Dr PK Sinha gets a one-year extension as Cabinet Secretary in a one-line order/ The government said that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the extension of Cabinet Secretary and 1977 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer PK Sinha’s tenure for one year beyond June 12, 2017. It means, Sinha will get tenure of three years as India’s top bureaucrat. The extension clearly indicates that PM does not want to take risks in experimenting with a new hand at this juncture. The efficient and able KM Chandrasekhar and Ajit K Seth were given extensions multiple times. Each got a chance to serve for four long years. The sanction of an extension is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. There’s is nothing wrong in it. The only issue is that it denies bright and performing bureaucrats of at least three successive IAS batches the chance to reach the top of the bureaucratic stratum. The Secretary of Defence and External Affairs gets a two-year fixed term. The term of S Jaishanker, the External Affairs Secretary, has already been extended for one year. The debate among senior civil servants is, what if union secretaries too are given extension for a year or two? Will it not destabilise the IAS structure? Chandrasekhar’s first one-year-extension ruined the hope of Sudha Pillai of the 1972 batch of becoming India’s first woman cabinet secretary. In June 2011, Ajit K Seth of the 1974 batch became Cabinet Secretary. He first got a one-year extension during the UPA-II, but many were surprised when Narendra Modi decided to retain him as the Cabinet Secretary. But the extension was on expected lines as Modi needed a smooth transition of power and who can do a better job than the Cabinet Secretary. If the current trend continues, incumbent Sinha too may end up getting a four-year-term. The extension to Dr. Sinha not only recognises his work ethic but ensures smooth sailing during the elections for President and Vice President. As has been observed during the recent Civil Service Awards, Sinha is well in tune with the mindset of the PM and acts accordingly.
VOL. 11 | ISSUE 2| MAY 2017