IRS OFFICER TRAINEES: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu with the 71st batch of Indian Revenue Service officer trainees from National Academy of Direct Taxes, in New Delhi, on March 20

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Monday, March 05, 2018

5 Civil Servants to Watch Out For, 2018: Hasmukh Adhia, KD Tripathi, Amitabh Kant, Aman Singh and Vijay Gokhale

Hasmukh Adhia

HERE is the final list of BoI's 5 Civil Servants to Watch Out For in 2018. Topping the list is Hasmukh Adhia — an accountant, an IAS, a PhD in Yoga, union finance secretary and yes, one of the two key probables to be India’s next cabinet secretary this summer. In BoI’s series of 5 Civil Servants to Watch Out For, 2018, petroleum secretary Kapil Dev Tripathi is No 2. Tripathi is the other probable for the top bureaucrat’s post when incumbent Pradeep Kumar Sinha’s extended term ends on June 13. The other three civil servants to watch out for in 2018, who BoI had profiled in earlier posts, are:
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant (No 3), "strategist-in chief” in Chhattisgarh Aman Kumar Singh (No 4) and foreign secretary and 1981 batch Indian Foreign Service officer Vijay Keshav Gokhale (No 5).  
Hasmukh Adhia (No 1)
Adhia, a 1981 batch Gujarat cadre IAS who joined the union finance ministry in late 2014 first as the financial services secretary, is now the country’s finance secretary handling the revenue department and also overseeing the other departments of the ministry. The bureaucrat, who was the principal secretary to Gujarat CM between 2004 and 2006 (present PM Narendra Modi was the CM then), is influential, hard-working and presently one of the senior-most IAS officers in the country, making him a key contender to be the next union cabinet secretary this summer. Adhia was in the limelight last year for spearheading the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the biggest tax reform in Independent India. 
If present cabinet secretary Sinha is given another three months of extension beyond June 13, the day his extended term ends, there is a likelihood that Adhia will be the next cabinet secretary. In the month of June though, Adhia will not be the senior-most bureaucrat. But the government may still handpick him for the top bureaucrat's post by superseding petroleum secretary and 1980 batch IAS KD Tripathi. Else, if incumbent Sinha is given a three months of extension, and not a 6-month of a one-year-long one, it will become amply clear that Adhia is the government’s next pick. Adhia will turn 60 in November. According to rules, a bureaucrat has be a serving one on the day he or she is appointed as the cabinet secretary, but once appointed, the bureaucrat gets a fixed tenure of two years, usually extended for a year or two.
Adhia has a degree in accountancy and a PhD in Yoga. His published papers include “Inventing government through HRM Strategies” (2007), “My Note to Myself” (2008) among others.
And in case Adhia fails to get the top bureaucrat’s post, it remains to be seen what alternative is given to him. And if he's out of bureaucracy, which is unlikely though, Adhia will return to his first love — yoga and spirituality.  

Kapil Dev Tripathi (No 2)
A 1980 batch IAS, Tripathi is the present petroleum secretary and will technically be the senior-most bureaucrat in June this year when the present cabinet secretary Sinha retires. And if the government decides not to extend Sinha’s tenure any longer, as it was the case of the then foreign secretary S Jaishankar, it’s Tripathi who could be the frontrunner for the top bureaucrat's post. An MSc in physics from Allahabad University, Tripathi belongs to Uttar Pradesh. He is an Assam-Meghalaya cadre IAS.
More About KD Tripathi

Amitabh Kant (No 3)
Kant, the CEO of NITI Aayog and the bureaucrat behind the creation of some of India’s memorable campaigns — Incredible India, Make-in-India etc. was picked out by BoI among the Civil Servants to Watch Out For, 2018, as the year will be a challenging one for him on whether he succeeds in positioning the new think-tank as an agency that cares for rural India.
More About Amitabh Kant

Aman Kumar Singh (No 4)
Singh, a former Indian Revenue Service official and the principal secretary to Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh is also the principal strategist of the state government. As the state will go for the crucial assembly poll later this year with the ruling party fighting 15 years of anti-incumbency, here’s the bureaucrat to watch out for. 
More About Aman Kumar Singh

Vijay Keshav Gokhale (No 5)
Gokhale, a 1981 batch Indian Foreign Service officer and the country’s present foreign secretary, had played a key role in defusing the 73-day-long Doklam crisis in his earlier avatar as India’s ambassador to China (Jan 2016- Oct 17). His challenge during the year, continues to be the same: how to defuse potential tensions in India-China border.

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