The central government made a clutch of key appointments in the bureaucracy on Saturday evening, naming Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chief Ajay Bhushan Pandey as revenue secretary and Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash as an additional secretary in the telecom department.
In another order also issued on Saturday evening, Sanjay Kumar Mishra, a 1984 batch Indian Revenue Service officer who was serving as the interim director of the Enforcement Directorate, the agency that investigates money laundering and breaches of foreign exchange rules, was confirmed as its director for two years. The government also made other transfers and appointments. These include the appointment of Sumanta Chaudhuri as coal secretary, Upma Chawdhry as secretary of youth affairs and Yogendra Tripathy as tourism secretary.
The appointments of Pandey and Prakash were cleared by the appointments committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met additional principal secretary PK Misra at 8 pm on Friday and signed off on the orders.
Pandey will continue to hold charge of the UIDAI and as chairman of the Goods and Services Tax Network “until further orders” the government order read. Pandey is a Maharashtra cadre 1984 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service.
He replaces Hasmukh Adhia, whose November 30 retirement was confirmed by finance minister Arun Jaitley in a blog post that also thanked Adhia for being a “highly competent, disciplined, no-nonsense civil servant” who helped in implementing reforms such as the rollout of the goods and services tax.
The other contender for the post of revenue secretary, Girish Chandra Murmu, was appointed as an officer on special duty in the department of expenditure. He will take over as the secretary of the department of expenditure when the current secretary, AN Jha, retires. Murmu, a 1985 batch Gujarat cadre officer, is currently posted as special secretary in the department of revenue.
Prakash, a 1986 batch IAS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, who has earlier served as additional secretary and financial adviser in the rural development ministry, will fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of N Sivasailam as special secretary (logistics), department of commerce.
In February this year, Prakash alleged that some MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) assaulted him at a midnight meeting in the presence of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The allegations snowballed into a tense standoff between Delhi’s bureaucracy, particularly IAS officers posted in the city government, and the political executive. On February 28, officers held a candlelight march to protest against the alleged assault, drawing a sharp attack from Kejriwal, who accused the officers of not cooperating with ministers.
Things came to a head on June 11, when Kejriwal and three of his ministers, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain, started an unprecedented sit-in protest at the Lieutenant Governor’s house and refused to leave until the officers promised to cooperate.
The impasse ended nine days later when the IAS officers’ association assured the CM that they would attend meetings with ministers provided they were assured of their safety. Delhi police also filed a charge sheet in the case against the CM, deputy CM Sisodia and other AAP leaders. The AAP has called the charge sheet bogus and termed it a ply by the Centre to launch a witchhunt against its leaders. – Hindustan Times