Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Batchmates Bonhomie: What does R Gopalan's 3-month extension mean?

(R to L) Gopalan, Mrs Paul, Gujral, Bose
THE government has given department of economic affairs (DEA) secretary R Gopalan an extension of three months allowing batch-mates’ bonhomie continuing in North Block. Both finance secretary RS Gujral who also looks after the revenue department and expenditure secretary Sumit Bose are Gopalan’s 1976 IAS batch-mates.
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.


  1. Mrs Paul is not their batchmate. She is a retired 1973 batch Indian Information Service officer now holding the rank of a secretary as FM's Adviser. The caption should be 3 batchmates with FM's Adviser.

    1. The above comment has been made in hurry - wrongly accusing the BoI team of giving inaccurate caption of the photograph. The Caption above gives only the names and does not say that officers in the picture are batchmates. Obviously, the heading of the write-up has been thought of as photo-caption. And nowhere in the write-up, it has been said that Ms. Paul is their batchmate. In the first para itself, only Gujral and Bose have been mentioned as Gopalan's batchmates. So BoI team is doing good job and it must also be said that they are being generous in carrying the criticism which may be weak on facts. (I am referring to the comment below also).

  2. You should check your facts before you write. Often you publish utter nonsense. Gopalan is NOT a Harvard MBA. There are only two Harvard MBAs in the IAS and Gopalan is NOT one of them. Please correct your post.

  3. Dear Reader,
    According to official records in DoPT (executive record sheet), Mr Gopalan is an MBA from Harvard. Subject: Public Administration Management. Anyway, if you are convinced it's a mistake (at times mistakes do crop up in government official documents) kindly contact DoPT and get it changed.
    Also, why don't you kindly share with our readers about the two IAS MBAs from Harvard that you have mentioned.

    1. DOPT website shows him as Master of Public Management and a MBA. Both CANNOT be true at once. He is a MPA that too a mid career mason fellow.

      The only serving Harvard Business School MBA in the IAS is Srivatsa Krishna, IAS, 1994, Karnataka.

      The other who has quit the IAS is Rita Singh, IAS, UP, 1997 who is now with a consulting firm in New York.

    2. Thanks dear reader for your inputs and info. Anyway, Srivatsa Krishna is also a good commentator, both in print and electronic media. Articulate IAS officers do need to come out and present a balanced picture about Indian bureaucracy and governance. Very often even seasoned journalists tend to miss out important points and largely go by people's perception about babudom.

  4. If Mr. Goplan is being given extension after his superannuation then why not others? What is so special about him.There are so many deserving officers like him.This is not fair.