Indian bureaucracy is experiencing a change of guard.
There was a time when Kerala or Malayalee lobby had a virtual stronghold on the Indian bureaucracy. Kerela Cadre Officers held almost all the important posts in Delhi. They still do. Even now some 45 IAS, 28 IPS, and 15 IFS officers of the Kerala cadre are occupying the plum posts at the Central deputation. As a result, Kerela itself is facing a shortage of officers for key IAS, IFS and IPS posts.
Sir N. R. Pillai a Keralite became the second Secretary General, Ministry of External Affairs and the first Cabinet Secretary of Independent India (from February 6, 1950 until May 13, 1953).
But all said and done the best phase for Kerela was during the fag end of Rajiv Gandhi’s regime and beginning part of Manmohan Singh’s term as the prime minister.
As things stand, over a dozen UP cadre officers are handling economic departments like Shipping, Air India, Commerce, Coal, Urban Development, Petroleum and Natural Gas and Water Resources in the Narendra Modi government.
Balvinder Kumar, a 1981-batch IAS officer, is vice-chairman of Delhi Development Authority. Rajeev Kapoor, a 1983-batch officer, is Director, LBSA Mussoorie while Rohit Nandan, another UP cadre officer is CMD Air India.
Pradeep Kumar Sinha, a 1977 batch UP cadre IAS officer was lucky to step into the shoes of Ajit Kumar Seth another UP cadre officer– who retired after a four-year stint as Cabinet Secretary- the top most post in Indian bureaucracy.
You may call it destiny, but P.K. Sinha whose birthday falls on 18th July just received the most precious and well-deserved birthday gift of a lifetime- one month-in-advance. Sinha is now the 31st Cabinet Secretary of India.
But that is where luck comes in as had he not made it the head of bureaucracy he would have retired on July 31.
He would go on to adorn the cabinet Secretary’s bungalow – No. 32, Prithviraj Road till June 13, 2017. Maybe more if he gets an extension for four years like some of his predecessors- BK Chaturvedi, KM Chandrasekhar and Ajit Seth. Seth, a 1974-batch UP cadre IAS officer, was due to retire on June 13, 2013 but the UPA government gave him a one-year extension. The Modi government too, obliged by giving him two had six-month extensions.
An alumnus of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi with PG in Economics and MPhil in social sciences Sinha’s 36-year-old career comprises of two halves- first in the state and the second at the centre.
The initial years in the IAS saw him posted as Asst Collector in Allahabad and Aligarh before shifting to Planning and Dy Secy to the CM. The next phase saw his posted as Collector Jaunpur, Joint Secretary Home, Deputy Secretary Power, Collector and DM Agra, Vice Chairman Meerut Development Authority, Secretary Uttaranchal Development Authority and Commissioner Varanasi.
It was followed by a five-year stint at the centre in the department of youth affairs & Sports before moving on as Additional CEO of Greater Noida Authority.
What followed was a stint as Additional Resident Commissioner, Principal Secretary Irrigation, Joint Secretary & Financial Advisor M/o Petroleum & Natural Gas, Secretary (Shipping, Power) and OSD in Cabinet Secretariat.