LUCKNOW: Who will become the new chief secretary of the state if incumbent Rajiv Kumar does not get an extension? It’s a topic of hot discussion in bureaucratic circles.
Given his service record and proximity to the prime minister’s office, Kumar, whose retirement is due in June-end, is likely to be picked up by the Centre for his next deployment. He is likely to be appointed either as a member of the prestigious Union Public Service Commission or chairman of Competition Commission. However, that will happen only if chief minister Yogi Adityanath does not give him an extension as UP chief secretary. Even if the government retains him, it would be allowed for a maximum of six months. This means the state government would have to look for his successor when the general elections would be even closer. Having a new chief secretary at that time is not desirable for any government as speed and implementation of schemes are likely to be affected.
In case of Kumar’s retirement, the race for the coveted position is between two IAS officers of 1984 batch – DS Mishra, who at present is secretary in the Union urban development ministry, and Anup Pandey, additional chief secretary, industry and infrastructure development in the state government. Two officers of 1982 batch and five of 1983 batch are unlikely to get a chance as they all have very short tenure left.Mishra, who has been principal secretary in the Mayawati government, is reportedly being pushed for taking over in Lucknow if Kumar does not get an extension. However, Mishra’s appointment would strengthen the notion that the chief minister does not have freedom to pick a chief secretary. Kumar had also been sent after intervention of the PMO and was not a Yogi’s choice of. He reportedly wanted to continue with the then incumbent Rahul Bhatnagar – who is now in the sports ministry – appointed by the previous CM, Akhilesh Yadav.
Yogi himself is reportedly keen on Pandey’s appointment. Pandey is credited with two successful flagship projects-the loan waiver to farmers and the Investors’ Summit, which fetched MoUs of Rs 4.28 lakh crore. He has spent a long time in UP, working on various levels and does not face any controversy or charge.
Meanwhile, another senior IAS officer in the reckoning is Sanjay Agarwal, also of the 1984 batch, an additional chief secretary holding three departments – secondary education, higher education and PWD. In both SP and BSP regimes, he has handled powerful departments like power, industry and sugar.
In case of his appointment, the government will have to supersede nearly a dozen 1982, 1983 and 1984 batch officers.