New Delhi: The Modi government Friday made key appointments to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and appointed as many as 11 non-IAS officers as joint secretaries in the third reshuffle of civil servants amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
According to an order issued by the appointments committee of the Cabinet, S. Gopalakrishnan, a 1991-batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, has been appointed as additional secretary to the PMO. Gopalakrishnan, an electrical engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and a postgraduate from the Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru (IIM-B), earlier served as additional secretary in the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
C. Sridhar, a Bihar-cadre IAS officer of the 2001 batch, has been appointed as joint secretary in the PMO. Sridhar currently serves as director in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), the IAS training ground.
Meanwhile, Meera Mohanty, a 2005-batch IAS officer of the Himachal Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as director in the PMO.
The appointments committee has also picked Arun Singhal, an IAS officer of the 1987 batch, Uttar Pradesh cadre, as chief executive officer for the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India’s apex food standards watchdog, in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Singhal is currently serving as the special secretary in the Department of Health & Family Welfare.
Non-IAS joint secretaries appointed
The cabinet appointments committee, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also includes Home Minister Amit Shah, tweaked a 12 May order appointing Rajendra Kumar, an IAS officer of the 1992 batch from the Tamil Nadu cadre, as director general of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (under the Ministry of Labour & Employment). He has now been appointed as additional secretary in the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
Similarly, Subir Mallick, who is currently serving as additional financial adviser and joint secretary in the Ministry of Defence (finance section), was appointed as additional secretary and financial adviser for the Department of Agricultural Research and Education in the 12 May order.
The government has now retained him in the Ministry of Defence (finance), and upgraded his post to the rank of additional secretary.
In all, the reshuffle has resulted in the appointment of 16 joint secretaries — 11 of whom are from services other than the IAS.
Surendra Prasad Yadav, an Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer of the 1996 batch from the West Bengal cadre, has been appointed joint secretary in the Department of Defence Production.
Manish Tiwari, an officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), 1995 batch, has been appointed as joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Ateesh Kumar Singh, another officer of the IRTS, has been appointed as joint secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Himabindu Mudumbai, a 1999-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS), has been appointed to the Department of Revenue as joint secretary.
ThePrint has earlier reported that the Modi government has increasingly sought to empanel non-IAS officers at senior positions in the government.
“It is a matter of great joy for us that other services, including ours is being increasingly recognised by the government,” said a railway service officer in reaction to the latest reshuffle. “All of us get selected into the government through the same exam…It was about time that the hierarchy of the IAS was broken.”
Last year, ThePrint reported that the Indian railway services has been the biggest beneficiary of the Modi government’s bid to break the stranglehold of the IAS.