P.K. Mishra emerges PMO power centre

Both Dr. Mishra and Mr. Doval hold the rank of a Cabinet Minister in the government.

September 16, 2019 10:59 pm | Updated 10:59 pm IST - AHMEDABAD

Prime Minister’s newly elevated Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra has emerged as the most powerful bureaucrat handling the most important matters in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as per the distribution of work among the three top bureaucrats: Dr. Mishra, NSA Ajit Kumar Doval and Principal Adviser P.K. Sinha.

As per the work distribution order issued by Shrikar K. Pardeshi, Joint Secretary in the PMO, Dr. Mishra will look into policy issues and matters relating to the Ministries of Personnel, Law, Appointments Committee of Cabinet and other appointments, Cabinet Secretariat, listing of Cabinet items, anti-corruption unit, PMO establishment and all important policy issues and matters.

His predecessor Nripendra Misra used to look after policy matters but not appointments and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which were being dealt with by Dr. Mishra as Additional Principal Secretary — the post appears to have been done away with now.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Kumar Doval will look into all matters relating to national security and policy matters — except appointments. He will also oversee policy matters relating to ministries of External Affairs, Overseas Indians Affairs, Defence, Space, Atomic Energy and the country’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.

Moreover, Mr Doval will also be in charge of all policies and matters relating to National Security Council Secretariat and the National Authority for Chemical Weapons. He has also been allocated the issue of talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) separatists.

Both Dr. Mishra and Mr. Doval hold the rank of a Cabinet Minister in the government.

Newly appointed bureaucrat in the PMO, P.K. Sinha, whose extended term as Cabinet Secretary expired in August 2019, has been given charge to oversee policy issues and matters relating to all ministries and departments or agencies except those specifically given to Dr Mishra or the NSA.

Mr Sinha has been given the designation as Principal Advisor to the Prime Minister. According to insiders, as Principal Advisor, his work profile is largely similar to erstwhile Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra in the previous set up.

Moreover, insiders in the government also said that to ensure that no two power centres emerge in the PMO, the government has created the post of Principal Advisor for former Cabinet Secretary, who was first appointed as OSD in the PMO before being elevated as Principal Advisor.

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