Matching dots: Modi’s mixed signals on top appointments

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Some of the appointments affected by the Modi administration in the recent past has sent out a mixed signal. Observers are still at a loss to figure out whether these appointments mean an important policy shift or it’s just individuals-oriented stop-gap changes.

For instance, the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner was earlier occupied generally by an IAS officer. For a change, it’s gone to an Indian Revenue Service Income Tax officer K V Chawdary (Rtd IRS IT:1978). An Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, Ashwani Lohani (IRSME:1980), has become the CMD of Air India. An IPS officer of 1984 batch, Karnal Singh, has been given the additional responsibility of heading the Enforcement Directorate. An Indian Forest Service officer, YSK Seshu Kumar (IFS:1987:UP), is now CBSE chairman. In a complete break from the convention, Syed Akbaruddin (IFS:1985) who is additional secretary (in-charge of India Africa Summit) in the Ministry of External Affairs, has been appointed as Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, a secretary-level post. Evidently, Akbaruddin has been rewarded for his deft handling of the media in the first year of the Modi administration.

It is learnt that the PM has asked that the gap between the empanelment of IAS & other services be reduced by the end of this year. Does it mean that all services will have an equal pie in the cake – unlike the past?

Observers say there have been an increasing number of appointments at the JS level from non- IAS services. Further, IRS officers seem to be the favourite when it comes to appointments as PS to Union Ministers.

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