NEW DELHI: With two of its senior officials set to retire by January 2019, the Union government is planning a bureaucratic reshuffle in the Ministry of Finance ahead of the general elections.
Two separate sources, in the Department of Personnel (DoPT) and Training and in Finance Ministry, have confirmed this.
“Expect bureaucratic reshuffle in the Ministry of Finance by the end of October or first week of November. The department is already in the process of shortlisting candidates. The government has also asked for recommendations from the states,” a senior official from DoPT told TNIE on condition of anonymity.
Currently, Hasmukh Adhia, who is Secretary (Finance) and also Secretary (Revenue), is set to retire in November this year. A senior IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre, Adhia remains one of the most trusted aides of the Modi government. Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, will also retire on January 2019.
While a search is on to fill up these two vacancies, Finance Ministry officials said the name of a senior IAS official from Gujarat cadre is doing the rounds, who, according to them, is a strong contender for the post of finance secretary.
“As per initial discussions, name of a senior IAS official is doing the rounds. However, it is too early to speculate. There may be last-minute changes,” a top official from Finance Ministry said.
The government’s preference for Gujarat cadre officials is nothing new. There has been a host of other bureaucrats in top positions on Raisina Hill. In May this year, the Centre appointed Atanu Chakraborty, a Gujarat cadre IAS officer, as the new secretary at Department of Investment and Public Asset Management after the superannuation of Neeraj Kumar Gupta in April.
However, the reshuffle will on all levels, added the official. Even when the government is looking at lateral hiring for the post of Joint Secretary in the Finance Ministry, the process is expected to take time. “The process for lateral hiring will take at least four to five months as the process will be stricter and properly scrutinised,” the Finance Ministry official said.