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Secretary-level changes effected: Aparna goes to Pharma, Chandra as Labour Secretary

By IndianMandarins- 18 Sep 2020
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The NaMo administration on Friday effected Secretary-level changes that include the appointment of Ex-IAS Raghavendra Singh (1983:WB) as Union Secretary, Ministry of Culture on a re-employment basis for a period of one year. Raghavendra Singh will continue to hold the charge of the post of Chief Executive Officer, Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces. His appointment would follow the terms and conditions applicable to re-employed Central Government officers.

Ms S Aparna (lAS:1988:GJ), awaiting posting, was appointed as Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. She will succeed P D Vaghela (lAS:1986:GJ) on his superannuation on 30.09.2020. Prior to this, she worked as Executive Director, World Bank. 
Apurva Chandra (lAS:1988:MH) appointed as Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment; a post that is falling vacant this month with the retirement of Heera Lal Samariya (IAS:1985:TG). Presently, Chandra is working as Special Secretary and Director General Defence Acquisition.
Further, Anand Kumar (lAS:1984:KL), Union Culture Secretary, was abruptly shifted to National Commission for Backward Classes under the Ministry of Social Justice as Secretary. He replaces Ajoy Kumar (lAS:1984:BH:84) retiring on 30.09.2020.

The appointment of all four senior IAS officers offers many things to observe and analyze. 

Having got a fresh lease of career Raghavendra Singh joins the league of Parameshwaran Iyer, PC Mody (CBDT Chairman), V K Yadav (Chairman Railway Board), and alike who were re-appointed on Secretary rank position on a contract-basis. It makes few others hopeful as well. Though Raghavendra Singh is already working as CEO, Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces in the rank of Secretary on a re-employment basis but ahead of West Bengal elections his appointment assumes a little more significance. This also signifies the influence of another West Bengal cadre IAS who was supposed to be a factor in his empanelment from Secretary-equivalent to Secretary-level in Govt of India. Interestingly, Raghavendra Singh is back to the chamber which he left in June 2019 on his retirement. Ex Culture Secretary becomes incumbent Culture Secretary now. 

Further, the lateral shift of Anand Kumar in quick succession is something that has drawn attention as well.  He was laterally shifted from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to the Ministry of Culture in the month of April this year.

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