New Delhi: Rajiv Gauba, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1982 Jharkhand batch, took over as India’s cabinet secretary on Friday after the superannuation of Pradeep Kumar Sinha, a 1977 batch Uttar Pradesh-cadre IAS officer.
Gauba, earlier secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, joined the cabinet secretariat as an officer on special duty (OSD) and subsequently assumed the position of cabinet secretary — the most powerful position in the country’s civil service.
While the position is for two years, under the current rules of service, there is an enabling provision of an extension, granting four years of tenure.
Gauba, a physics graduate from the Patna University, takes over the critical post at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has scrapped Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, with tension spilling over into the valley.
Born in Punjab in 1958, Gauba had replaced Rajiv Mehrishi as the union home secretary. He was chief secretary of Jharkhand for 15 months before joining the urban development ministry on 1 April 2016. He also served as the collector and district magistrate of Nalanda, Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts in the undivided state of Bihar.
Gauba has also been credited as being the architect of labour reforms in Jharkhand and bringing down violence in left wing extremism (LWE)-affected areas in the mineral-rich state. He was also lauded for the work done by him during his stint in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Gauba’s appointment also comes in the backdrop of the government resetting rules of engagement specifically with reference to the IAS, which Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel famously called the “steel frame” of the government apparatus.