Days ahead of the beginning of budget exercise, the government late Monday appointed Prashant Goyal, a 1993 UT cadre IAS officer, as joint secretary in charge of Budget, replacing Rajat Bhargava.
Bhargava, 51, a 1990 batch IAS officer of AP cadre, was holding the post since April 24, 2012. He has been transferred as joint secretary in the ministry of water resources to serve the remaining period of his five-year central deputation which will end on April 23, 2017.
The post of JS (budget) is the key piece in the Centre’s budget making exercise, giving it a higher profile than other similar posts in the central government. So, departure of Bhargava as JS (budget) in the middle of his central deputation, has surprised some officers in the North Block.
Prashant Goyal, 48, is currently serving as the power secretary in the Goa government. In his earlier central deputation during 2005-2010, Goyal had worked as a deputy secretary and later as director in ministry of commerce. He is a graduate in engineering and a post graduate in economics.
With Shaktikanta Das, 58, a 1980 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, taking charge as economic affairs secretary on Monday, the latest move completes the process of putting a core new team for the next budget in February. Das, who was revenue secretary in the finance ministry, is an experienced hand in the department of economic affairs. He was joint secretary/additional secretary in charge of Centre’s budget for four years between 2009 and 2012 in the department. Das replaced economic affairs secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who was appointed as home secretary hours before his retirement on August 31.
On August 28, the Narenda Modi government executed a major shake-up in the bureaucracy with appointment/reshuffle of 16 secretary level posts. Besides Das, they included appointment of financial services secretary Hasmukh Adhia, 57, a 1981 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, as revenue secretary and corporate affairs secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal, 58, a Punjab cadre IAS officer of 1981 batch, as financial services secretary.
Finance Ministry is slated to start consultations Budget with different government departments from September 4. The consultations would focus on expenditure proposals for FY17 and revised estimates for FY16. Later, consultations would be held with several interest groups like industry, economists, traders, farmers and trade unions, among others, to finalise budget proposals for FY17.