Topno, a 1996 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre who was already working as Director in the Prime Minister's Office, has been appointed Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, according to an official order issued today .
IAS officers Sameer Verma and B V R C Purushottam have been appointed PS to Uma Bharati, Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and M Venkaiah Naidu, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, respectively.
Verma is a 2002 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre and Purushottam is a 2004 batch IAS officer of Uttarakhand cadre.
The orders for appointment of Verma and Purushottam were issued yesterday following approval of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC). Their tenure will be co-terminus with that of the ministers, the order said.
A controversy has erupted after the appointment of PS to three Union Minister, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, a decision which was put on hold.
Rajnath Singh has proposed IPS officer Alok Singh, who had served in the same capacity to Salman Khurshid as External Affairs Minister during UPA rule, as his PS. However, Alok Singh's appointment was not cleared by Modi, official sources said.
The appointment of private secretaries of Ministers of States for Home Kiren Rijiju and MoS for External Affairs V K Singh --Abhinav Kumar and Rajesh has also been not cleared, the sources said.
Abhinav was private secretary to Minister of State Shashi Tharoor and Rajesh was PS to Cabinet Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch in the UPA government.
Sources said the government is against allowing PS to the UPA government's ministers to work as personal staff of the ministers in NDA government.
Earlier this month, IAS officer Manoj Kumar Dwivedi was appointed as PS to Kalraj Mishra, Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Dwivedi is a 1997 batch IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre. Dwivedi was working as Director in DoPT.
Ashish Chatterjee, a 1999 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, was on June 13 appointed as PS to Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Santosh Kumar Mall, a 1997 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, has been appointed as PS to Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
The government has asked all ministries to take prior approval of ACC before appointing PS and Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to a minister.
DoPT has also directed all departments under it to identify and ensure availability of deputy secretary or director-level officers who could be private secretaries to the new ministers untill the appointment of a regular PS.