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Team PMO in NaMo administration 2.0: Continuity Vs Disruption

By IndianMandarins- 29 May 2019


While addressing the Parliament the outgoing Prime Minister and Prime Minister­ designate Narendra Modi suggested the newly elected MPs and his partymen to abstain from speculations over portfolio allocation. But despite efforts to abstain; speculations keep circulating, in several formats by several means, about the prospects of who’s who.

Hours ahead of PM’s oath various speculations are gathering moment as who will continue and occupy top positions in crucial quarters and who all will be inducted in a fresh re-hashed ‘Team PMO’. When PM designate has mammoth task ahead of making India a 5 trillion dollor economy with investments of over 100 lakh crores for infrastructure development and over 25 lakh crores investment for rural sector it becomes imperative to explore the bandwidth capability of new ‘Team PMO’.  


Principal Secretary to PM: It is being considered as an open secret that Nripendra Mishra (Retd IAS:1967:UP), Principal Secretary to PM Modi, may be rewarded with gubernatorial assignments immediately after PM Modi’s oath on May 30. In all likelihood the PMO may be rehashed barring few officers allowed to continue with PMO. But replacement of Nripendra Mishra would be decided by Dr P K Mishra’s (Retd IAS:1972:GJ) next role in PMO. Power corridors are abuzz that Dr P K Mishra’s health issue constrains him from accepting further responsibilities. In case, Dr PK doesn’t chose to take rest his elevation as PM may elevate him as Principal Secretary to PM with the same role i.e. personnel matters.


Additional PS to PM:

You start talking to any senior civil servant, serving at Centre, about Dr P K Misra and you will get the same note; it would be too difficult for PM to find an alternative to Dr P K as he enjoyed unparalleled trust and comfort with PM Modi. Though, Mishra’s ageing too does rounds in crucial quarters. In case, Dr P K doesn’t chose to take rest PM may not look for his replacement though few names are often mentioned as his heir apparent namely;  K Kailashnathan (Retd IAS:1979:GJ), Ratan P Watal (Retd IAS:1978:AP). It is also said that initially Dr P K may be continued in his position but Rajiv Kumar (IAS:1984:JH) may become his replacement post his retirement next year.


National Security Adviser: Post CBI faction-feud it appeared for a while that something had fallen out of sync. But increasingly assertive (counter terrorism) operations in J&K and affirmative action in Balakot (post Pulwama) dettered the apprehensions. Now it is widely believed that PM Modi may not look for alternatives to his trusted lieutenants; Amit Shah, Ajit Doval (Retd IPS:1968:KL) & Dr P K Mishra. It is widely believed that PM may chose to continue Doval in NSA role.


Private Secretary to PM:

Having played flawless role as Secretary to PM Rajiv Topno (IAS:1996:GJ) too is being seen as the one whom PM may like to continue him in his  proven role. Further, A K Sharma (IAS:1988:GJ), Additional Secretary, PMO, too may be retained in next team PMO.


Secretary, PMO:

Though Bhaskar Khulbe (IAS:1983:WB), the incumbent Secretary, PMO is scheduled to complete his extended tenure next month (30 June) it is believed that his term may be extended for another six months. In case, he does not get extension then it may open avenues for several takers.


Cabinet Secretary:

Though; the outgoing Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba (IAS:1982:JH)  has occupied the imagination of whos who is power corridors as the heir-apparent of P K Sinha (IAS:1977:UP) completing his extended tenure as Cabinet Secretary in June second week one may not rule out the possibility of another extension to Sinha. In fact the present rule, technically, does not stop the possibility. In case of extension to Sinha appointment of next Cabinet Secretary may become a tricky question drawing a line between 1982 and 1983 batch.


Home Secretary:

Amid loud speculations over Rajiv Gauba’s prospects as next Cabinet Secretary; DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek (IAS:1982:BH), Rural Development Secretary Amarjit Sinha (IAS:1983:BH), Urban Development Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra (IAS:1984:UP) and Banking Secretary Rajiv Kumar (IAS:1984:JH) are being seen as prospective claimants. In case; P K Sinha is given another extension Gauba would continue as Home Secretary until his two years fixed tenure ending August this year.


Defence Secretary: The outgoing Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra (IAS:1982:WB) is set to retire this month end; the very next day after PM’s oath. It is believed that the top authorities may have identified Mitra’s successor. Power corridors are abuzz that Environment & Forests Secretary C K Mishra (IAS:1983:BH), Secretary Defence Production Ajay Kumar (IAS:1984:KL), Food & PD Secretary Ravi Kant (IAS:1984:BH) and Rajiv Kumar (IAS:1984:JH) would be among the officers in the reckoning. 

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