The new economic affairs secretary in the ministry of finance, Atanu Chakraborty, who takes over from Subhash Chandra Garg, is a deft policy hand.
A 1985-batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer, Chakraborty was serving as the secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) in the finance ministry before he was assigned the new role in a major bureaucratic reshuffle on July 24.
As divestment secretary, Chakraborty, 58, was in charge of the government's drive to mop up Rs 1.05 trillion through stake sale. In financial year 2018-19, Chakraborty garnered Rs 80,000 crore through disinvestment proceedings after taking charge of the department in May 2018.
Chakraborty, who has a post-graduate diploma in business finance and an MBA from the UK, has worked for more than 22 years in various state and central government departments. He served as a director and joint secretary in the finance ministry. Before taking over as DIPAM secretary, Chakraborty was the Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) in the petroleum ministry.
He has also served as the managing director and executive director of Gujarat State Petronet Limited.
In his role as DIPAM secretary, Chakraborty was planning to list 10 more central public sector enterprises, or CPSEs. He is also of the view that the government can gradually bring down its stake in many companies to below 51 percent, before selling the residual stake in PSUs that are not identified for strategic sales.
Chakraborty takes over as economic affairs secretary at a time when the government finds itself in a logjam with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) over transfer of the central bank’s surplus reserves. The government has also announced in the Budget its maiden overseas borrowing plan, which has generated a lot of heat.
In his new role, Chakraborty would also be expected to come up with policies that could revive economic growth, which is at a five-year low, and keep a check on fiscal deficit.