Rajiv Mehrishi named finance secretary

Nearly a month after being named as the secretary of department of economic affairs in the finance ministry, former Rajasthan chief secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has been formally designated as the finance secretary.

Finance secretary is an additional designation sported by the senior-most among the secretaries manning the five department of the finance ministry. It does not represent another job function but signifies the person who is first among equals in the most high profile bureaucratic unit of the central government.

The ministry of finance has five departments and separate secretaries for different units, including economic affairs, expenditure, revenue, financial services and disinvestment.

Last month the government shunted out Arvind Mayaram, who was both finance secretary and secretary, department of economic affairs, in the second significant shuffle of tops bureaucrats in the country by the new government which took over in May this year.

Mayaram, who was appointed as finance secretary as recently as April this year, was already serving as economic affairs secretary since 2012.

He was replaced by Mehrishi, another 1978 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer—the same as Mayaram.

Mehrishi was named chief secretary in Rajasthan in December 2013. Prior to that, he was secretary to government of India for overseas Indian affairs.

He has also been a special secretary to government in the department of agricultural research & education, ministry of agriculture and has held many other roles in various sectors.

Mayaram became the second senior bureaucrat to be shifted from the finance ministry after revenue secretary Rajiv Takru. Takru, who was appointed revenue secretary in April, was moved out in the run up to the first mid-term union budget presented by the new government. Fertiliser secretary Shaktikanta Das was named new revenue secretary in June.

More recently, Gurdial Singh Sandhu was moved from his role as financial services secretary to be replaced by Hasmukh Adhia, a 1981 Gujarat cadre IAS officer. This almost overhauls the top deck of the finance ministry ahead of the Union Budget preparation with three out of the four secretaries manning the key departments of the ministry have been changed under the new government.

Currently Ratan P Watal, who is expenditure secretary, is the only one among the previous four secretaries retaining his role at the finance ministry. The disinvestment department, which was led by three joint secretaries till September, got Aradhana Johri as a new secretary recently.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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