Dilip Cherian | The wait continues for a new defence production secy

The delay in the appointment did raise eyebrows in babu circles, but the speculation will surely end now

More than three months after defence production secretary Raj Kumar (Dilli Ka Babu, Dec. 2, 2021) was prematurely repatriated to his parent state of Gujarat, the position is still vacant. Some observers believed that the position has not been filled since the government was keeping it for a particular IAS officer who may be brought to the Centre after the Assembly elections.

The polls are concluded now. But the mystery persists. At that time, it was speculated that Raj Kumar was sent back to Gujarat at the request of the state government, which has shown interest in appointing him as the next chief secretary. Meanwhile, the state government is in no hurry to accommodate Raj Kumar in Gandhinagar and the Centre is waiting for the poll results to come in before announcing the babu’s successor, and defence secretary Ajay Kumar continues to hold additional charge of this crucial department. But with every passing day speculation about this incoming defence babu, for whom the position has been kept vacant for several weeks, continues to grow.

Meanwhile, a sectoral group of secretaries (SGOS) recently made a presentation to Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba detailing that India should aim at raising defence production to $150 billion by 2047, and target $30 billion in exports annually. That’s ambitious, indeed, and having the right person for this task is even more crucial.

J&K gets more posts from AGMUT cadre

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has formally allocated 189 posts of IAS, IPS and IFoS of the AGMUT cadre to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. The move. The amended service rules were notified by P.K. Tripathi, secretary DoPT, and will bring Jammu & Kashmir at par with other Union Territories.

According to the notifications, 65 senior duty posts of AGMUT cadre have been allotted to Jammu and Kashmir in Indian Administrative Services, 70 in Indian Police Services and 58 in Indian Forest Services. J&K will have one post of chief secretary, six principal secretaries, one chairman, special tribunal, one principal secretary to governor, chief electoral officer (CEO), one principal resident commissioner, nine commissioner secretaries, two divisional commissioners and 20 deputy commissioners among others.

Sources have informed DKB that several IAS and IPS officers from erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir cadre, now merged into AGMUT, are posted in Ladakh. Presently, only 60 IAS and 64 IPS officers are part of Jammu and Kashmir, including those on deputation to the Centre and Union Territory of Ladakh.

Ex-babu to head insurance regulator

Senior babus, at least some of them, continue to make themselves useful to the Narendra Modi sarkar even after retiring from service. Former finance secretary Debasish Panda is the new chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) nearly 10 months after the term of S.C. Khuntia ended. The delay in the appointment did raise eyebrows in babu circles, but the speculation will surely end now.

Also, in another decision, the government has appointed former civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola as the new chairman of the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for a three-year tenure. He will be overseeing the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for the selection to Group C and Group D posts in all central government establishments. The agency was created in 2020 to organise CET to shortlist candidates who were earlier selected by the Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. The agency will eliminate the multiple recruitment examinations and also boost transparency.

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