BoI Power List, 2013, the fifth edition of spotting India’s most powerful bureaucrats. BoI had first published its Power List in 2009 and has continued to do so annually in August-September.
Singh is a retired IRS officer, and continues to be a secretary to chief minister Raman Singh on a contract basis. In the state government, he is the man looking after chief minister’s public relations, but that’s not why he is powerful in the state. Many senior IAS officers in the state acknowledge that Singh is more powerful than them, as he is CM’s political points-person as well. “He is like CM sir’s family man. He is powerful as he is the link between the government and the party,” says an official who has seen the rise and rise of Aman Kumar Singh. As Singh is on a contract, he is well within the law to be CM’s political man, the official adds. When Singh became a secretary on a contract basis over three years ago, many compared his appointment with that of RV Shahi, a technocrat who was made Union power secretary during the NDA and UPA-I.
Singh is technologically suave, and had earlier handled the state’s IT department as well.
When Mayawati was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, one of her close confidantes, Shashank Shekhar Singh, was given a unique post called cabinet secretary where he had enjoyed the rank of a cabinet minister. Shashank Shekhar Singh, a former pilot who had flown a number of past UP chief ministers including VP Singh and ND Tiwari, became a director of state civil aviation and then moved up the ladder to become principal secretary to CM for successive chief ministers. Raman Singh, however, has not made Aman Kumar Singh a principal secretary so as to keep any possible controversy at bay.
Currently, Gautam Sanyal is the only other high-powered non-IAS bureaucrat who has a major say in the affairs of a state government. Sanyal, a retired Central secretariat service officer, is secretary to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and is definitely Didi’s most trusted bureaucrat.
Check out in the next few days who are the other four bureaucrats featuring in BoI Power List, 2013.