The government on Thursday announced the appointment of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam as the new Commerce Secretary and also granted one-year extension to the heads of the country’s premier intelligence agencies Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau.
The extensions were cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Subrahmanyam, a 1987-batch IAS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre, will come to the Centre as Officer on Special Duty in the Commerce Ministry.
“The ACC has also approved his appointment as Secretary, Department of Commerce upon superannuation of Anup Wadhawan, IAS (UK; 85), Secretary Department of commerce on June 30, 2021,” the Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions ministry said in an order.
Subrahmanyam served as a director in the commerce and industry ministry in 2004, was private secretary to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during 2004-2008 and was in the Prime Minister’s Office after Modi became the Prime Minister in May 2014.
His appointment comes at a time when India is negotiating key trade agreements with the European Union and the UK, and pitching for unhindered access to vaccines and medical products through waiver in the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organization.
“His experience in trade and WTO issues will be beneficial at this time,” said an expert on trade issues.
The government also granted one-year extension to IB head Arvind Kumar, and RAW, the country’s external intelligence agency, chief Samant Goel beyond their current two-year tenure that ends June 30.
A 1984-batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Kumar has served on important desks in the IB, including Kashmir and Left-Wing Extremism, while Goel, also of the same batch but from the Punjab cadre, has served on the Pakistan desk and on groups working against the interest of country from Europe.