Rajiv Topno to be senior advisor at World Bank, Navnit India’s ambassador to WTO

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Published: June 5, 2020 1:50 AM

Navnit, a 1999-batch officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, will replace JS Deepak as the ambassador to the Permanent Mission for India (PMI) at the WTO in Geneva.

Topno, a 1996-batch bureaucrat of the Gujarat cadre who is the private secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be a senior advisor at the Washington-based World Bank

The government has cleared appointments of senior IAS officers Rajiv Topno and Brajendra Navnit, both of whom have served at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), to the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO), respectively.

Topno, a 1996-batch bureaucrat of the Gujarat cadre who is the private secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be a senior advisor at the Washington-based World Bank, according to an office memorandum of the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, issued on Thursday.

Navnit, a 1999-batch officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, will replace JS Deepak as the ambassador to the Permanent Mission for India (PMI) at the WTO in Geneva.

The appointments come at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the global economy into its worst recession since the Great Depression in 1930s and ravaged world trade. The WTO has already warned of a massive 13-32% contraction in global trade in 2020.

As such, the dispute appellate mechanism of the WTO has remained crippled since November 2019, as the US has blocked the appointment of judges. The WTO’s role in fostering rule-based, multilateral trading system has already come under attack from the US, while trade war between Washington and Beijing and growing protectionism across many countries have weighed on the trade propsects worldwide.

Nevertheless, as two key global institutions, the World Bank and the WTO are expected to help economies recover from the growth slump and improve trade. The World Bank has, since April, approved aid of $1 billion to help bolster India’s Covid-19 response.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also approved certain other appointments on Thursday.
Ravi Kota, an IAS officer of the 1993 batch of the Assam and Meghalaya cadre, has been appointed as minister (finance) at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC. At present, Kota is serving as a joint secretary in the 15th Finance Commission. Anwar Hussain Shaik, a 2000-batch Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, has been appointed under Navnit as the counsellor in the PMI to the WTO.

Similarly, Lekhan Thakkar will join as a counsellor (economic) at the Indian embassy in Beijing. H Atheli has been appointed an advisor to the executive director at the Asian Development Bank at Manila. N Ashok Kumar, a 2000-batch IAS officer, will serve as an advisor (industry and engineering) at the Indian embassy in Brussels.

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