Central government on Monday announced that it was appointing the senior bureaucrat, Rajiv Mehrishi, as the new home secretary after the incumbent home secretary, L C Goyal, sought voluntary retirement from service.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved his request.
However, his appointment as the new home secretary has taken Mehrishi by surprise as sources close to him said that the veteran bureaucrat was unaware of this decision.
Mehrishi, who was a finance secretary in the central government and was retiring today, had made it abundantly clear that he didn’t wish to accept any extension.
According to sources close to Mehrishi, both Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra and the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley had tried to persuade him to change his mind.
Mehrishi, a 1978 batch officer of Rajasthan cadre, was reportedly unhappy over a number of issues including the simmering ‘conflicts between the PMO and the Finance Ministry’ and his differences with the RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan.
Such was his frustration that he even removed himself from the RBI board in July this year prompting the central government to resort to an extremely unusual move to appoint an additional secretary level bureaucrat to replace Mehrishi in the board.
The inclusion of Ajay Tyagi, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs to the RBI board, in July meant that for the first time the government was not being represented by its finance secretary in the central bank’s board.
Mehrishi, a votary of interest rate cuts in the current economic slowdown, was also leading a committee seeking to bring an amendment to the RBI Act resulting in ‘curtailing of powers’ of the Reserve Bank’s governor.