New Delhi: An overhaul of the top brass of Indian bureaucracy is on the anvil as a spate of retirements of top secretaries starts at the end of May.The next two months will witness a major reshuffle in the bureaucracy as new faces will take over the charge of Cabinet Secretary and the Secretary of some key government departments like Finance, Foreign Affairs and Home.

However, Uttar Pradesh cadre officer is likely to grab the most prestigious bureaucratic post of Cabinet Secretary.

Along with the news of Union Cabinet reshuffle, the report of major changes in the bureaucratic club of P5 is also doing the rounds.

Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar of 1970 batch, who has twice got extension at the behest of Prime Minister, is going to retire in the month of June. According to sources in the government, a UP cadre officer is most likely to grab the next Cabinet Secretary’s post even if seniority or preference is taken into consideration.

In this race, Ajit Kumar Seth, an IAS from Uttar Pradesh cadre, who is currently holding the post of Secretary, public grievances and co-ordination, has emerged as the front-runner. Another name which is being considered is that of Pulak Chatterjee who is close to the Gandhi-Nehru family. He is a 1974 batch IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre. Besides, the name of Bihar’s Chief SecretaryAnup Mukherjee is also in the race.

Since the tenure of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is also going to end in July, Indian Ambassador in Paris Ranjan Mathai and India’s Permanent Representative in United Nation Hardeep Puri have emerged as strong contenders to stake their claim for the plum post. According to sources, despite his ability Hardeep Puri’s past political links may prove to be a bottleneck in his path. Both the officers belong to the same cadre of 1974 IFS batch.

However, the appointment of Shiv Shankar Menon as Foreign Secretary in 2006, bypassing the seniority gives vent to several possibilities.

The retirement of Pradip Kumar, a 1972 batch IAS officer of Haryana cadre, from the post of Defense Secretary has given hopes to several aspirants, but the list is very limited as Defense Minister A K Anthony has given thrust on the ‘clean image’.

There is a strong possibility to repeat the example of Pradeep Kumar who was Secretary (production) prior to becoming the Secretary in 2009. In this context, the contention of 1975 batch IAS of Bihar cadre RK Singh is very strong, as he is now serving as Secretary (production), and has the experience of working with the Anthony’s team.

Besides, with the retirement of Home Secretary GK Pillai next month, Home Minister P Chidambaram has to find a new person for the post.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Sushma Nath’s retirement this month, an IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre Sumith Bose is expected to take over, as he is the senior most official in the Ministry after Sushma.

(JPN/ Bureau)