Days after sacking foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, the Modi government on Saturday carried out another secretary-level bureaucratic reshuffle touching over 7 ministries including health, urban development and housing.
"Some of them (secretaries) were replaced as they slipped on deadlines and seemed unable to deliver on their mandate," a senior government official told HT.
As part of the reshuffle, the government also brought in Gujarat cadre IAS officer, Gauri Kumar, to the Cabinet Secretariat to serve as the Secretary Coordination & Public Grievances. Kumar was earlier labour secretary.
Kumar will step into the shoes of Odisha cadre SB Agnihotri, who continues to hold charge as performance management division.
An IAS officer of the 1980 batch Madhusudhan Prasad has been appointed urban development secretary while Bihar cadre IAS officer Bhanu Pratap Sharma has been posted as the next health secretary.
This will be the first time that Sharma will get independent charge of a department. He was serving as a special secretary in the department of personnel and was secretary to the Appointments Committee of the cabinet.
Sharma replaces Lov Verma, an IAS officer senior to him by three years, who was appointed health secretary just 11 months back.
Urban development secretary Shankar Agarwal – who will have to move out of the UD ministry – will be the labour secretary.
Agarwal’s transfer is being attributed to the tardy execution of the smart cities concept, a brainchild of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM is learnt to have taken note of the UD ministry’s inability to come up with a clear-cut policy on smart cities as well as the delays in framing up guidelines for Swacch Bharat.
In the last eight months, the ministry has – despite numerous presentations and meetings – has neither finalised the policy nor the criteria for selection of the smart cities.
Anita Agnihotri, 1980 batch, who was appointed as housing secretary in March last year, has also been shifted out as secretary, department of social justice. West Bengal cadre Nandita Chatterjee – who was serving as member secretary National Commission for Woman – has been elevated as housing secretary.
A retired IAS officer of the UP cadre DK Mittal was earlier in the day appointed Mission Director, Direct Benefits Transfer. Mittal had retired in 2013 as secretary, financial services.