Key Modi aide makes comeback to PMO

New Delhi: Bhaskar Khulbe, a West Bengal cadre officer of 1983 batch who retired as the Secretary to Prime Minister Modi, has been brought back in a new post of the adviser to PM in the rank and scale of Secretary to the Government of India on contract for two years or until further orders.

Modi will now have two advisers, other being Khulbe’s batchmate Amarjeet Sinha from Bihar who retired as Secretary, Rural Development. Both will join the coterie of Principal Secretary to PM Dr PK Mishra, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Principal Adviser to PM PK Sinha that runs the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of 48 senior officials.

The government is run by various ministries but all key decisions are required to be sent to these officials who are empowered by PM Modi for vetting every decision and seeking changes on his behalf.

The PMO has three additional secretaries and five joint secretaries to PM, though more powerful than them are the two private secretaries to PM – Rajeev Topno and Vivek Kumar.

There are also four OSDs (officers on special duty) – Dr Hiren Joshi (communications and information technology), Pratik Doshi (research and strategy), Ashutosh Narayan Singh (media research) and Sanjay R Bhavsar (appointments and tour). Except for Bhavsar, three others are not from the IAS cadre but enjoy the privileges in the rank of the joint secretary.

Bhavsar, originally a Gujarat Administrative Service officer, was jacked up as an IAS. He is in Delhi with Modi since the latter assumed power and takes care of all appointments of the PM as also his travel plans.

Dr Hiren Joshi (50), an electronic engineer from Pune and a PhD from IIIT, Gwalior, is with Modi since 2008 and he is credited for Modi’s digital presence, managing his blogs, websites, Twitter and Facebook accounts and giving a daily report to him on online activities at 11.30 pm, shortlisting 100 important messages.

Doshi like Joshi, also joined Modi when he was the Chief Minister and relocated to Delhi when Modi became the PM. Though his job is research and strategy for which he was recruited in Gujarat, but his main job is to provide secretariat assistance to the PM.

Ashutosh comes from the media as he was earlier associated with the TV channels in Delhi like Network 18, Star News and AajTak. He does all kinds of media research for the PM’s campaigns. He is assisted by Ravi Ramkrishna, an Indian Information Service (IIS) officer from PIB, who as joined as ADG, PMO Unit.

Other top officials in the PMO include five directors and eight deputy secretaries, while there are 13 under secretaries to handle the secretarial work in the PMO.  There are also two communication officers – Dr Nirav K Shah and Yash Rajiv Gandhi.

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