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Kovind’s team takes shape, Raisina readies for swearing-in

Pomp and power:(Top) Rehearsal on for the swearing-in ceremony of the 14th President of India at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Saturday; and (above) another rehearsal goes on in full swing at Raisina Hill.V. Sudershan, PTI

Pomp and power:(Top) Rehearsal on for the swearing-in ceremony of the 14th President of India at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Saturday; and (above) another rehearsal goes on in full swing at Raisina Hill.V. Sudershan, PTI  

With Ram Nath Kovind set to be sworn in on Tuesday, the Union government has appointed Sanjay Kothari, former Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training, the Secretary of the new President. Gujarat’s Resident Commissioner in New Delhi, Bharat Lal, an Indian Forest Service officer, has been appointed Joint Secretary.

Ashok Malik, senior journalist and distinguished fellow at Observer Research Foundation, will be Mr. Kovind’s Press Secretary. Their appointment orders were issued by the government late on Friday night.

Preparations are in full swing for the swearing-in, with a full dress rehearsal held in New Delhi on Saturday.

At present, Mr. Kothari, a 1978-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, is the Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board, where he was appointed after he superannuated as DoPT Secretary. He is considered close to P.K. Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, who looks after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

Bureaucrats reshuffled

Meanwhile, the government has carried out a large-scale reshuffle at the Additional Secretary level. The officials are from the 1987 and 1988 batches of the IAS who were recently empanelled as Additional Secretary or equivalent.

A 1985-batch IAS officer, J. Rama Krishna Rao, has been moved from the Defence Ministry to the National Minority Commission as Secretary, while Usha Sharma from the same batch has been made the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Similarly, another IAS officer from the 1985 batch, Sanjiv Gupta, has been appointed CEO of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s National E-Governance Division.

Interestingly, two IAS officers from the Gujarat cadre — R.P. Gupta, Joint Secretary in the Coal Ministry, and Rajkumar, Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry, have been moved out and appointed in PSUs.

Mr. Gupta has been made the Managing Director of the National Waqf Development Corporation Ltd., while Mr. Rajkumar has been appointed the CEO of the ESIC.

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