The government appointed Siraj Hussain as agriculture secretary and shifted fertilisers secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra to rural development on Thursday, effecting a bureaucratic reshuffle before the Union budget.
Apart from Hussain, the food processing secretary, and Mohapatra, three more secretary-level officers were being shifted from their current posts, sources said.
A 1979-batch IAS officer, Hussain will take charge on March 1 as incumbent Ashish Bahugana retires this month-end. He will be replaced at the food processing ministry by Odisha-cadre officer Ranglal Jamuda, currently posted as special secretary of agriculture.
Mohapatra, who is Hussain’s batchmate from Odisha, will fill the vacancy created by LC Goyal’s appointment as home secretary this month. He will, however, continue to hold additional charge of fertilisers for three months.
“The Prime Minister wanted to fill the vacancy in the rural development ministry as the land acquisition bill has been introduced in Parliament,” a senior bureaucrat told HT.
Goyal moved to North Block after predecessor Anil Goswami was sacked for interfering in a CBI probe.
Panchayati raj secretary Ashok Kumar Angurana, a Jharkhand-cadre officer, has been moved to the animal husbandry department. His successor in panchayati raj will be SM Vijayanand.
The government relaxed its decision to debar a UP-cadre officer Jivesh Nandan from central deputation.
The 1987-batch officer had refused to join the defence ministry in 2013 after being appointed to it on deputation.
The bar was lifted on the condition that Nandan – who has co-authored a book with his bureaucrat-wife Leena – must join the defence ministry as joint secretary.
Health secretary Pratap Bhanu Sharma has been given additional charge in the department of health research where the incumbent KM Katosh has retired.