JNU row: Govt abruptly removes HRD ministry secretary

JNU row: Govt abruptly removes HRD ministry secretary

R Subrahmanyam. (DH file photo)

In a sudden move, the government on Friday shifted higher education secretary R  Subrahmanyam from the HRD ministry to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The appointments committee of cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, replaced Subrahmanyam with Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry secretary Amit Khare in a yet another round of reshuffle in the top bureaucracy.

As per the order issued by the department of personnel and training (DoPT), Subrahmanyam will now serve as the secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, while Khare will head both the higher education and school education departments of the HRD ministry as their secretary. 

Ravi Mittal, a 1986 batch Bihar cadre IAS officer, who was serving as a special secretary in the Finance Ministry, was elevated and appointed as I&B secretary

The removal of Subrahmanyam from the HRD ministry raised many eyebrows, as it comes within two months after the government abruptly removed school education secretary Rina Ray from the ministry, repatriating her to her parent cadre. According to government sources, Subrahmanyam, a JNU alumni, was in favour of an amicable solution to the ongoing tussle between the JNU administration and the students over hostel fee hike and other issues, keeping the students interest in mind, but the university administration was refusing to soften its stand.

JNU students claimed that the office bearers of the university’s students union were scheduled to meet Subrahmanyam for yet another round of talks on Friday, when his transfer orders came.

A number of key reforms in the higher education sector, including revision of curriculum and programmes to boost research outputs were brought in during Subrahmanyam’s tenure in the HRD ministry. He joined the ministry as additional secretary in July 2015 and was later elevated to the post of higher education secretary in 2018.

In other changes in the top bureaucracy approved by the ACC, Culture Secretary Arun Goel, 1985-batch Punjab cadre officer, was shifted to Department of Heavy Industry in the same rank in place of Asha Ram Sihag, who is retiring on December 31.

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