Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
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Modi govt creates new position to accommodate ex-IAS officer P.K. Sinha in PMO

P.K. Mishra is expected to continue the work he was doing as additional principal secretary to the PM — taking key calls in bureaucratic functioning.

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government Wednesday created a new position of principal advisor to the prime minister to accommodate former cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha into the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The government simultaneously appointed P.K. Mishra, senior civil servant and former additional principal secretary to the PM, as the principal secretary to Modi.

Mishra, a 1972-batch officer, is five years senior to 1977-batch’s Sinha in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

It is expected that Mishra, who has been crucial in taking key calls in bureaucratic functioning as well as appointments, would continue doing similar work as the principal secretary, and Sinha would take over policy matters in the PMO that Nripendra Misra had been taking care of.

As of now, there is no clarity over the status of the principal advisor vis-à-vis the principal secretary since the position is newly created.

Earlier this year, the Modi government had given cabinet rank to Mishra after coming back to power.

While the hierarchy between the two positions is not clear yet, since Mishra already has cabinet rank, the most that could happen is for Sinha to be accorded cabinet rank too — establishing parity between the two positions, explained a senior civil servant who didn’t want to be named.

“The status of the two would depend essentially on their work distribution,” the civil servant added.

“Earlier, the principal secretary was seen as the principal advisor to the PM as well… So, now that there are separate positions of secretary and advisor, we will have to wait and see how the PM allocates the work.”

Other advisors

While the position of principal advisor to the PM is new, there have been several other advisors to the PM in specific domains.

In the present government, there is a national security advisor (NSA), chief economic advisor and principal scientific advisor.

However, what makes these positions different from the newly-created position is that technically these three are advisors to the Government of India and not to the PM.

Moreover, there is no parity of rank among these positions since only NSA Ajit Doval has cabinet rank.

Also read: Why Modi has created a new ‘super power centre’ in his PMO


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