The choice was between steel secretary DRS Chaudhary and social justice secretary Anil Goswami to replace the incumbent RK Singh who is slated to retire on June 30. Goswami was a special secretary in the home ministry until when he was moved out as the social justice secretary. As such, his selection as the new home secretary came as a big surprise.
Earlier, on the recommendation of home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, the cabinet committee on appointments (CCA) headed by the Prime Minister cleared the name of Anil Goswami, a 1978 batch IAS officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, as India’s new home secretary.
Insiders maintain that he may be asked to return to the home ministry as an officer-on-duty (OSD) as early as next week, pending the takeover as the home secretary. It has been a practice in the home ministry to appoint the home secretary-designate first as OSD in the ministry as an aide to the incumbent for the sake of administrative convenience, considering the sensitive nature of work of the top post.
Chaudhary, the other contender, was thought to have an edge over Goswami given the fact that he had spent more number of years in the home ministry than Goswami. But the dice ultimately fell in favour of Anil Goswami. Prior to this, Goswami was special secretary (Foreigners) in the ministry of home affairs.
Early this year, Goswami and Pankaj Jain were in the race of becoming J&K chief secretary, but the top administration post was finally secured by Iqbal Khanday.
The government of India had shortlisted the names of three senior officers for the post of union home secretary. Those shortlisted included Goswami, Chaudhary and personnel secretary, Pradeep Kumar Misra. However, the choice had to be made between Chaudhary and Goswami for the post of new union home secretary.
Goswami, a post-graduate in history, has served at several important positions in the state before proceeding to his central deputation including Principal Secretary, Industries, Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Principal Secretary, Home, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu.
Insiders reveal that Goswami’s case was being strongly pleaded by union health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad and his cabinet colleague Dr Farooq Abdullah.
- Bilal Handoo