|Secretaries at 7 RCR (File photo)|
the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, the PM-headed panel which decides the appointments of joint secretaries and above, has in the last few months made announcement of several appointments even a month before the actual vacancies arose. For example, the announcement of the appointment of 1981 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Rita A Teaotia as commerce secretary was made on June 2 whereas she was to take charge only after Rajeev Kher’s retirement on June 30. Similarly, who would be MSME secretary in place of 1977 batch Jammu and Kashmir cadre IAS Madhav Lal was known almost a month ago.
In that backdrop, is it not surprising that an important ministry like tourism has been handled by culture secretary on an adhoc manner since the retirement of its full-time secretary Lalit Panwar on July 31? Similarly, 1979 batch Odisha cadre IAS and rural development secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra has been assigned additional charge of post of secretary in the department of land resources for the last two weeks. Interestingly, a day before the retirement of the secretaries in those two departments -- tourism and land resources-- no one including senior bureaucrats in those two departments had any clue who would be the successors. Then the additional charges were entrusted to secretaries of other departments only in the afternoon of July 31, the day those two secretaries had retired.
Meanwhile, telecom secretary and 1980 batch IAS Rakesh Garg was given additional charge of post of secretary in the department of electronics and IT in place of RS Sharma, who is now the TRAI chief.
Then, there were confusions on who would take the additional responsibility of the post of agriculture secretary when incumbent Siraj Hussain goes on leave for seven days, i.e. between August 15 and 23. On Tuesday, an announcement was made saying animal husbandry secretary Ashok K Angurana would take the additional responsibility during that week. But on the following day, i.e. Wednesday, the government modified its own order and said food and public distribution secretary and 1981 batch IAS Vrinda Sarup, and not Angurana, will to hold additional charge of the post of agriculture secretary during Hussain’s seven-day-long leave.
A sample of indecision?