Tuesday, June 26, 2012

With Pranab Mukherjee resigning as FM, PMO is back in North Block

Senior officials giving farewell to Pranab Mukherjee on July25
WITH Congress’ Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee resigning as finance minister today, Prime Minister’s Office will have a major foothold in North Block. For the last three years, Cabinet secretariat and PMO did not interfere much in affairs of the finance ministry mainly because of the stature Mukherjee enjoyed both in government and the Congress Party. But things will change now. Here are 5 likely changes that will emerge after Mukherjee’s exit...
a) On bureaucrat’s appointments in North Block, Pulokaseth (Pulok Chatterjee and Ajit K Seth) will have the final say. During Mukherjee’s innings, he picked and chose the men he wanted. And in the process, his adviser Omita Paul became a major power centre.
b) North Block babus will now be frequent visitors to South Block which is just across the road. Most of the economic policies and even economic fire-fighting will be done in PMO.
c) The power and clout of the taxmen will reduce. The PM and his advisers will however have be ultra-cautious of not demoralizing the IRS lot as the government desperately tries to achieve its revenue target to fulfill its aam aadmi agenda.
d) For corporate India, it will be a mixed bag. India Inc is expecting big-bang reforms but what’s if nothing much happens under the same coalition politics. Who will they turn to? Earlier, if they were unhappy with FM, they wrote open letters to PM!
e) Regular visitors to finance ministry will miss the old white ambassador car parked just in front of the gate near the X-ray machine. It used to be an indication for the TV crew that Pranab babu was inside.

A coffee table book on customs
A coffee table book on Indian Customs is being prepared as a part of the celebrations to mark 50 years of Customs Act, 1962. It will include articles, visuals, anecdotes of officers and also showcase the history and activities of CBEC.

Action and Appointments
a) Prof David R Syiemlieh, ex-Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University located at Doimukh in Arunachal Pradesh took oath as Member, UPSC on Monday. Prof Syiemlieh had earlier served as lecturer at St Edmund’s College, Shillong and professor of history in North Eastern Hill University in Shillong. He was awarded Senior Fulbright Fellowship in 1999.

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