Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cabinet secretary Ajit K Seth gets 1 year extension; what worked in his favour

Seth at a textile function (File Photo)
THERE was no surprise element or wow factor when appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC) has decided to give one-year-extension to cabinet secretary and 1974 batch UP cadre IAS Ajit Kumar Seth. The low-profile bureaucrat, who studied chemistry in St Stephen’s college in early 1970s, has maintained an excellent rapport with Pulok Chatterji, the man who matters in the corridors. Understandably, the Prime Minister is averse to…experimenting with a new man to head India’s bureaucracy in this election year, and particularly when PM himself is going through a rough political phase in the wake of two of his closest cabinet colleagues, Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal, getting sacked amid controversies.
As the cabinet secretary during the last two years, Seth has not hogged media limelight for any wrong or right reasons. But from managing the Baba Ramdev agitation to effectively coordinating with top bureaucrats and PSU honchos, Seth has quietly achieved many a target. And no wonder, he has now become the third cabinet secretary in a row to get at least one year extension, the other two being BK Chaturvedi and KM Chandrasekhar. Whereas Chaturvedi who is now a Member in Planning Commission got one year extension as cabinet secretary during UPA-I, Chandrasekhar got two extensions causing hurt-burns to a number of cabinet secretary hopefuls including Sudha Pillai and M Ramachandran, both his juniors.
For Seth, there was no competition as such. Yet, there were gossips in corridors that DoPT secretary and UP cadre IAS PK Misra could be a dark horse dislodging Seth.
When Seth was appointed for this coveted post two years ago, BoI wrote how no one had a bet on this UP bureaucrat to be cabinet secretary even though he was already an insider in the cabinet secretariat as secretary, co-ordination, and was one of the select bureaucrats deployed by the Prime Minister to tide over the problems in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, 2010. “For six long years, Seth -- known for his honesty and meticulous work -- remained resident commissioner in UP Bhawan. Finally, he got a break when he was appointed as secretary, coordination and public grievances in cabinet secretariat in January, 2009. And the rest is history now,” BoI wrote two year ago.
Apart from being a post-graduate in chemistry, Seth has a master’s degree in development finance from Britain’s University of Birmingham. Early in his career, Seth had worked in the ministry of textile, and one of his highly significant assignments was the First Secretary’s position in Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations at Geneva, Switzerland in 1980s.

1 comment:

  1. Seth sir played a key role in the last Civil Services Day. He is also working towards improving the annual appraisal (APAR) of civil servants. Congratulations.