Officials seem to be inquisitive about what earned Ms. Smita Nagaraj (IAS:1984:TN) the post of a Member of the Union Public Service Commission almost a year before retirement.
The post is an envious one because it extends the service tenure of an officer for six years or until the age of 65 years (whichever is earlier).
In the normal course, Nagaraj would have retired on 30 Sept 2018. But with the UPSC assignment, she may continue to serve until Sept 2023 – surpassing even Sanjay Agrawal (IAS:1984:UP) who would be the last one from her batch to retire.
Usually, UPSC posts are offered to senior retired civil servants as rewards for exemplary performance whereas an officer of the 1984 batch is considered too junior for the job.
So what has she been rewarded for?
It is widely believed that while serving as Director General, Defence Acquisition, in the Ministry of Defence, Ms. Nagaraj handled many critically-important deals including Rafale with flair and in a stipulated time-frame. And this is said to have earned her the goodwill and appreciation of the political dispensation. Hence the reward of UPSC membership -which is considered rather unusual in this administration.