Govt replaces telecom secretary amid talk of spectrum auction

The government on Friday reshuffled the portfolios of 10 secretaries, including those for telecom and IT departments.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet cleared the name of JS Deepak, a 1982-batch Indian Administrative Services officer who is currently IT secretary, for the post of telecom secretary. Deepak replaces Rakesh Garg, who was shifted to the ministry of minority affairs.

Deepak, an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, has previously served as an additional secretary in the department of commerce where he was India's chief negotiator at the World Trade Organization. He also negotiated on a free trade agreement between India and the European Union.

The appointment comes at a time when the government is considering plans to auction spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands. The auction, if successful, will help the government garner capital and move closer to meeting its fiscal deficit target.

Deepak has had experience of spectrum auctions in the past and is credited with the 2010 e-auction that garnered Rs 1.07 lakh crore for the government.

The government also appointed Aruna Sharma, a 1982-batch officer of the Madhya Pradesh, as IT secretary. Changes were also made in the department of agriculture, Employees Provident Fund Organisation and the National Commission of Schedule Castes.

The reshuffled came a week after the government appointed Atulesh Jindal as the new chief of Central Board of Direct Taxes.

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