The government approved the appointment of West Bengal cadre and 1982 batch officer Sanjay Mitra as the next defence secretary of the country.

He will get a fixed tenure of two years as the defence secretary.

Mitra, who was holding the charge of secretary in the ministry of road transport and highways till now, has been appointed officer-on-special-duty in the defence ministry and will assume charge on May 24 when incumbent G Mohan Kumar retires.

The defence ministry brought out its new procurement policy during Kumar’s tenure but without a key chapter on the strategic partnership model to identify Indian firms that can forge alliances with foreign defence contractors to build high-tech defence systems in the country.

Some of the key deals sealed during his term include contracts for Rafale warplanes, Chinook heavy-lift choppers, Apache attack helicopters, advanced medium-range surface-to-air missiles and M777 ultra-light howitzers.

However, plans to buy new anti-tank guided missiles, very short-range air defence systems, light machine guns, new assault rifles and other weapons are yet to materialise.

The implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme and the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission report for the armed forces also caused a great deal of heartache in the armed forces. The budget allocation for the armed forces was also not in line with military’s expectations and insufficient to power its modernisation drive.

India’s two surgical strikes into Myanmar in 2015 and in PoK a year later took place during his term.

Shipping secretary Rajive Kumar has been given the additional charge of the post of secretary, road transport and highways.

Other appointments

Another notable appointment cleared by the government on Wednesday is that of Anant Kumar Singh, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh, who has been appointed as the secretary in the textiles ministry in place of Rashmi Verma who moves to the similar position in the ministry of tourism.

Anant Singh is the first officer from the 1984 batch to get the secretary-level appointment among all the empanelled officers.

Singh, while working as the additional secretary in the home ministry, was transferred to the ministry of petroleum following the sacking of then home secretary LC Goyal early in the fixed tenure of two years.

The appointments committee of the cabinet has also approved Rajiv Srivastava, a 1981 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, to be the next secretary in the ministry of woman and child development where incumbent Leena Nair has moved to ministry of tribal affairs.

The appointments panel, that consists of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, has also approved Jagdish Prasad Meena for the post of secretary in the department of consumer affairs. At present,he is serving as the special secretary in the ministry of food processing industries.

Electronics and information technology secretary Aruna Sundararajan will hold the additional charge of secretary, department of telecommunications, till the appointment of a regular incumbent, the order said.

The government has also appointed Jammu and Kashmir cadre and 1984 batch BR Sharma as additional secretary in the home ministry, a vacancy caused due to abrupt transfer of M Gopal Reddy to his parent cadre of Madhya Pradesh.

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