Modi may name technocrats to revive staggering economy

Tags: News

Bureaucrats who worked closely with him could get key positions

With exit polls predicting a Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, jockeying for cabinet and key positions in the government has begun in right earnest.

There are indications that the suave, articulate master strategist, Arun Jaitley could either be in as India’s next finance or foreign minister.

Some believe that Jaitley would be able to carry either of the two ministries with élan.

However, there’s a feeling that if Modi comes to power, he could bring in a technocrat to revive the country’s grim economic scenario. Some feel that Jagdish Bhagwati, counted among the top economists globally, who had endorsed Modi’s Gujarat model, could be brought in as an adviser.

A pro-Modi economist, whose name is doing the rounds for the finance ministry is Arvind Panagariya. Some of Modi’s trusted lieutenants like Gujarat chief principal secretary, K Kailashnathan and AK Sharma, additional principal secretary, may find places in the prime minister office. Other Gujarat bureaucrats who have worked closely with Modi, could also find themselves in key positions.

One of them could include Bharat Lal, an Indian forest service official, who is currently Gujarat’s resident commissioner based in Delhi. There is speculation that Lal could be brought into the PMO to handle the media.

Heavy industry secretary Sutanu Behuria is being projected as favourite to take over as cabinet secretary. As for key portfolios like home and defence, there is reportedly a race between Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh. Though Singh has gone on record saying that he would prefer to head the organisation, some believe that he “was not too averse” to enter the union cabinet. If Sushma gets home, Rajnath might become the next defence minister and vice versa.

Till cases against Amit Shah are cleared, he is not expected to find a berth in Modi’s cabinet or in the PMO. He, however, will remain in Delhi as Modi’s “eyes and ears.” Sources say that the RSS and BJP would not like to relieve Shah from his current assignment, as he has accomplished one of the most difficult tasks of reviving the party in Uttar Pradesh. “His next target could be to install a BJP government in the state for which elections are due in 2017,” sources said.

Interestingly, all eyes are on the post of national security adviser (NSA). Under Modi, the NSA is expected to have a lot of muscle power.

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