THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government seems to be in a fix over the appointment of the next chief secretary of the state. With barely a month remaining for Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson to retire, the government is yet to take a final call on who should be given the job. But Cabinet meeting on Wednesday could put an end to the uncertainty over the same.
Though Jiji Thomson has expressed his desire to continue for some more time in view of the forthcoming Assembly polls it’s learnt that the government is yet to make up its mind. Another bureaucrat who is currently on Central deputation has expressed his willingness to return to the state. With elections nearing, the government is cautious in taking any decision. Jiji is due to retire on February 29. It is for the state government to take a call and recommend the Centre to grant him the extension.
“It’s learnt that the government is yet to write to the Union government on it. Since the processing will take some time, if the government is interested in giving an extension it should be done now,” said a senior bureaucrat. The Cabinet meet on Wednesday is expected to look into the matter and take a decision. If Jiji retires in February, seniority-wise the next in line is Additional Chief Secretary P K Mohanty, currently Director General of IMG. If considered for the post, Mohanty would have a short tenure as he’s due to retire on April 30. Since elections would be around that time, the model code of conduct will be in effect. Next official in line - and one of most probable choices - is Union Panchayat Raj Secretary S M Vijayanand. He has already expressed his willingness to come back to Kerala. The 1981 batch official has communicated to the state govt that he would return to the state if considered for the post. “The Kerala government has always - other than on very rare occasions in the 80s - gone by seniority in appointing the top bureaucrat.
Going by this practice, the government may call S M Vijayanand, if Jiji Thomson is not granted an extension. Three chief secretaries in the recent past - Jose Cyriac, E K Bharat Bhushan and Jiji Thomson - were called to the state from deputation,” sources said.
If posted Vijayanand will have a tenure till March 2017. Home Secretary Nalini Netto is the next in line. Jiji Thomson told ‘Express’, that the state government has to take a final decision.
The wait continues
➤ With barely a month remaining for Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson to retire, the government is yet to take a final call on who should be given the job
➤ Though Jiji Thomson has expressed his desire to continue for some more time in view of the forthcoming Assembly polls it’s learnt that the government is yet to make up its mind