Major shake-up in top bureaucracy

Khuntia, Karnataka cadre IAS officer, in Department of School Education

Major shake-up in top bureaucracy

The Centre on Tuesday effected a major shake up of the top bureaucracy, shuffling 17 senior IAS officers across ministries, while bringing in new faces to head the commerce, mines, power and civil aviation ministries.

While six special secretaries were promoted to the rank of secretary, some even getting high-profile assignments, a few officers who were handling critical ministries were shunted out to low profile ministries.

Subhash Chandra Khuntia, a 1981-batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer, will replace Vrinda Sarup, a 1981-batch officer of Uttar Pradesh (UP) cadre, as secretary in Department of School Education and Literacy. Khuntia was earlier special secretary and financial adviser in the Petroleum Ministry.

Sarup was posted to the department barely five months ago and it was rumoured that she was not getting along well with HRD Minister Smriti Irani. Sarup, who also served in the HRD Ministry from 2004-10, was on an official tour to Kolkata when her transfer order was made public. She has been posted as secretary of Department of Food and Public Distribution.

Mines Secretary Anup K Pujari, a 1980-batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer, was sent to Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Pujari will be succeeded by Balvender Kumar of UP cadre (1981 batch), presently vice-chairman of Delhi Development Authority.

Civil Aviation Secretary V Somasundaran, a 1979-batch Kerala cadre officer, was transferred to Women and Child Development Ministry.

Rajiv Nayan Choubey, a 1981-batch officer of Tamil Nadu cadre who is now a special secretary, was promoted as secretary and given the charge of civil aviation.

Pradeep Kumar Pujari is the new power secretary and he succeeds P K Sinha, who will be the next Cabinet Secretary. Pujari, a 1981-batch Gujarat cadre officer, was another special secretary who got a promotion and a plum posting in this reshuffle.

Rita A Teaotia, a 1981-batch Gujarat cadre officer, was promoted as secretary and given charge of Commerce Ministry. She was special secretary in Department of Telecommunications.

Higher Education secretary Satyanarayan Mohanty, a 1980-batch officer of Telangana cadre, was replaced by Vinay Sheel Oberoi, a 1979-batch officer of the Arunachal-Manipur cadre.

Mohanty, who was brought to the HRD Ministry only five-months-ago from the National Disaster Management Authority, is the new secretary-general of the National Human Rights Commission.

New assignment

Interestingly, Smriti held a meeting with Mohanty on Tuesday morning to chalk out plans for the next nine months.

The reshuffle also saw Water Resources Secretary Anuj Kumar Bishnoi, a UP cadre officer of 1981 batch, getting a new assignment in Department of Fertilisers.

Shashi Shekhar, a 1981-batch Tamil Nadu cadre officer who was handling Environment Ministry as special secretary, replaced Bishnoi in the rank of secretary.

Other secretary-level appointments are: Sunil Soni (Maharashtra, 1981 batch) in Inter-State Council Secretariat under Home Ministry; Anil Kumar Agarwal (West Bengal, 1981) in Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs; C R Viswanath (Andhra Pradesh, 1981) in Department of Consumer Affairs;  Devendra Chaudhary (UP, 1981) in Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, and Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare.

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