By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 29 Aug: Former Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand Utpal Kumar Singh who had retired on 31 July only has been appointed as Secretary of the Lok Sabha. Orders to this effect were issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Friday, stating that the Speaker of Lok Sabha had appointed him as Secretary of the Lok Sabha on contractual basis. Singh is the first Uttarakhand cadre officer to have been appointed to this prestigious post. Pay Matrix of Level 17 (Rs 2,25,000 pm) would be payable to Singh. The post of Secretary is the senior-most in the Lok Sabha Secretariat, followed by Lok Sabha Secretary General. He would take charge on 1 September.
Singh’s appointment on this prestigious post shows his influence in the Centre. It may be recalled that he had personally taken a keen interest in some of the pet projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Uttarakhand like Kedarnath redevelopment and Char Dham All Weather Road project.
On the other hand as soon as the order for the appointment of Singh was issued on Friday, the speculation of his possible appointment as the chairman of the Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC) is also over. Given his influence in the Centre, for past one month, it was also being speculated that he could be appointed as a member of the Central Public Service Commission. Now that his appointment as Lok Sabha Secretary is confirmed, lobbying by retired IAS officers has begun for the post of UERC chairman. Sources claimed that among the probable candidates include former Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy and former Additional Chief Secretary Ranbir Singh and many other retired IAS officers. Some of them had retired several years ago. It will be interesting to see who wins the game. In Uttarakhand, many such posts where retired IAS officers are eligible have been lying vacant for a long time. It remains to be seen if at all these posts are filled up anytime soon by Trivendra Singh Rawat who is known to keep such decisions pending for long.