New Delhi: A week after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was given an extension in service with an upgraded level of Cabinet rank, Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra and Additional Principal Secretary PK Mishra were on Tuesday accorded an upgrade in their level to the Cabinet Minister rank along with extension in their service co-terminus with the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Both the retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials have been given extension as Principal Secretary and Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister respectively with effect from May 31.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of the two able advisors of Modi with their appointment “co-terminus with the term of the Prime Minister or until further orders, whichever is earlier”. During the term of their office, the two officials will be assigned the rank of “Cabinet Minister in the Table of Precedence”, said a Ministry of Personnel order.
On June 3, the ACC had also accorded an upgrade in the level of National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, who oversaw at least two cross-border military actions during the last five years, to the Cabinet rank along with an extension of five years, co-terminus with the tenure of Prime Minister.
Nripendra Misra,74, has a long and distinguished career as a top bureaucrat. From fertiliser secretary to telecom secretary, he went onto become the regulator stewarding TRAI. An ordinance was used to bring him into office in 2014 when Modi government came to power first time.
A 1967 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer, Misra has an MPA in public administration from John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and postgraduate degrees in chemistry and political science and public administration from Allahabad University. The Principal Secretary also wields substantial influence on policy-making. Misra who has been credited for being an efficient, pro-business administrator has served as the telecom secretary under Dayanidhi Maran and is credited with the broadband policy to his name.
However, Pramod Kumar Mishra is also another extremely powerful bureaucrat as his post was specially created by Modi. He is known as the most trusted bureaucrat close to Modi. Mishra has also been given the charge as Ex-Officio Mission Director of the ambitious National Mission for Clean Ganga. He served as Principal Secretary to Modi between 2001 and 2004 during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
It was during this period that Mishra, a native of Odisha, played a pivotal role in the metamorphosis of Modi from an RSS pracharak to the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He is known for assisting the then Gujarat Chief Minister while the latter made his way into the complex world of the bureaucracy and public administration.
Mishra was later handpicked by Modi and appointed as Chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission for a five-year term just after a day of his retirement in 2008.
In his four-decade-long career as an administrator, Mishra has held various key positions at the Centre and in the Gujarat government. As Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture between December 1, 2006 and August 31, 2008 under Sharad Pawar, he was credited with the implementation of the National Agriculture Development Programme and the National Food Security Mission.
It was during his tenure in the Ministry of Agriculture that the production of food grains reached record levels and there was a substantial increase in the agricultural GDP. He later served as Member Secretary in the National Capital Region Planning Board and Secretary of the National Disaster Management Authority.