But it was UPA chairwoman Sonia Gandhi who stopped the move then by writing a formal letter to Nath.