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Kumar takes over as Maharashtra Chief Secy, Kunte gets Home in additional capacity

Sanjay Kumar, who takes over at a time when the state is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, said that effective implementation of virus control measures, revival of the economy and planning for the kharif season will be on his priority list.

Sanjay Kumar (left) takes over from Ajoy Mehta as Maharashtra’s new Chief Secretary on Tuesday. (Express photo)

Sanjay Kumar, an IAS officer of the 1984-batch, took over as Maharashtra’s new chief secretary on Tuesday after incumbent Ajoy Mehta’s extended tenure finally ended.

Kumar, who takes over at a time when the state is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, said that effective implementation of virus control measures, revival of the economy and planning for the kharif season will be on his priority list.

Set to attain superannuation in February 2021, Kumar – seen as a low-profile bureaucrat – will have at least an eight-month stint.

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Mehta, also from the 1984-batch, meanwhile, will now move on to his next role as the Principal Advisor to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, a post specially created for him. He had a 13-month tenure as the chief secretary, where he was at the helm of the administration of three different governments and wielded considerable authority in the chair.

While Mehta was originally supposed to retire on September 30, 2019, he received a couple of extensions before the tenure eventually ended on Tuesday. With Uddhav heavily relying on him for administrative decisions, sources said that Mehta will continue to hold considerable sway in the bureaucracy even in this new avatar.

“In wake of the pandemic, the wide ranging and long administrative experience of the Mehta will come in handy for revival of the economy, the industry and to push administrative reforms,” a press communication from the CMO issued last week had stated. Mehta also shares a good rapport with NCP president Sharad Pawar, seen as the architect of the ruling coalition.

The change at the top will also result in a major reshuffle in senior bureaucracy. Before taking over as the chief secretary, Kumar was holding the charge of the state Home secretary, while also serving as the Housing secretary on a full-time basis.

On Tuesday, Additional Chief Secretary (General Administration) Sitaram Kunte was given the additional charge of the Home department. Sources said Uddhav may soon appoint him to the post. S V R Srinivas, Principal Secretary (Information Technology) and CEO of the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority, meanwhile, has been given the charge of the Housing department in additional capacity.

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