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Post-lockdown challenge: After long stints, two key officers moved from PMO to Finance Ministry and MSME Ministry


NEW DELHI: Two key officers at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), additional secretaries Tarun Bajaj and A.K. Sharma have been moved as Secretary, Economic Affairs and Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) respectively as a part of a bureaucratic reshuffle on Sunday.

The same has been done with an eye on reviving the economy and focussing on the MSME sector, the two focus areas of the government while the country sees a phased exit from the lockdown. Their replacements at the PMO were not immediately announced – Bajaj and Sharma, both from the 1988 batch, were the only additional secretaries posted at the PMO and handled a host of responsibilities. Sharma was with the PMO since 2014 after the new government came in while Bajaj has been at PMO since 2015. Bajaj has served as a Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs for a year before that. Both got promoted as additional secretaries during their stint at the PMO.

Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan has meanwhile been granted a three-month extension beyond April 20, her date of retirement, in wake of the Covid-19 crisis while senior IAS officer Amit Khare has been brought back as Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) to handle the communication arm of the government during the Covid-19 crisis. He will be holding additional charge of I&B along with being Secretary, Department of Higher Education. Khare was I&B Secretary till last December. His successor in the chair at I&B Ministry, Ravi Mittal has been moved to Sports Ministry.

Sudan, a 1983-batch officer, will be assisted by Rajesh Bhushan, who has been appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Health Ministry in the rank of Secretary and could take over from Sudan when her three-month extension ends in July. Bhushan, a 1987-batch officer, was serving as the Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development. Bhushan will be replaced by his batchmate Nagendra Nath Sinha. Also from the 1987 batch, Rajesh Verma has been appointed the Corporate Affairs Secretary, Tarun Kapoor will be the Petroleum Secretary, Rameshwar Prasad Gupta has been moved from NITI Aayog as Environment Secretary while I.S. Chaturvedi will be Secretary, Renewable Energy.

Chaturvedi will be replacing Anand Kumar of the 1984-batch who has been appointed as Secretary, Culture. Other important appointments included 1988-batch officer CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal being appointed as Secretary, School Education and her batchmate Aramane Giridhar being appointed as Secretary, Road Transport and Highways. Giridhar has replaced Sanjeev Ranjan who will be the new Shipping Secretary. 1987-batch officer Ajay Tirkey has been appointed Secretary of the Woman and Child Development Ministry while his batchmate Leena Nandan has been shifted as Special Secretary at the Road Transport Ministry to Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs.

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