The government on Friday extended by two months the tenure of finance secretary Ratan Watal, as it prepares to present the budget for 2016-17.

Watal, a 1978 batch IAS officer, was set to retire at the end of February. His term will now end on April 30.

The Narendra Modi government will present its second full-term budget on February 29.

Watal had taken over as the finance secretaryin August last year in place of Rajiv Mehrishi, who was transferred to the home ministry.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet also cleared the appointment of Ramesh Abhishek, a 1982-batch officer from Bihar, as secretary in the department of industrial policy and promotion.

Abhishek will replace Amitabh Kant, a 1980-batch Kerala cadre IAS officer who has the post since March 2014 and will be moving on to become the CEO of NITI Aayog, the government think tank that had replaced the Planning Commission.

Girish Shankar has been named secretary in the heavy industry department to replace Rajan S Katoch

Meanwhile, Girish Shankar, another 1982-batch IAS officer, will take charge as secretary in the heavy industry department from Rajan S Katoch, a 1979-batch IAS officer who is retiring on February 29.

There have been many changes in bureaucratic circles in the past year, including the appointment of a new telecom secretary, a divestment secretary and the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

All eyes will now be on the government after the budget as Prime Minister Modi is widely expected to reshuffle his cabinet of ministers. News agency Reuters last month reported that the government might be looking to replace finance minister Arun Jaitley with coal minister Piyush Goyal after the budget.

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