New Delhi, Jan.27 (ANI): Winds of change are blowing through the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), and according to insiders, the catalyst behind these changes is Pulok Chatterjee, the Prime Minister's new Principal Secretary.
Among the changes are the expected appointment of B.V.R. Subrahmanium as Joint Secretary (Administration). He was Chatterjee's advisor when the former was on an assignment with the World Bank. Sources said Subrahmanium is likely to replace Vinni Mahajan whose tenure comes to an end in March. It maybe recalled that Subrahmanium served as private secretary to Dr.Manmohan Singh during the UPA I regime (2004-09).
PMO insiders believe Chatterjee's style of functioning is different to that of his predecessor T.K.A. Nair. Chaterjee, they say, is more assertive, a quick decision maker and is well known for his out of the box ideas. Nair, on the other hand, acquired a reputation for being persuasive, accommodative and for being a more copy book-styled bureaucrat.
It is believed that Chatterjee is more empowered than Nair, as enjoys the confidence of the Prime Minister and 10 Janpath in equal measure. Nonetheless, Nair continues to be an advisor to the Prime Minister.
Last year, at a time when the country's economic sector was passing through a choppy phase, a need was felt for streamlining the decision-making process. Going forward on this issue, the Prime Minister's Office has established a Committee of Secretaries (to the Government of India) which Chatterjee heads. The committee includes the Secretaries of Power, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Coal, Environment and Finance. They have been entrusted with the responsibility of coming up with an action plan to address the short and long term concerns of the power and coal sectors.
Insiders reveal that Chatterjee has infused new energy and expediency in the PMO, which in the recent past, drew the ire of industry leaders for its inaction and policy paralysis.
Chatterjee's prime responsibility is also to streamline activity related to the core areas of UPA II, which have been identified by the Prime Minister. These thrust areas include the Lokpal Bill, electoral reforms, gram nyayalayas, a proposed public procurement law, land acquisition, climate change missions, recommendations of administrative reforms commissions, malnutrition, skill development training, a follow-up on the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee recommendations on Centre-State relations, widening of health insurance coverage, establishment of an effective cold chain infrastructure for agriculture, the implementation of the NHDP, more effective coal distribution and improvements in the fertilizer sectors, besides development-linked programmes for the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.
Chatterjee likes to keep a low profile, while at the same time being keen to project the work done by the Prime Minister's Office.
The Prime Minister's Office going on social media sites like Twitter is another reflection of the changes taking place. It has been learnt that there will be increased media interaction with the PMO from now on. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)
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