The Himachal Pradesh government reshuffled 20 IAS officers last evening, while appointing an IAS officer of 1991 batch, Jagdish Chander as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur.

Jagdish Chander will hold additional charge of Principal Secretary Public Works Department, Excise and Taxation and Public Relations Department, a government notification here said.

Sharma’s appointment to the key post in Himachal Pradesh came after Sanjay Kundu, an IPS officer, was appointed Director-General of Police, HP on 30 May.

He is the third Principal Secretary to CM, (first Himachali officer) in two and a half years of Jai Ram government.

Jagdish Chander, who is a tribal from Pangi in Chamba district, was tipped to be Principal Secretary to CM after the formation of the government in December 2017 but was ousted from the race allegedly due to political meddling.

Sources in the government said even now, there was lobbying against him by a senior minister, who wanted some other IAS officer in this office. However, the efforts failed this time.

In a chat with media persons immediately after Jagdish Chander joined the post of Principal Secretary to CM, he said the foremost challenge before the government at the moment is to bring the economy of state back on rails as HP also gears up for unlock 1.0 in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.

The government also ordered the appointment of RN Batta (retired) as Advisor to the Chief Minister, with an additional charge of Principal Private Secretary to the CM, replacing Vinay Singh, a Himachal Pradesh Administrative Officer of 2001 batch.

Singh, who was posted as Special Secretary cum Principal Private Secretary to the CM immediately on the formation of government in December 2017, will now function as Special Secretary to CM and Special Secretary (PWD).

The government also shifted the Secretary to Governor, Rakesh Kanwar and posted him as Managing Director, HP Power Corporation Ltd with an additional charge of State Project Director of Zero Budget Natural Farming Project.

As per government notification, Additional Chief Secretary, Forests, Ram Subhag Singh, who was earlier holding the charge of Additional CS, MPP and Power, has now been posted as Additional CS, MPP and power and Industries. He shall continue to hold the charge of HP State Electricity Board Limited.