Barely five days after he took charge, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday went for a major restructuring of roles in the ministry by interchanging the portfolios of Revenue Secretary R S Gujral and Expenditure Secretary Sumit Bose.
Gujral will be the new expenditure secretary.
Bose will become the revenue secretary. Gujral, being the most senior among the five secretaries in the ministry, will remain the finance secretary. Both are expected to take charge of their new departments on Monday.
"The orders were issued this afternoon," a finance ministry official told Business Standard, without citing any reason for the change in portfolios. The decision came on a Sunday when all officers above the joint secretary rank were asked to attend office.
It happened three days before the commencement of the Monsoon session of Parliament.
Today's restructuring may be just a beginning, as officials do not rule out more changes at other levels in the next few days.
Chidambaram has already asked directors and deputy secretaries whether they would prefer a change in roles.
Even before Chidambaram took over, speculation was rife that Gujral may be moved out of the ministry.
As finance and revenue secretary, he approved taxation proposals supported by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee but criticised by industry and foreign investors.
The new minister's interest in taxation matters can be gauged from the fact that immediately after assuming office on August 1, he enquired about the heads of the two revenue boards.
Chairmen of the CBDT and the CBEC had retired on July 31 and the minister was told orders to appoint replacements could take a few weeks as Central Vigilance Commission clearance was required.
However, it is now learnt the orders may come soon.
Image: P Chidambaram