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Jaswant's Budget team in place
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | November 26, 2003 08:31 IST
The team that will prepare the Budget for 2004-05 is finally in place, with Finance Secretary DC Gupta being appointed secretary in the department of economic affairs.
D Swarup, additional secretary in the department of expenditure, has been promoted as officer on special duty in the same department. He will replace Gupta as expenditure secretary.
NS Sisodia, who was tipped to take over as DEA secretary, will continue as secretary, banking and insurance.
The key members of the Budget team, besides Gupta and Swarup, include Revenue Secretary Vineeta Rai and Chief Economic Adviser Ashok Lahiri. MMK Sardana is the secretary, department of company affairs.
In appointing Gupta DEA secretary, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh has restored the earlier convention of vesting the finance secretary with the charge of economic affairs.
Swarup's appointment as OSD, with the rank and pay of a secretary, follows a relaxation of rules in view of preparations for the Union Budget.
With this reshuffle, Singh has filled all the secretary-level posts in North Block. He has also ensured continuity in the ministry as both Gupta and Swarup were in charge of the broad areas that they have now been formally assigned.
Gupta, a 1967 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre was, in fact, handling the affairs of the DEA in the absence of an economic affairs secretary.
An Indian Audit and Accounts Services officer of the 1968 batch, Swarup was additional secretary in the Budget division, before he was made additional secretary, expenditure, and given additional charge of the Budget.
An officer of the level of additional secretary will soon be appointed in the Budget division to report to Swarup.
The reshuffle has taken place at a time when only a few meetings of the Expenditure Budget of various Central ministries are pending. While the Budget division under Swarup organises the expenditure meetings, Gupta as secretary, expenditure, chairs them.
The post of DEA secretary was vacant for almost five months, after former finance secretary S Narayan moved to the Prime Minister's Office in June this year.There was speculation about the next incumbent, as the minister had expressed concern about the limited basket of competent officers that was available.