New Delhi: In a major bureaucratic reshuffle Monday, former Punjab chief secretary Vini Mahajan was appointed as secretary in the Centre’s Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), which is steering the Modi government’s flagship ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ scheme.
In September this year, Mahajan was replaced as the state chief secretary after Charanjit Singh Channi took over as Punjab chief minister and made several top-level changes in the administrative set-up.
Mahajan has now replaced Pankaj Kumar, who was holding the additional charge of DDWS in the Ministry of Jal Shakti. Kumar is currently serving as the water secretary.
On Monday, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) cleared nine secretary-level appointments necessitated by retirements of incumbent secretaries, and six promotions as special secretaries, among other changes.
The government moved another top civil servant, Bharat Lal, who was serving as additional secretary in DDWS. He has now been appointed as secretary to the anti-corruption watchdog, Lokpal.
Lal, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is behind the expeditious implementation of the Har Ghar Nal Se Jal programme since its launch in August 2019. In a short period of over two years, 5.47 crore of the total 19 crore rural households have been provided with functional tap water connection.
In other secretary-level appointments cleared by the ACC, consumer affairs secretary Leena Nandan was shifted to the environment ministry to replace R.P. Gupta, who will retire on 31 December.
Rohit Kumar Singh, special secretary in the culture ministry, will take over as the consumer affairs secretary. In the culture ministry, Singh was spearheading the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ programme, launched to mark 75 years of India’s Independence.
Sanjay Kumar Singh, a 1987-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, who was in the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) and Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare (DPPW), has been appointed as steel secretary.
DARPG special secretary V. Srinivas will replace Singh and take over as the new DARPG and DPPW secretary.
Manoj Joshi, a 1989-batch Kerala cadre IAS officer, will take over as the housing and urban affairs secretary after the incumbent D.S. Mishra retires on 31 December. Joshi is currently Officer on Special Duty in the ministry.
Rajeev Ranjan, a 1989-batch MP cadre IAS officer who was serving as special secretary in the Department of Expenditure in the Union finance ministry, has been promoted as secretary, National Commission for Backward Classes.
Another finance ministry officer, Pankaj Jain, a 1990-batch Manipur cadre IAS who was serving as additional secretary in the Department of Financial Services, has been appointed as the petroleum secretary.
On Monday, the ACC also promoted four additional secretaries as special secretaries. This included 1990-batch Kerala cadre IAS Alkesh Kumar Sharma, who was appointed special secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, and Annie George Mathew, a 1988-batch Indian Accounts and Audit Service officer as special secretary in the Department of Expenditure.
The positions of two officers were also upgraded to the rank and pay of a secretary.
Sanjay Malhotra, a 1990-batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, was promoted as chairman and managing director, REC Ltd, Ministry of Power, in the rank and pay of secretary.
Manoj Ahuja, another 1990-batch Odisha cadre IAS officer, was promoted as chairman, Central Board of Secondary Education, Ministry of Education.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)