Rumours are flying fast and furious about who’ll be the next chief secretary of Telangana.
There was a smooth transition at the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) when Sushil Chandra, 1980 batch IRS-IT officer, took charge as chairman, replacing Rani Singh Nair who had retired from service on Monday. Since December 2015, Mr Chandra was serving as member (investigation) in CBDT, considered to be the most significant post in the board.
However, while the CBDT has got a new chairman, sources point out that some ministries and departments such as the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities and the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) have no full-fledged secretaries as yet. The government has given additional charge to secretaries of other ministries. For example, G. Latha Krishna Rao, 1982 batch Karnataka cadre IAS and secretary in department of social justice, has been assigned additional charge of post of secretary in the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities. Similarly, Pradeep K. Pujari, 1981 batch Gujarat cadre IAS and power ministry’s secretary, has been given additional charge of the post of secretary in the MNRE.
Surely it cannot be due to lack of suitable officers. Or is it?
Culture and diplomacy
Senior IFS officer Amarendra Khatua, who is currently director-general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), has just been assigned an additional designation as secretary, special assignments in the ministry of external affairs. He will hold this post until his retirement on May 31, 2017. Many infer this as a sign of the government’s confidence in the diplomat’s many abilities and his impeccable track record.
A quiet but immensely focused career diplomat who had earlier served as ambassador of India to Argentina, the 1981-batch IFS officer also held trade and economic positions at Indian missions in Madrid, Mexico City, Karachi, Moscow and New York.
For those who know him, one of the high points of his career was his appointment as special envoy to South Sudan and Sudan to broker peace between the two warring nations. Prior to his appointment in ICCR, he was dean in the Foreign Service Institute, the Delhi-based academic institute that imparts the young officer-trainees the first lessons on diplomacy. After all, culture and diplomacy go hand in hand!
Guessing game in Telangana
Rumours are flying fast and furious about who’ll be the next chief secretary of Telangana. While there is no dearth of candidates and their supporters, the current incumbent Rajiv Sharma is still in the race, despite two three-month extensions after his retirement.
Currently, besides Mr Sharma, three names are doing rounds in official circles. Shekhar Prasad (SP) Singh, special chief secretary of panchayat raj and rural development department, Shailendra Kumar (SK) Joshi, special chief secretary of irrigation department, and Binoy Kumar, 1983-batch officer, currently working in the ministry of commerce and industry on Central deputation, are said to be frontrunners for the coveted post. Another senior IAS officer Pradeep Chandra, a 1982-batch officer, who is going to retire in December, is also in the race.
But there are pros and cons with each prospective candidate and the government seems to be in no hurry to decide. Meanwhile murmurs are growing that Mr Sharma may get an unprecedented third extension beginning December 1. Mr Sharma is the first chief secretary of Telangana and his bid for another extension hangs on what Prime Minister Narendra Modi decides. While unprecedented, it is not entirely unlikely, which has fuelled talks that Mr Sharma could continue as chief secretary.