Sunday, February 01, 2015

Mega Secretary Reshuffle: Lov Verma shifted out health ministry; Gauri Kumar moved into cabinet secretariat

Lov Verma during a blood donation camp (File photo)
IN THE biggest secretary-ranked reshuffle after Narendra Modi government assumed charge in May, the Centre on Saturday transferred as many as seven IAS officers and appointed retired IAS of 1977 batch DK Mittal as Mission Director, Direct Benefits Transfer Scheme for three months. The highlight of the Saturday’s reshuffle, however, was the transfer (or demotion?) of health secretary and 1978 batch IAS Lov Verma to the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities. Labour secretary and 1979 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Gauri Kumar has been appointed as secretary, co-ordination in cabinet secretariat fuelling speculations whether she will be the deputy to…
current finance secretary Rajiv Mehrishi in the event of his appointment as the next cabinet secretary, or whether Ms Kumar herself could be made the next cabinet secretary. In that case, she will supersede officers belonging to 1977 and 1978 batch, and more importantly, will be India's first woman cabinet secretary. Let’s now look at the gainers and losers in this secretary-level reshuffle.
Clearly, health secretary Lov Verma was the biggest loser in Saturday’s reshuffle. Verma, a 1978 batch IAS of UP cadre, has been in the health ministry for the last two years, but according to sources, current health minister and one of the influential cabinet ministers, JP Nadda, was not so happy with Verma as his secretary. Verma has now been shifted to a not-so-significant department --- the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Now, DoPT's establishment officer and special secretary Bhanu Pratap Sharma has been appointed as new health secretary. Sharma is a 1981 batch Bihar cadre IAS officer. Sharma’s long innings as joint secretary in the health ministry (from October 2001 to January 2007) helped him clinching the key secretary position. Sharma is an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur.
Another notable mention in the reshuffle is labour secretary and 1979 batch IAS Gauri Kumar's appointment in the cabinet secretariat. This Gujarat cadre IAS will now be the secretary, co-ordination in cabinet secretariat fuelling speculations that she could be the dark horse in the race for the next cabinet secretary. Incumbent cabinet secretary Ajit K Seth’s extended term ends in June this year.
Meanwhile, urban development secretary and 1980 batch IAS Shankar Agarwal has been appointed as secretary in the ministry of labour and employment in place of Gauri Kumar.
Anita Agnihotri, 1980 batch Odisha cadre IAS and HUPA secretary, has been appointed as secretary in the department of social justice and empowerment. In fact, she is a noted Bengali writer and poet. Jara Bhalobesechhilo (Those Who Had Known Love) is one of her popular novels. She has so far written over 100 short stories capturing images of anger, hardship, love and compassion.
Nandita Chatterjee, 1980 batch West Bengal cadre IAS, has been brought in as secretary, ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation (HUPA). Chatterjee, who was empanelled as union secretary earlier this month, has been the member secretary in the National Commission for Women since December 2013. Earlier, she took foreign posting in World Health Organisation and UNDP. She will retire in the month of June 2017.
Meanwhile, commerce ministry's special secretary and 1981 batch Haryana cadre IAS Madhusudhan Prasad has been appointed as urban development secretary. A post-graduate in economics, Prasad had earlier experience in working in department of economic affairs under the finance ministry handling the Budget division. He will retire in March, 2016.

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't Sarla Grewal the first woman CabSec??