Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Will Saurabh Chandra be a full-fledged commerce secretary; what’s about DEA?

THE announcement that 1978 batch UP cadre IAS and DIPP secretary Saurabh Chandra will hold additional charge of commerce department could be interpreted in two ways. Is it yet another instance of government’s adhocism? Or it should be seen as a breather for principal secretary to PM Pulok Chatterji and cabinet secretary Ajit K Seth to sit down together with a list of impending vacancies and possible contenders, and mark those in one go. But who will then be commerce secretary, one of the few departments which the government usually hands over to…
a high performer or even a star bureaucrat. Whether it was GK Pillai or Rahul Khullar, commerce department was usually given to outstanding officers. When Rahul Khullar was expected to take up an assignment in Brussels two months ago, then DIPP secretary PK Chaudhery, financial services secretary DK Mittal (both 1977 batch) and 1978 batch’s senior most officer Jawed Usmani were the main contenders. But look at how things have changed in less than two months. Chaudhery moved to Chandigarh as chief secretary of Haryana and Samajwadi Party under Akhilesh Yadav poached Usmani, known to be Pulok Chatterji’s right-hand man as chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh. And Mittal’s case of getting a better ministry is turning weaker by every passing day as he is retiring in January, 2013. No important ministry is given to an officer who has less than a year in service.
In July, R Gopalan’s extended tenure as DEA secretary would also come to an end allowing government to weigh in strength and weaknesses of probable candidates for two key departments, commerce and DEA. The appointments of the two posts may not take place simultaneously, but by the time commerce secretary is picked up, the Pulokaseth (Pulok Chatterji and AK Seth) would have decided who would be next DEA secretary under finance ministry. Will Saurabh Chandra be given commerce and divest the DIPP? In that case who will be DIPP secretary? Dr Sutanu Behuria, 1976 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IAS with prior experiences in commerce ministry may spring a surprise. Will Rajasthan cadre IAS Arvind Mayaram be the DEA secretary then? The countdown begins.

Action and Appointments
a) The Central government has approved the inter-cadre deputation of Mr Cholleti Prabhakar, a 2000 batch AGMUT cadre IAS from AGMUT cadre to Andhra Pradesh cadre for a period of three years with effect from the date of his reporting for duty.
b) PR Acharya, a 1985 batch Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer, presently working as Chief Financial Officer (joint secretary level) in the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has been appointed as Finance Member (joint secretary level) in the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
c) The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved grant the grade of additional director general/ equivalent level posts to K Durga Prasad, a 1981 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IPS. He is now Director, Special Protection Group (SPG).

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