Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday appointed senior IAS officer Sumit Mullick as the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra to succeed Swadheen Kshatriya whose extended tenure ended on the same day. Mullick (58) is the third Dalit to reach the highest post in the state’s bureaucracy after PG Gavai (1979-82) and JP Dange (2009-11). Mullick was the Additional Chief Secretary of the protocol department — a post that he will continue to hold as full additional charge till further orders. He has 13 months of service left.
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Meanwhile, Fadnavis also rewarded Kshatriya with a prestigious post retirement posting. Kshatriya will be sworn in on Wednesday as Maharashtra’s first Chief Commissioner of the Right to Services, a post he is expected to hold for another five years.
Mullick’s elevation was preceded by some drama as a proposal for granting another two months extension to Kshatriya was also under consideration and sources revealed that the latter was upbeat about it. While Kshatriya had attained the age of superannuation in January, Fadnavis had earlier extended his tenure by a month citing local body polls in Maharashtra as the reason. But this time around the CM decided that the outgoing Chief Secretary hand over the baton to Mullick, who is the also senior most serving officer post Kshatriya’s retirement. He belongs to the 1982 batch.
After taking over charge from Kshatriya in the evening, Mullick recounted that he had previously served as a joint secretary in the Chief Secretary’s office as a young IAS officer two decades ago.
Mullick has previously served in various capacities after entering civil services in 1982. His first posting was that of an Assistant Collector in Nagpur. It was in 1989 when Mullick first bagged a posting in Mumbai as the Additional Collector (Urban Land Ceiling) before being deputed to the Sangli Collector’s post. He has also previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (2002), and was later appointed as the Secretary to former Maharashtra Governor Mohammed Fazal (2003). As a secretary in Mantralaya, Mullick has handled various portfolios including school education, social justice and special assistance, excise, the general administration. Since 2009 he had been handling the post of the state’s Chief Protocol Officer. In 2013 he was elevated to the Additional Chief Secretary rank.
Besides his administrative prowess, Mullick has a published novel to his credit. His book, Unkindest Cut, which was released in 2013, had ended up creating quite a stir in the police and bureaucratic circles amid intense speculation that the main characters of his novel bore stark resemblance to real-life characters and events that had unfolded around the time when he was serving as the Governor’s secretary. But Mullick has always maintained that novel was fictional.
The bureaucrat who claims his hobby is writing has a Bachelors of Arts degree in History. He has an MBA degree from IIM (Bangalore) and also has a post graduation degree in Economics and Development Studies from the Wales University.
Mullick formally took over charge as the state’s top bureaucrat around 5.30 pm. He said that his motto would be to “remain accessible.” Mullick also identified social and rural sector reforms and infrastructure as his key focus areas. Praising the outgoing Chief Secretary, Mullick said that he had learnt a lot under him and will always have the benefit of Kshatriya’s guidance.
Kshatriya, meanwhile, said that his 31-month tenure as the Chief Secretary— he was among the longest serving CSs in Maharashtra— was one of his “best periods” in civil services. “I’m very satisfied today,” Kshatriya said while pointing out that his administration had effectively mitigated challenges posed by successive drought spells during his tenure. Sounding upbeat about his new assignment of overseeing the implementation of the Right to Public Services Act, Kshatriya pointed out that the legislation in this regard was formulated and implemented during his tenure. “The CM has now given me the opportunity to oversee its implementation,” he said. Maharashtra government has so far notified 376 services under the Act. Kshatriya, however, admitted, “While there has been encouraging response to the reform in departments such as Revenue, Home, Rural Development, and Forests, there were some other departments where the reform was not yet up to the mark.” The Maharashtra government is still scouting for an office space for Kshatriya’s new assignment.
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