J S Deepak to replace Garg as telecom secy

Telecom secretary Rakesh Garg, a 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Uttar Pradesh (UP) cadre, has been moved out to minority affairs as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle on Friday, ten months ahead of his retirement

The development comes at a time when the telecom sector is tackling the issue of call drops and ahead of a mega spectrum auction in the next financial year.

J S Deepak, another UP cadre IAS officer of 1982 batch, will take over as the new telecom secretary. Deepak was serving as Secretary - IT.

This will be Deepak’s second stint in the telecom ministry. In his earlier posting as joint secretary – telecom in 2010, he was credited with the smooth auction of 3G and broadband wireless access spectrum, which brought Rs 1.06 lakh crore revenue to the exchequer. Besides, in 2012, Deepak was roped in to handle 2G spectrum auction after the Supreme Court cancelled 121 2G licences given out during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja.

Deepak’s inputs were taken for the more recent coal block auctions, too. Deepak holds an MSc degree in electronics from Banglore University and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad. The telecom ministry has been in the line of fire over the issue of call drops reaching alarming levels. The ministry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and telecom players have been meeting regularly to sort out various factors leading to call drops.

While the government has been blaming operators for not investing in network, telcos have been citing lack of spectrum and non-availability of sites to install towers as the main reasons. The government is planning to conduct a mega spectrum auction in May/June this year, hoping to earn around Rs 6 lakh crore.

Garg was made telecom secretary in July 2014. Apparently, the Prime Minister’s office has been upset over the handling of call drops situation. According to sources, Garg sought a transfer citing family issues.

However, it could not be confirmed independently. The other appointments in the reshuffle include that of Aruna Sharma, a I982 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, who is taking over as IT secretary in Deepak's place.

Another change is in the agriculture ministry, where Shobhana K Pattanayak, a 1982 batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre, is taking over as secretary to replace Siraj Hussain, a 1979 batch IAS from UP cadre. Hussain is retiring from the post.

BIG SECRETARY-LEVEL SHIFTS UNDER NDA

Jun ‘14: Rajiv Takru (1979 Gujarat cadre IAS) shunted from the post of revenue secretary to Department of North East

Sep ‘14: Takru moved to National Commission of Minorities as secretary

Oct ‘14: Arvind Mayaram (1978 Rajasthan cadre IAS) shifted from finance secretary to tourism secretary

Oct ‘14: Mayaram moved from tourism to minority affairs secretary

Nov ‘14: GS Sandhu (1980 Rajasthan cadre IAS) made chairman National Authority for Chemical Weapon Convention, from the the post of financial services secretary

Feb ‘15: Anil Goswami (1978 J&K cadre IAS) told to resign as home secretary

Aug ‘15: LC Goyal (1979 Kerala cadre IAS) moved from the post of home secretary to CMD, Indian Trade Promotion Organisation

Aug ‘15: Rajiv Mehrishi (1978 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS) appointed home secretary, from the post of  economic affairs secretary

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