Former finance secretary Arvind Mayaram took over as the minority affairs secretary on Thursday evening after the government cancelled his appointment as tourism secretary hours before he was to take charge.
Instead, the government appointed an old hand in the tourism sector, Lalit P Panwar, as the tourism secretary.
Mayaram had been ordered to move out from the finance ministry as part of a high-profile reshuffle about a fortnight ago. He was to move to the tourism department while Rajasthan-cadre officer Rajiv Mehrishi was named to succeed him as the economic affairs secretary on November 1.
On Wednesday night, the appointments committee of the cabinet decided to appoint Panwar — a Rajasthan cadre officer — as tourism secretary and sent Mayaram to the minority affairs ministry.
Government sources said the new appointment orders were conveyed to the officials concerned early on Thursday.
Due to a delay in Rajasthan chief secretary Mehrishi taking charge, expenditure secretary RN Watal has also been told to handle additional charge as economic
affairs secretary for a month.
A PMO official attributed the change in department to the assessment that Panwar would be better suited to the tourism sector. The PM is understood to have been impressed with Panwar at a recent meeting. Mayaram is the second senior finance ministry official to be axed by the new government. Revenue secretary Rajiv Takru was the first; moved initially to the department of north east development and a few months later, moved as secretary to the national minority commission.