Key advisor to PM Modi steps down

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra, a 1967 batch IAS officer of UP cadre, on Friday requested that he be relieved forthwith, but the Prime Minister has requested him to continue for two more weeks.

Misra was associated with the RSS-linked Vivekanand Foundation before he was appointed in the PMO. Principal government spokesman Sitanshu Kar said PM Modi has asked him to continue for two weeks. Mishra had also served as principal secretary to Kalyan Singh when he was the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

The resignation comes on a day India's GDP growth dipped to a five-year low at 5% in the June quarter, as against 5.8% in the March quarter.

Misra is likely to be replaced by Additional Principal Secretary Pramod Kumar Mishra, a re-employed 1972 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre.

Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, a 1977 batch UP cadre IAS officer who superannuated on Friday, has been appointed as the officer on special duty (OSD) in the PMO amid speculation that he will take over Mishra's responsibilities.

PM Modi put out an emotional tweet saying that "when I was new to Delhi in 2014, he (Misra) taught me a lot and his guidance remains extremely valuable."

Misra was inducted in Team Modi when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014 following a landslide victory.

He continued to be in Modi's core team after the NDA returned to power with an even bigger majority in 2019. Misra was responsible for coordinating between the PMO and various ministries.

In 2014, Misra was the chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The UPA government in 2000 had amended the TRAI Act barring the chairman from taking up future government assignments. So, PM Modi had to push through an ordinance to amend the TRAI Act to allow Misra to become his chief lieutenant.

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Free Press Journal