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Nripendra Misra steps down as PS to PM Modi, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha moves into PMO

Modi government has provided no reason for Nripendra Misra stepping down. He too has revealed little.

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New Delhi: Nripendra Misra, the principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has stepped down Friday evening. He expressed his intention “to be relieved of his assignment”, said an official press release. The Prime Minister has requested him to continue for two weeks, it added.

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha, whose third extension ended Friday, has now been appointed officer on special duty in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I am in a meeting. Anyway, we can’t discuss these things,” Nripendra Misra told ThePrint, when contacted

Misra, 74, said in a statement later that it was his privilege to serve the country under the Prime Minister and that he enjoyed working “committing my every hour and thought for more than five years towards this satisfying journey”.

“It is now time for me to move on even as I remain devoted to public causes and national interests,” he added.

It was not clear whether Sinha would step into Nripendra Misra’s shoes or P.K. Misra, additional principal secretary to the Prime Minister, would take up his role. If the latter becomes the Principal Secretary, Sinha is likely to succeed him as additional PS.

In a Twitter post, the Prime Minister said Misra had taught him a lot when he was new to Delhi in 2014, and his guidance has since been “extremely valuable”. He also praised him for his “indelible contribution” to the country.

Decision a surprise

Misra’s decision to step down has surprised many in the senior bureaucracy as it was only on 30 May, after the Modi government came to power for the second term, that he was reappointed and given cabinet rank. His post was equivalent to the Minister of State earlier.

Government sources said Misra was given a cabinet rank to balance the hierarchical structure after former foreign secretary S. Jaishankar was given a cabinet berth on his being made the external affairs minister in May.

In the over five years that Misra was in the PMO, he ended up becoming one of the most trusted aides of Prime Minister Modi. He was the PMO’s point-person who held high-level meetings to sort out issues involving different ministries, especially related to infrastructure.

One of the most powerful bureaucrats in the present government, Misra, a 1967-batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer, retired as TRAI chairman in 2009. Prior to this, he had also held the position of telecom secretary.

Misra’s successor P.K. Sinha was given a third extension as cabinet secretary, which ended Friday. Home Secretary Rajib Gauba will take over as the new cabinet secretary.

Also read: Modi’s principal secy was CBI’s star witness in 2G case. But court ignored his testimony


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