India: Rajiv Gauba could be new Cabinet Secretary, new Defence Secretary also on anvil

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Rajiv Gauba. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi:  Even as all eyes are fixated on Cabinet formation and who will get what, given the nature of Delhis SPM laden air, major moves are expected in the bureaucracy. For starters, a new Cabinet Secretary is on the anvil, given that incumbent P.K. Sinhas extended tenure comes to an end in mid June.

He had got a second extension of one year in June last. This way he would have served for four years like his immediate predecessor Ajit Seth who too served for four years.

In parallel and almost immediately, a new Defence Secretary has to be appointed as early as May 30. Some of these decisions will have to be taken even before the swearing in ceremony and allocation of portfolios on May 30 at 7 p.m.

India’s security establishment — Intelligence Bureau and RAW — also need new bosses given that their extensions end on May 29 and May 30.

For the Defence Secretary’s position, several names are doing the rounds — Defence Production Secretary Ajay Kumar, Banking Secretary Rajeev Kumar, Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra and Power Secretary Ajay Bhalla. One of the key positions in the bureaucratic main frame, Defence Secretary is one of the big four which gets a fixed two year term.

For the Cabinet Secretary’s job, right now there is only one name doing the rounds — Home Secretary — Rajiv Gauba, a 1982 Jharkhand cadre officer. He is expected to take over as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) on June 1 to familiarise himself with the workings of the Cabinet Secretariat.

Last week Pradeep Singh Kharola, secretary civil aviation was given additional charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change from May 17 to 28 during the absence of Mishra. But these are temporary or ad hoc appointments when another top level secretary takes a leave of absence or is ill or is pursuing some family commitment.

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