The Modi government transferred finance secretary Arvind Mayaram and replaced him with pro-reform Rajasthan chief secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Thursday, as part of its first major secretary-level reshuffle since taking over in May this year.
Mayaram’s move was part of a broader bureaucratic reshuffle under which nearly a dozen secretary-rank officers were transferred by the government over 24 hours. “We have started the process to bring efficient officials from the states to work in the Centre,” a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) told HT.
Mayaram’s transfer to the tourism ministry was the most high-profile decision because the finance secretary formulates policy and helps craft the annual budget in close association with the minister and advisers.
Watch: Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram shifted to tourism ministry
WMehrishi – regarded as a bureaucrat with an investor-friendly outlook -- steps into his shoes as secretary of the department of economic affairs. As the senior-most of five secretaries at the finance ministry, he is expected to soon be formally designated as the finance secretary.
Mehrishi's appointment as a secretary in the finance ministry comes at a time when the government has begun preparations for the 2015-16 budget, the NDA government's first full budget to be presented in February next year.
He is credited with initiating a slew of dramatic free-market labour, land and welfare reforms in Rajasthan over the past six months.
Mayaram is the second senior finance ministry official to be transferred by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. In June, the government moved out revenue secretary Rajiv Takru. Both Takru and Mayaram were appointed by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Mehrishi is the third chief secretary appointed to a key post by the Modi government. Earlier, Odisha chief secretary JK Mohapatra was brought in as secretary, fertilisers, while Sikkim chief secretary SK Panda was brought in as secretary, textiles.
The government also inducted Bhaskar Khulbe into the Prime Minister’s Office to replace R Ramanujam, a UPA appointee who was on an extension.
Others to move up the ladder included two UP cadre officers: Anil Swarup, who was working at the secretariat for the cabinet committee on investment, and Anuj Kumar Bishnoi, additional secretary at the defence ministry. Swarup has been appointed coal secretary and Bishnoi is the new water resources secretary.
Alok Rawat, one of the senior-most IAS officers who was in the race to become the next cabinet secretary, has been moved out of the politically crucial water resources and Ganga rejuvenation ministry and posted as administrative reforms secretary.
A Jammu and Kashmir officer, Ashok Kumar Angurana, has been appointed secretary panchayati raj.