Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick is retiring this month-end. But the staff in the state’s protocol department, with whom he shares a special bond, weren’t going to let him leave just like that. This past week, they threw a special farewell ceremony in his honour. Those present say it was an evening to remember, with the staffers pouring out their love and respect for their outgoing ‘chief’. Mullick, who was accompanied by his wife, was understandably emotional and teary-eyed. Before taking over as the state’s chief executive, he had spent nine years as the department’s head.
Top 50 Race
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned to ensure India enters the top 50 in the global ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking. A team of senior bureaucrats — led by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek — will leave for the World Bank’s (WB) headquarters in Washington on April 29 to showcase the various reforms undertaken by India for improvement in the overall business climate. Mumbai civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta, who will also be a part of the team, is expected to highlight the various measures taken in streamlining the building permits system in the commercial capital. A WB team will later visit Mumbai and Delhi for performance assessment.
Probe Set To Begin
Over two and a half months after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the formation of a two-member committee — headed by former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice J N Patel — for probing the Bhima Koregaon violence, investigations are finally about to commence. The probe panel, which comprises the outgoing chief secretary, is scheduled to hold its first meeting in Pune on April 27. It is learnt that the process of allocating office space to the inquiry commission in Mumbai has also been fast-tracked.
Next In Line
Urvinder Pal Singh Madan, a 1983-batch IAS officer, will be the state’s next Finance Secretary, with incumbent Dinesh Kumar Jain (also 1983 batch) all set to be elevated to the Chief Secretary’s post on Mullick’s retirement. It is learnt that R A Rajeev (1987 batch) remains the frontrunner to succeed Madan in MMRDA. While the CMO is expected to retain Mumbai civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta (1984) and Thane civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal (1996) in their current roles for now, a change of guard is in the offing in the revenue, public works, industries and school education departments. There is hectic lobbying for these positions.
It has been in the offing for some time now. Sources have indicated that the much-anticipated move of 1990-batch IAS officer Dr Bhushan Gagarani joining the Chief Minister’s Office might happen in the upcoming bureaucratic reshuffle towards the end of the month. Gagarani, who presently heads CIDCO, is widely regarded as a bureaucrat who shares a good rapport with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The names of Lokesh Chandra (1993) and Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar (1992) are doing the rounds to succeed Gagarani in CIDCO.
Political meddling in transfers and postings of bureaucrats has intensified in the run-up to the 2019 polls. Tales abound in the corridors of power on how a Minister of State (MoS) played a role in the abrupt transfer of Sindhudurg Collector Uday Chaudhari (2010) to Aurangabad this past week. While Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had originally posted Sunil Chauhan (2007) as Collector (Aurangabad), sources confirmed that opposition from a BJP heavyweight had led to the cancellation of this order. Another MoS is believed to have secured Sudhakar Shinde’s (2007, IRS) sudden transfer from the Panvel civic chief’s post. Some senior bureaucrats have expressed concern over excessive political interference.
With Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hinting at the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle, some of his ministers aren’t taking it so easy. It is learnt that some of the “underperformers”, whose names have cropped up in the media as the ones who could be shown the door, have pulled up their socks. A couple of ministers, who have been rather irregular in Mantralaya, showed up this past week. Another “underperformer” called a department meeting, egging his officials to push reforms. Meanwhile, Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde has added another feather to her cap, with her department being rewarded by the Centre for using technology to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system in the state.
Compiled by Sandeep Ashar