NEW DELHI: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by the PM Narendra Modi, has cleared appointments of the three officials for the President's Secretariat. While the two bureaucrats Sanjay Kothari and Bharat Lal are known to be favourites of PM Narendra Modi, senior journalist Ashok Malik who has been appointed as press secretary to the President is known to be BJP loyalist.
Sanjay Kothari, chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board, has been appointed as Secretary to President-elect Ram Nath Kovind. Kothari is known for taking unique initiative of encouraging self-certification in place of attestations and affidavits when he used to be secretary at the Department of Administrative Reforms and Grievances (DARPG). His idea was subsequently implemented by the NDA government in August 2014. Impressed with his work, government in July 2014 named the 1978-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre as secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) from where he retired in June last year. He was in November 2016 appointed as the chief of the government's head-hunter the PESB.
Similarly, Bharat Lal, Gujarat’s resident commissioner in New Delhi having his office at Gujarat Bhavan is known to be close aide of the PM when he used to be Gujarat CM. During the initial days of Modi taking over as PM, Lal used to shuttle between PMO and Gujarat Bhavan in New Delhi. The Senior Gujarat-cadre forest service officer will be Joint Secretary to the President- elect.
Senior journalist Ashok Malik has been named as Press Secretary to Kovind. Currently, he is Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation--a policy think tank. He is a senior political analyst in Delhi and also known to be as BJP loyalist.
In another move, 35 IAS officers have been appointed as secretaries and additional secretaries in various central government departments as part of a major bureaucratic reshuffle. Most of these officers, who were working as joint or additional secretaries, have been promoted either in the same departments or moved to new ministry.
Usha Sharma, a 1985-batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, has been appointed as director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Currently, she is additional secretary in the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.
Manoj Kumar, chief vigilance officer of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), will be additional secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, additional secretary in the Department of Commerce, has been appointed Director General Foreign Trade.