Tuesday, October 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Yogendra Narain new Defence Secy
Prasad tipped as Cabinet Secretary
From T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct 9 — Mr K. Sibal, presently who is serving as India’s Ambassador in Paris and strongly tipped to be the next Foreign Secretary, is being posted here as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr Sibal will initially step into Mr K.V. Rajan’s shoes who attains the age of superannuation on March 31 next year. Mr Rajan is currently Secretary (east) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Foreign office watchers view Mr Sibal’s posting back at the headquarters in the imposing South Block housing the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of External Affairs as a prelude to being elevated as Foreign Secretary. He is expected to replace Mr Lalit Mansingh, an Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1963 batch who is due to retire in April 2001.

Mr Sibal, who is of the 1966 batch of the IFS, has done ambassadorial assignments in France, Egypt and Turkey besides being the Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington DC. He has also done a stint in the subcontinent in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is the brother of noted jurist and Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

If Mr Sibal succeeds Mr Mansingh, some senior career diplomats will be superseded. IFS officers of the 1964 and 1965 batches will be left by the wayside in the race for the coveted Foreign Secretary’s job.

If the National Democratic Alliance government formally clears Mr Sibal’s appointment as Foreign Secretary then he will have a tenure of a shade over two and a half years. He is due to retire in November 2003.

A formal announcement by the government of Mr Sibal being appointed Secretary in the MEA was made here today.

Simultaneously, the government said that Defence Secretary T.R. Prasad will join as Officer on Special Duty in the Cabinet Secretariat 10 days later on October 20 before taking over as the country’s foremost civil servant on November 1.

Mr Yogendra Narain (IAS-1965) belonging to the Uttar Pradesh cadre will replace Mr Prasad as the new Defence Secretary.

Mr Prasad, a 1963 batch officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, succeeds Mr Prabhat Kumar as Cabinet Secretary. It is a rare coincidence that two officers of the same 1963 batch will serve as the top most civil servant in the country. Unless granted an extension so that Mr Prasad gets to serve at least one year as Cabinet Secretary, he will have a tenure of just nine months before the age of superannuation on July 31, 2001.

The Cabinet Committee on Appointments also cleared the elevation of such bureaucrats as Additional Secretaries. Mrs Reva Nayyar (Haryana — 1968) has been made member secretary of the National Commission for Women in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary. Dr S.K. Pachauri (Andhra Pradesh — 1968) has been upgraded as Additional Secretary in the present post of Secretary, Liberhan Commission of Inquiry.

Others promoted as Additional Secretaries are as follows: Mr S.C. Tripathi (Uttar Pradesh — 1968) — Ministry of Mines; Mr P.K. Hota (Orissa — 1969) — Department of Commerce; Mr A.K. Saxena (Rajasthan — 1969) — Department of Economic Affairs; Mr M.S. Pandit (Jammu and Kashmir — 1969) — Director General of Supply and Disposal; Mr P.S.S. Thomas (Karnataka — 1969) — Adviser in the Planning Commission; Mr A.N. Tiwari (Andhra Pradesh — 1969) — Additional Secretary in the present post of Secretary to the Vice-President; Mr S.K. Purkayastha (Andaman and Nicobar — 1969) — Department of Agriculture and Cooperation in place of Mrs Sathi Nair who completes her extended tenure on October 23; Mr Ajay Prasad (Himachal Pradesh — 1969) — Department of Defence; Mr L.V. Saptharishi (West Bengal — 1969) — Department of Commerce; and Mrs Chitra Chopra (Rajasthan — 1969) —Department of Culture in place of Mr Aun Kshetrapal who has proceeded on long leave.

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