Mumbai: Amid murmurs of protest in the bureaucracy, the government on Monday appointed Dinesh Kumar Jain as the new chief secretary of Maharashtra. The 1983-batch IAS officer, who has been heading the finance department, replaces C.S. Sumit Mullick. Mr. Mullick will take over the post of Chief Information Commissioner.
The appointment was made superseding two of Mr. Jain’s seniors: Medha A Gadgil and S.K. Shrivastava, both of additional chief secretary rank, heading the relief-rehabilitation and home department. Others in the 1983-batch cadre include UPS Madan, Sanjeevanee Kutty, Upamanyu Chatterjee, and Sanjay Porwal.
“I have nothing to say on it (superseding seniors). You must ask this question to whoever has made the decision,” he said when asked about the out-of-turn appointment.
Mr. Jain described his priorities as that of addressing the agrarian crisis and controlling the ballooning debt and revenue deficit. “We want to control all the unproductive works to keep the revenue deficit in check. The GST will give us some relief to achieve that endeavour while we continue to take loans to complete irrigation projects, investment in the power sector, and other infrastructure works,” he said.
Earlier, the bureaucratic circle was rife with rumours that the government allowed Mr. Jain to take charge on a public holiday to avoid embarrassment in case the decision is challenged in court. “The government wanted to avoid embarrassment in case those who are superseded approach court. Ideally, the seniority principle should have been followed when making such a prestigious appointment,” a senior secretary said.
The appointment of the new CS is likely to trigger some other key changes, including appointment of the secretary, finance, heads of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The MMRDA chief, Mr. Madan, is likely to replace Mr. Jain as the secretary, finance. The probable candidate for the post of the chief of the MMRDA is R.A. Rajeev, who holds charge as a senior secretary in the finance department.