Govt amends 60-year-old rule to grant 3-month extension to cabinet secy

Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha

The Centre has amended a 60-year-old rule to grant three-month extension to Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha.

A cabinet secretary is appointed for a fixed tenure of two years.

According to All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement-Benefits) Rules, 1958, the government can give extension in service to a cabinet secretary provided the total tenure does not exceed four years. According to the modified rules notified Friday, the central government may give an extension in service for a further period not exceeding three months, beyond the period of four years to a cabinet secretary.

Soon after the changes in the rule, the government announced three-month extension to Sinha, making him the longest-serving bureaucrat in the post in the country's history. This is the third extension given to Sinha, whose tenure was increased by one-year each in 2017 and 2018.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved extension in service to Sinha for three months, beyond June 12, 2019, said the Personnel Ministry order issued Friday. Sinha was appointed cabinet secretary, the top post in the country's bureaucracy, in May 2015, for a fixed two-year term.

Before him, Y N Sukthankar served as the cabinet secretary for the longest duration from May 14, 1953 to July 31, 1957. He later became Odisha Governor. N R Pillai was the first cabinet secretary and served from February 6, 1950 to May 13, 1953.

Besides them, Ajit Kumar Seth and K M Chandrasekhar held the post for four years each. While Seth was cabinet secretary from June 14, 2011 to June 13, 2015, Chandrasekhar was from June 14, 2007 to June 13, 2011. Sinha, a 1977-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, earlier served as the power secretary. He has also worked in several other important positions in the Union government and in his cadre state.

The cabinet secretariat is under the direct charge of the prime minister. The administrative head of the secretariat is the cabinet secretary who is also the ex-officio chairman of the civil services board.

The cabinet secretariat assists in decision-making in government by ensuring inter-ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst ministries or departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing or ad hoc committees of secretaries.

Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of various ministries in such a situation is also one of the functions of the cabinet secretariat.

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