Govt shunts disinvestment secy ahead of Budget

Unable to meet a lofty disinvestment target, the government has shunted secretary Aradhna Johri just ahead of the Budget. Neeraj Kumar Gupta, special secretary, department of public enterprises, will be the new disinvestment secretary, said an official statement.

Johri will now be the chairperson of the National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention.

A dismal performance on disinvestment front had earlier prompted the finance ministry to cut its ambitious target to Rs 30,000 crore from close to budgeted Rs 70,000 crore.

Though disinvestment fared well in the first half of the current fiscal, in the later part of the year, the pace was sluggish. When Johri took charge of the disinvestment department in October 2014, she went for a 10 per cent stake sale in Coal India that fetched Rs 22,600 crore.

In six months from April to September, the disinvestment department under Johri divested stake in PFC, REC, Dredging Corp and Indian Oil to garner around Rs 12,600 crore. But in the next four months from September to December, there was no divestment of stake in the government companies.

The government also rewarded DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant with bestowing on him additional charge of NITI Ayog CEO.

‘Make in India’
Kant is considered to be the brain behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make and India’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiatives.

In another shake up, Rashmi Verma, special secretary, department of revenue in the finance ministry, was moved to the textiles ministry.

 She will take charge as secretary, textiles.Verma handled GST, besides other tax issues in the finance ministry. Meanwhile, Sanjay Mitra, the West Bengal chief secretary was appointed as the roads Secretary.
DH News Service

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