Wednesday, June 06, 2012

DIPP’s Saurabh Chandra turns a Harvard student; could move as DEA secretary

Looking Ahead: Saurabh Chandra
DIPP secretary Saurabh Chandra has recently taken a flight to Boston. The reason? The 1978 batch UP cadre IAS is now attending a Harvard crash course on leadership development. The two-week-long course is all about managing political and economic change, an essential quality for a babu to survive, not even succeed, in the current politico-economic environment. And some in the corridors are convinced that Pulokaseth (Pulok Chatterji and AK Seth) have already made up their minds that Chandra would be shifted to North Block…
as secretary, department of economic affairs (DEA) once R Gopalan’s extended tenure ends on July 31. Here are 3 reasons why Chandra is the top contender for making it to the DEA.
a) The convention is that no officer gets the post of DEA secretary straight-away. After becoming a secretary, one needs to serve in a particular department before moving to DEA. It’s true in case of all high-profile DEA secretaries: Ashok Jha, Ashok Chawla, and even R Gopalan. Chandra’s DoPT tenure will then come handy for Pulokaseth who don’t need to break any convention while making the choice.
b) Many were surprised when Chandra was denied the elevation to the post of commerce secretary. He was given the additional charge when Rahul Khullar had joined the telecom regulator Trai as its chairman. Instead, SR Rao was the dark horse, and became commerce secretary demolishing all speculations in Raisina Hills. It’s believed that Chandra was not given commerce because his movement to North-Block was already planned.
c) Sending a secretary-level officer for a crash-course in a foreign university is a very rare phenomenon. The very reason why Chandra was selected to do a Harvard course, that too on managing political and economic change, indicates there is something bigger for him. After all, Chandra will retire only in April 2015, and there is enough headroom for the selectors to maneuver.


  1. Very logical argument. But may prove wrong. No one speculated SR Rao would be commerce secretary. But he was made so

  2. Are there others who went with him ?

  3. Its sure he ll be in finance either its EA or any other deptt.

  4. So this might be the right time to do an anonymous survey of his colleagues and juniors: to see if he imbibed anything from the course and actually developed the requisite leadership qualities. Going by his past record of team-building, you might find some interesting anecdotes.