The top level bureaucratic reshuffle carried out by the Centre on Friday was a result of a long standing demand from some ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, who had expressed their lack of synergy with some of their secretaries.
Some of the ministries which have been affected by the reshuffle include the Telecom Ministry, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises, Agriculture Ministry, Minority Affairs Ministry, and Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
Rakesh Garg, who was working as the secretary in the telecommunication department, was moved out of the crucial ministry amidst reports that his political boss Ravi Shankar Prasad was having difficulties in working with him.
According to political sources, a majority of the reshuffle was necessitated after Cabinet ministers and ministers of state told the PM that the secretaries working under them were not following their instructions.
“Apart from Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar, almost all other ministers heading crucial ministries are facing a rigid bureaucracy which is not letting them work as they want to. These bureaucrats have been ignoring the orders of their ministers on the grounds that they have already consulted the Cabinet secretariat and the Prime Minister’s office on the issue. Many of the orders of the ministers of states are being completely ignored which was conveyed to the PM,” a minister stated.
The minister, whose secretary was also replaced amidst report that he was adopting a rigid approach while dealing with even regular suggestions from the minister, stated that the message needed to go out to the bureaucracy that the days of the Congress led United Progressive Alliance were over.
“During UPA, many of the bureaucrats, because of their proximity to the Gandhi family and prominent Congress leaders, had become even more powerful than their ministers and the clout they enjoyed in their ministries was more than the respect commanded by their Cabinet ministers. Some of the bureaucrats have not been able to shake off this feeling and still consider themselves as more influential than the ministers. The reshuffle was needed to bring a sense of the changed reality into the much pampered bureaucracy,” he stated.
In the recent reshuffle Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg has been sent to the Minority Affairs Ministry. J.S. Deepak has been appointed as the new secretary, Department of Telecommunications. Aruna Sharma, who is working in Madhya Pradesh, has been appointed Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, in place of Deepak.
Krishan Kumar Jalan, who is Central Provident Fund Commissioner in Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, has been appointed as Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Avinash K. Srivastava, a 1982 batch IAS officer, has been appointed Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing. Srivastava is Special Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
Vinod Agrawal, Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), has been made Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. Shyam S. Agarwal, Secretary of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), has been appointed as Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
Tribal Affairs Secretary Arun Jha has been appointed new Secretary of NCSC. Agarwal has been given additional charge of NCST for a period of three months or till the appointment of a regular incumbent.
Shobhana K. Pattanayak has been made the new Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, in place of Siraj Hussain, on his superannuation at the end of this month.