Days before the beginning of the Budget exercise, the government on Monday appointed Prashant Goyal, a 1993-Union territory cadre IAS officer, as joint secretary (JS) in charge of the Budget, replacing Rajat Bhargava.
Bhargava, 51, a 1990-batch IAS officer of the 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 the departure of Bhargava as JS (Budget), in the middle of his central deputation, has surprised some officers in the North Block.
Goyal, 48, is currently serving as 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 the 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 the Tamil Nadu cadre, taking charge as economic affairs secretary on Monday, the latest move completes the process of putting a new core team for the Budget in February.
The government executed a major shake-up in the bureaucracy with the 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 the Gujarat cadre, as revenue secretary and corporate affairs secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal, 58, a Punjab cadre IAS officer of the 1981 batch, as financial services secretary.
The finance ministry is slated to start consultations on the 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.