|(R to L) Gopalan, Mrs Paul, Gujral, Bose|
Had this three months’ extension not materialized, Gopalan, an MBA from Harvard, would have retired on April 30, 2012. But what has made Gopalan so special that finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and his adviser Omita Paul have vouched for...his continuation in finance ministry? Already, there were intense speculations on who would get this coveted DEA secretary’s post, but with Gopalan getting an extension, such gossips in corridors will lie low, at least for now.
In fact, the extension of a secretary-level officer is a rare phenomenon in the government though efficient and friendly bureaucrats are often rewarded with post-retirement assignments immediately. In the last couple of years, 1974 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS Sushama Nath is probably the only exception when she was given a three-month extension as Budget was on. She was then finance secretary handling the expenditure department, and remained in the position till May end.
The serial extension of former cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar is however not factored in here, as promotion of junior officers was not impacted by that move. But if 50% of Union secretaries manage three-months extension, it will have a cascading effect on all IAS batches.
In fact, former finance secretary Ashok Chawla did not get an extension last year despite the Union Budget preparations were continuing at a full swing. Chawla, who handled even three out of five finance ministry departments at times and was also a contender for cabinet secretary’s post, was denied even a month’s extension. He had to leave the North Block barely a month before the presentation of the Union Budget last year. Those in the know say he was not getting along well with FM’s adviser Mrs Paul, and that proved costly. Chawla finally became chairman of Competition Commission of India piping two senior IAS officers.
Action and Appointments
a) Pradeep Kumar Deb, a 1977 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS, presently in the cadre, has been appointed as sports secretary in place of Ms Sindhushree Khullar, a 1975 batch UT cadre IAS who has recently moved to Planning Commission as secretary.
b) Ms Nita Chawdhury, a 1977 batch UP cadre IAS, presently in the cadre, has been appointed as secretary in the department of youth affairs in place of AK Upadhayay, a 1975 batch Bihar cadre IAS.