The search for a new chief secretary is the first thing that would be off chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s mind as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has accepted the state government’s proposal to grant an extention for six months to chief secretary R Parasuram with effect from April 1, 2013.
Sources close to the powers that be in the state government said that the chief minister was keen on securing an extension for chief secretary R Parasuram because he felt that the incumbent would have got a short term of only 11 months in case he retired on March 31.
Talks of R Parasuram being granted an extension began in the first few months after the chief secretary had taken over on May 1, 2012 but the decision became firm in December. That the chief minister and chief secretary enjoy a good rapport also went in the latter’s favour.
Sources also said that from an administrative point of view, the chief minister considered the period in the run up to the assembly elections as more important than the period of the elections itself and hence was more keen on having a tried and tested chief secretary during the months in the run up to the elections.
The next chief secretary would now be appointed with effect from October 1. “The state government’s powers to appoint the next chief secretary are absolute and are not affected even if the model code of conduct is in force,” said former chief secretary Avani Vaish. The state government can announce the next chief secretary as an officer on special duty (OSD) some months before the completion of the extended tenure of the present chief secretary or could wait till the due date. “The Election Commission of India would come into the picture in the appointment only if the model code of conduct is in force and there is a transfer of an official involved. In case the new chief secretary is being appointed on the retirement of the present incumbent and even if the model code of conduct is in force, the state government can proceed with the appointment on its own,” said Vaish.
The extension to Parasuram also does not seem to affect the chances of the two officers who were seen as frontrunners for the post in case he was to retire in March, 2013. Both officers have service periods till 2015 and 2016 before they retire.