Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BoI Power List 2013: Ex-IRS, Chhattisgarh secretary Aman Kumar Singh is India's 5th Most Powerful Bureaucrat

SOUNDS odd, but you do spot highly powerful bureaucrats, that too non-IAS, a thousand miles away from the usual power corridors of Delhi’s North and South Blocks. This Indian Revenue Service officer of 1995 batch went to Raipur on a deputation when Raman Singh took over as the chief minister 10 years ago. He left the Central service mid-way and decided to serve one of India’s youngest states, Chhattisgarh on a full-time basis. Here is why Aman Kumar Singh is India’s 5th most powerful bureaucrat, according to…
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.


  1. Thanks dear readers for sending a few more info about Aman Kumar Singh.
    a) Aman Kumar Singh is a cricket-buff.
    b) He loves to eat at Karim's in Old Delhi whenever he visits the national capital.
    c) His wife Yasmin Singh is a noted Kathak dancer, expounding Raigarh Gharana.
    d) Singh is "eyes and ears" of Raman Singh just like Pulok Chatterji is "eyes and ears" of Sonia Gandhi!

  2. Good to read about someone who is powerful despite being stationed at a state capital. Also, he is not an IAS. Actually, there are powerful bureaucrats among IRS, Railway services etc. But their power is individual-driven, not institution-driven.

  3. its good reading the article. plz add the chronology of achievement by such officers in the article. nishant samaiya irs

  4. How do you select the Most Powerful Bureaucrats' list? I mailed you regarding this. Also, why don't you ask your readers, many of those are government employees and take their opinions?

  5. The selection of BoI Power List is based on the opinion of about 100 people including politicians, bureaucrats and civil society activists who understand the nuances of corridors of power. In 2012, the power list included a seasoned diplomat, a state chief secretary and even a joint secretary. So, the post that a bureaucrat holds, does not determine whether he is powerful or not. Come Monday, watch out for India's 4th Most Powerful Bureaucrat, 2013.

  6. Thanks for this annual exercise undertaken by BOI. Makes lot of sense to know how and why a Bureaucrat is powerful.
    However, not drawing any ref to the honesty/transperancy of top powerful Bureaucrat, why not have a list of top {Honest/efficient/transparent} Bureaucrat of the year.

  7. Thanks for this exercise undertaken by BOI. Makes a lot of sense how and why a Bureaucrat is powerful.

    However, without prejudice to the honesty/transparency of the top powerful Bureaucrats, why not have a annual list of top {Honest/efficient/transparent} Bureaucrat of the year.
    I think people may be interested in such a list and can somewhat neutralise this 'ambition of power' theme prevalent

  8. This boy has worked with me and is a very balanced ,capable and honest officer.Best of luck to him

  9. If any cm is appointing any family members in his State than why media not raising this case.