A day after he was shifted from the high profile Ministry of Finance to the Power Ministry, senior bureaucrat Subhash Chandra Garg on Thursday applied for voluntary retirement from service, sources said. Garg was the senior-most bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry in charge of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), and was designated the Finance Secretary.
However, in a surprise move, he was named Power Secretary in an order issued late on Wednesday. The Power Ministry is considered to be of a lower profile than the Ministry of Finance. As DEA Secretary, he was in charge of fiscal policy, RBI-related matters, and was closely involved in the preparation of union budget. The shift came just a day after Parliamentary procedure for approval of Modi 2.0 government's maiden union budget for 2019-20 was completed.
Garg was replaced by Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Atanu Chakraborty in a major bureaucratic reshuffle. Sources said Garg came to his office in the North Block -- the seat of Finance Ministry -- in the morning, but left after noon. It was not immediately clear when Garg submitted his voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) application to the government.
It was also not known if the government would accept the application. If he hadn't applied for VRS, he would have retired from government service at the end of October 2020 on attaining of 60 years of age. Garg did not answer phone calls seeking his comments. A 1983 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, Garg came to the centre in 2014 and was appointed Executive Director in the World Bank where he stayed till 2017, when he was appointed DEA Secretary in June 2017.
In March 2019 (rpt) March 2019, he was elevated as the Finance Secretary following retirement of A N Jha (rpt) A N Jha. As per convention, the senior-most among the 5 secretaries in the Ministry of Finance is designated as the Finance Secretary.
The secretaries in the Finance Ministry are Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar (1984-batch, Jharkhand cadre), Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey (1984-batch Bihar cadre), DEA Secretary Atanu Chakraborty (1985-batch, Gujarat cadre), Expenditure Secretary G C Murmu (1985-batch, Gujarat cadre) and DIPAM Secretary Anil Kumar Khachi (1986-batch, Himachal Pradesh cadre).