Dilli Ka Babu: Another shake-up

According to sources, the government has started the process of appointing Mr Roy's successor.

As part of a massive mid-level reshuffle, the government has appointed 22 new joint secretaries in different Central ministries and departments. Of these 18 belong to the IAS and the rest from other services. And as we’ve now come to expect in the Modi sarkar, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is not excluded from this latest round of change. Two PMO officers of the1999 batch — V. Sheshadri of Telangana cadre and B. Navnit of Tamil Nadu cadre — will now be joint secretary-ranked officers. They have been working as directors in the PMO.

While Mr Navit has been appointed as JS, for the balance period of his overall five-year Central deputation, Mr Sheshadri’s tenure is until August 2018. Further, officers of the batch have been roped in for the Cabinet Secretariat, the Election Commission and some key ministries, including defence, finance, petroleum and, information and broadcasting. IAS officers Syed Ali Murtaza Rizvi and Aramane Giridhar have been appointed as joint secretaries in the Cabinet Secretariat while Anshu Sinha, a Maharashtra cadre officer, has been appointed as JS in the ministry of information and broadcasting.

New thinking?

The appointment of Urjit R. Patel as Raghuram Rajan’s successor at the Reserve Bank of India has put an end to a period of furious speculation in which names of several notables were thrown up in the painstakingly thorough selection process. By opting for Dr Rajan’s deputy, the government has signalled that it is looking for continuity of the Rajan line of thinking. And that puts the minds of several people at rest! The question being pondered in Dilli, however, is whether Dr Patel’s appointment reflects a new kind of thinking in the Modi sarkar where low-key presence but steady performance is given more weightage than a larger-than-life persona. We may soon find out when the government names the new chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation.

The outgoing chief S.K. Roy, also created a Rajan-like stir, by seeking voluntary retirement in June, two years before his term was to end. In the recent past, there has not been any instance of LIC chairman stepping down before the completion of their tenure, so Mr Roy’s announcement took many by surprise. Interestingly, like Dr Rajan, the LIC chief was also appointed by the Congress-led UPA government. According to sources, the government has started the process of appointing Mr Roy’s successor. As expected those concerned with the matter are tight-lipped, but whispers hint that Mr Roy’s likely successor could either be LIC’s managing director V.K. Sharma or the other managing director Usha Sangwan.

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