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What if Cabinet Secretary gets another extension?

By IndianMandarins- 06 Jun 2019


If some top sources are to be believed several surprises appear to be in the store for top bureaucracy. And these are related to personnel and appointments policy to be followed through the initial days in the second term of NaMO administration. The outgoing and 31st Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha (IAS:1977:UP) may well be given another three months extension. Ahead of LS Polls his term was extended for six months. Thus, it has been slated to end on 12 June 2019. 


In case he gets further extension, as being assumed or at least not being ruled out now, a few aspirants for the top job would be out of the race. They include the outgoing Telecom Secretary Ms Aruna Sundararajan (IAS:1982:KL) and Ramesh Abhishek (IAS:1982:BH) the outgoing Secretary, DIPP. This is so because both of them are retiring on 31 July 2019.


Furthermore, if Sinha’s term is extended it would be an indication from the NaMo administration that Rajiv Gauba (IAS:1982:JH), the incumbent Union Home Secretary, may be ruled out for the top job despite the fact that till few days back Gauba was considered as the fittest candidate to become Sinha’s successor. Though there are several senior officers who still believe that Gauba should remain hopeful as Sinha’s term (in case of its being extended) would end on 12 September 2019 and Gauba may be appointed OSD to Cabinet Secretary in August itself. Gauba will be retiring on 31 August 2019.


The later view is endorsed by the fact that Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra (IAS:1982:WB) was given three months extension on 31 May 2019. It was assumed that this has been to ensure consistency and synergy as the new Defence Minister assisted by a new Defence Secretary might not have been a good idea. The same reason may apply to Gauba as well because new Union Home Minister assisted by a new Home Secretary would not be of much help. And this could be among the reasons for not announcing Gauba as OSD to Cabinet Secretary.


Yet, it may not be prudent to rush to any conclusion as unleashing one surprise after the other has been the hallmark of NaMo administration. This has been more so vis-à-vis matters related to personnel and postings in the past.


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