A flurry of top-level appointments in intelligence and security organisations at the end of the year ensure that Modi sarkar will enter 2015 with his chosen people in place. The naming of the quiet but capable Dineshwar Sharma as Director, Intelligence Bureau, was the first of these heavyweight appointments. Meanwhile the race to become the Chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) ended with a close finish between Rajinder Khanna and his colleague Arvind Saxena, ending with Khanna. A 1978-batch RAW Allied Service officer, he won on seniority (he would have retired in a week) and his batchmate Saxena was not disappointed either. He was shifted to head Aviation Research Centre, a part of RAW and with a new degree of autonomy thrown in. For once, or certainly in a long time, the Government chose a RAW chief from within the service who is neither an IPS nor an IAS officer but a State cadre honcho, with a long track record. Heading the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at this time is no cakewalk, since the paramilitary force is the mainstay in the Government’s ongoing battle with Maoist insurgents. So Prakash Mishra, the 1977-batch IPS officer from Orissa cadre, has a lot on his plate. Expectations from Modi sarkar are high and these are the men the Prime Minister has chosen to help meet them on the policing side. Point to note — Rajnath Singh was probably not quite the power point in all these matters anyway.
The transfer of babus of the AGMUT cadre has always been a contentious issue between the Union Home Ministry and the Governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, Delhi and the Union Territories. The Ministry came up with a solution, agreed to by the States, that a Joint Cadre Authority headed by the Union Home Secretary and with chief secretaries and administrators of these States would decide all transfers and postings within the cadre. The new plan seems to have worked, for some time anyway. Now, sources say, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami has realised that the JCA is being used by powerful chief secretaries to reward their favoured babus at the cost of the deserving ones. This mechanism is now emerging as a cadre-controlling authority, which was not the purpose it was set up for. Cutting the chief secretaries down to size is a tall order but Minister Rajnath Singh may have to take a call soon.
Hopefully, Haryana should have a new Chief Secretary shortly, perhaps from the 1982 batch. The current incumbent P.K. Gupta superannuated onDecember 31, essentially being Chief Secretary for exactly one month. It seems the dilemma for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is how to resist the pressure from the state’s influential builder lobby. Sources say that Khattar is seen as an outsider rather than a mainstream politician. If his becoming Chief Minister of Haryana came as a surprise to many, now business lobbies are trying the “RSS route” to maintain their influence in the Government. It is up to Khattar to resist their efforts. Babu observers say that since Gupta was a 1980-batch IAS officer, it indicates that his eligible peers like Ashok Lavasa, Madhusudan Prasad and Sanjay Kothari are out of the reckoning. The field therefore is open to three 1982-batch officers — D.S. Dhesi, K.K. Jalan and Dr Dalip Singh. But you cannot rule out the emergence of a dark horse!