New Delhi: In the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, a major bureaucratic reshuffle was witnessed wherein senior IAS officers AK Sharma and Tarun Bajaj were moved out of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The decision was taken yesterday by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) chaired by PM Modi, with an aim to put economy back on growth trajectory. Also Read - Delhi Airport To Shut Operations At T2 Terminal From May 17 Midnight

While Bajaj, a 1988-batch Haryana cadre officer, has been appointed as Secretary, Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, Sharma, a 1988-batch IAS of Gujarat cadre and also an Additional Secretary in the PMO, has been appointed Secretary, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Also Read - IPL 2021: England Players Unlikely To Play In Rescheduled IPL, Feels Michael Atherton

Bajaj will take over upon superannuation of incumbent Atanu Chakraborty on April 30. He is presently posted as Additional Secretary in PMO, said a Ministry of Personnel order. Sharma, who has been with Modi since October 2001, will take over upon superannuation of the present incumbent Arun Kumar Panda on April 30. Also Read - Karnataka Reports 39,510 Fresh COVID Cases, 22,584 Discharges in Last 24 Hours

Another significant decision taken by ACC was giving a three-month extension to Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan. Sudan was due to superannuate this month-end but she was given a three-month extension in service.
The move assumes significance as the Health Ministry is at the forefront of India’s battle against the novel coronavirus. A 1983 batch IAS officer from the Andhra Pradesh cadre, she was to retire from service on April 30.

These were among 23 IAS officers of the rank from Additional Secretary, Special Secretary and Secretary who were on Sunday appointed in various central government departments as part of the bureaucratic reshuffle.

A total of 10 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers have been given in-situ upgradation to the level of Special Secretary in the rank and pay of Secretary of Central government, as a measure personal to the them, by temporarily upgrading the posts held by them. These are Jyoti Arora, B. Anand, Neel Kamal Darbari, Bidyut Bihari Swain, Apurva Chandra, Rajiv Bansal, Ali Raza Rizvi, Praveen Kr. Srivastava, Arvind Singh and Indevar Pandey.

As per the order, Sudhanshu Pandey will be new Union Food Secretary, Pradeep Kumar Tripathi the new Steel Secretary, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Vice Chairman Tarun Kapoor the new Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal will be the new Secretary, Education and Literacy, and Rajesh Bhushan Officer on Special Duty in Department of Health and Family Welfare.

Amit Khare, a 1985-batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre and currently Secretary, Higher Education, has been given additional charge of the post of Secretary, Information and Broadcasting on appointment of incumbent Ravi Mittal as Secretary, Sports.

Ravi Kant, Secretary, Food and Public Distribution has been appointed as Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Welfare in Ministry of Defence given the coming superannuation of present incumbent Sanjeevanee Kutty on April 30.
Secretary, New and Renewable Energy, Anand Kumar has been appointed as Secretary, Culture.

With these rejig and appointments, the Narendra Modi-led government has indicated that it is ready focus on economic growth, which has been declined due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the consequent countrywide lockdown.

(With agency inputs)