WHO will be the new Cabinet Secretary of India? The term of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, a 1977-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, will be over on June 13, 2019. It’s the hottest topic at Raisina Hills apart from the elections. There are possibilities in the given circumstances whether Narendra Modi continues as Prime Minister or not. Even a new dispensation other than Modi will not have many options but to order for an extension for at least six months to the present incumbent PK Sinha.
Whose star will ascend is a subject of speculation as selection of the cabinet secretary is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister of India. It is clear from the list of available officers that in all probability the new Cabinet Secretary of India will be selected among 1982 and 1983 batch IAS officers.
Let us discuss the possibility of selection of a women cabinet secretary. There are two names, viz Aruna Sundararajan, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre, Secretary Ministry of Communication. If she is not elevated, then she will retire in July 2019. Another lady officer is Preeti Sudan, a 1982-batch IAS officer of Haryana cadre, Secretary Health and Family Welfare. If she is not selected, she will retire in April 2020.
Other competent officers in the running are Ramesh Abhishek, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, Secretary Commerce and Industry and hails from Odisha. If he is not selected, he will retire in July 2019. Rajiv Gauba, a 1982-batch officer of the Jharkhand cadre, is currently Secretary Home and his two-year term will be over in June 2019. If the Prime Minister decides not to select any officer from 1982 batch, then among 1983 batch of IAS officers, there are three top ranking officers. First, is Amar Jeet Sinha, a 1983-batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, and currently Secretary Panchayati Raj. The second is Injeti Srinivas, a 1983-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, and serving as Secretary Corporate Affairs. The third is Gopal Krishna, a 1983-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, currently serving as Secretary Shipping.
In the 1983 batch, there is also a lady officer, Upma Chawdhry, a Himachal cadre officer, who is at present Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs. Earlier, a background of petroleum or textiles was considered important but, of late, those with knowledge of finance and banking have an advantage. Also, so far, no Prime Minister has chosen a woman Cab Sec till now, but one has to wait whether the next Prime Minister of India will think out of the box or make some tough choices. Wait and watch this space for more developments.