Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth was given six months extension in service, just 12 days before he was supposed to retire, in an apparent move to ensure continuity by the new Narendra Modi government.
The extension of Seth, 62, was approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. This is second extension for Seth who was given one year extension by the previous UPA government last June.
The government has approved extension of Seth as Cabinet Secretary for a period of six months with effect from June 14 or till further orders, whichever is earlier, an official notification said.
The extension for Seth given by the new government is apparently to ensure continuity in view of the fact that it has to settle down quickly and start implementing the electoral promises and the need to prepare for the budget session of Parliament likely to be held in July.
Seth's extension virtually eliminates the chances of Sutanu Behuria, currently Secretary, Heavy Industry department and the senior most bureaucrat after Seth of becoming the Cabinet Secretary.
A 1976 batch IAS officer, Behuria, originally hailing from Odisha, is due to retire on July 31 this year.
This will leave Uttar Pradesh Cadre officers Power Secretary P K Sinha and Petroleum Secretary Saurabh Chandra among the front runners for the post of country's top bureaucrat is Seth lays down office after the six-month extension.
While Sinha is from 1977 batch, Chandra is a batch junior to him.