COMMERCE secretary and 1981 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Rita Teaotia has been on leave for over a fortnight and the government has given additional charge of the post of commerce secretary to two secretaries — first to DIPP secretary Ramesh Abhishek for a period between December 17, 2016 and December 25, 2016, and then to…
So, in the month of December, three secretaries have been handling the department of commerce —Teaotia herself till December 16, and then by Ramesh Abhishek and Girish Shankar.
As the DoPT released two orders of additional assignments of the post of commerce secretary during Teaotia’s absence on leave, no reason was cited why the charge was given to two secretaries. Usually, when the commerce secretary is on leave, the additional charge is given to the secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), as both commerce and DIPP are allied departments; and have the same minister. Also, both are housed in the same building —Udyog Bhawan.
But heavy industry secretary sits in the CGO complex located in Lodhi Road, and thus he has to travel several kilometres to Udyog Bhawan to attend the commerce secretary’s office. Possibly, DIPP secretary Abhishek himself is on leave after December 27, something which forced the personnel ministry to assign the responsibility to the heavy industry secretary post December 27.
But at the end, the commerce department will see three secretaries at the helm in a single month. Unusual yes, but it's well within rules.