New Delhi: Five months after he retired as secretary to the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Tarun Kapoor, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Himachal Pradesh cadre, was appointed adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday.
Apart from Kapoor, two serving IAS officers have also been inducted into the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Moreover, a senior woman IAS officer has been promoted as secretary to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
Kapoor was known as “Modi’s man” during the pandemic, as he worked relentlessly to design and implement the free LPG cylinders-to-households scheme, a senior IAS officer who worked in the petroleum and natural gas ministry told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity.
He also worked on another of the PM’s pet projects — development of city gas distribution networks under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) Act, 2006 — according to another senior IAS officer who did not wish to be named.
“He has been close to the PM as a low-profile and old-school officer, whose notes and ideas never go wrong,” the second officer added.
The position of PM’s adviser had fallen vacant in February, after retired IAS officer Bhaskar Khulbe’s term ended.
Kapoor has previously served as vice-chairman in the Union ministries of housing and urban affairs as well as rural development between 2018 and 2021. He was joint secretary in the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy between 2011 and 2016. Hence, he was part of Modi’s predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh’s government as well.
Political circles are abuzz with speculation that the appointment of Kapoor — who hails from Himachal Pradesh and has also worked in the state — could be useful for the PM to address issues plaguing the state before assembly polls later this year.
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Two new additional secretaries
Hari Ranjan Rao, a 1994-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, and Atish Chandra, also a 1994-batch IAS officer but from the Bihar cadre, have also been elevated to the PMO as additional secretaries by the Union cabinet’s appointment committee.
Rao is currently administrator in the Universal Services Obligation Fund, Department of Telecommunications (DoT). He also served as joint secretary and additional secretary in the department between 2020 and 2022.
At present, Chandra is chairman and managing director in the Food Corporation of India. He has also worked in the agriculture and food and supplies ministries as joint secretary and additional secretary respectively, between 2018 and 2022.
Third woman IAS officer to become DoPT secy
Radha Chauhan, a 1988-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as DoPT secretary. She replaces Pradip Kumar Tripathi, a 1987-batch officer of Jammu & Kashmir cadre, who has been promoted to the post of secretary (coordination) in the Cabinet Secretariat.
Significantly, Chauhan is the third woman IAS officer to become DoPT secretary since 1970. In 2012, Alka Sirohi held this post in the Manmohan Singh government, while P.P. Trivedi was appointed in 1986 in the Rajiv Gandhi government.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)
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