According to informed Secretariat sources, there are around 20 additional chief secretary cadre officers in the state eligible for the top post starting from the 1984 batch extending till 1989 batch. Of this only half, a dozen will qualify for the coveted post. Another nine senior officers are on deputation to the Union government. The state government’s practice is to prefer an officer serving in the state and it is a rare case to bring an officer on deputation back to state cadre.
The names of senior officers, including Hans Raj Verma, Apurva Varma, Atuyla Misra, S Krishnan, SK Prabhakar and Harmander Singh are popular among the power corridors of the Secretariat for elevation to the post of chief secretary.
“During the chief ministership of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, chief secretaries, including S Malathi were transferred within hours after the swearing-in of new government. If the government sails through the next year polls, the new chief secretary may continue and if there is a regime change, the general practice is to change the chief secretary in a short span,” said a senior official.
The usual practice by the Centre is to consider the state’s recommendation on appointing the new chief secretary and will zero in on three applications before the appointment, the official added.
A recent communication from Delhi to the Tamil Nadu government said that the Centre had approved the extension of the services of K Shanmugam between November 1 this year and January 31, 2021. Further extension for Shanmugam is remote as the opposition DMK is upset with the chief secretary and may protest any further extension.