PM Modi had handpicked Adhia to lead the currency overhaul exercise put into effect on November 8.
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia was designated the new Finance Secretary on Monday. The appointment of the 1981 batch IAS officer to the post of the seniormost Secretary in the Finance Ministry comes as Ashok Lavasa's term ended in October.
Adhia was crucial to the implementation of many reforms under the Modi government, especially demonetisation. Modi had handpicked Adhia to lead the currency overhaul exercise put into effect on November 8. The controversial move scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes worth Rs 15.4 lakh crore or 86 percent of cash in the country. Adhia and his 6-member team, chosen by Modi, worked in extreme secrecy in the run up to demonetisation. That Modi entrusted the job to Adhia has roots to the equation they share.
Adhia served as a principal secretary to Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. While Adhia became Revenue Secretary in 2015 reporting to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, some reports say he had unfettered access to the Prime Minister. In fact, the two would converse and discuss issues in Gujarati.
Right after Modi announced demonetisation in a speech on November 8 evening, Adhia tweeted: “This is the biggest and the boldest step by the Government for containing black money.”
Also, the trust factor with Modi grew during Adhia's stint at the Gujarat Chief Minister's office. Adhia was key to successful rehabilitation of victims of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. Besides, he was crucial to the state's Vibrant Gujarat — an investor summit which became the hallmark of Modi's Gujarat government.As Finance Secretary, Adhia will have to closely work with the five departments of the Finance Ministry — Expenditure, Economic Affairs, Financial Services, Revenue and Department of Investment and Public Asset management (DIPAM). IAS officer Rajiv Kumar of 1984 batch is the Financial Services Secretary. Ajay Narayan Jha is Expenditure Secretary and Neeraj Kumar Gupta Secretary, DIPAM. Subhash Chandra Garg, a 1983 batch IAS officer, is Economic Affairs Secretary.