Rajeev Topno, the 35-year-old IAS officer from Gujarat cadre, will be joining his new assignment as deputy secretary in the PMO in New Delhi by the end of this month. Topno had been holding charge as the managing director of IndextB and joint chief executive officer (CEO) of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) for last one year.
The appointment of this 1996-batch officer is important for two reasons. Firstly, cadre officers from states have proved to be a boon to the particular state in pushing its agenda at the Centre, especially if rival parties are in power at the Centre and in the state.
Secondly, it is after a long while that such a young officer from Gujarat has landed an important posting in the North Block. The last officer to join the PMO as deputy secretary from Gujarat cadre was Manjula Subramaniam, who retired as chief secretary last year. She had worked at the nerve centre of power about two decades back.
Interestingly, another IAS officer from Gujarat cadre, Kamal Kumar Dayani, is already working as director in the PMO. Dayani belongs to 1990 batch. Talking to DNA, Topno said, “The position (in PMO) is said to be a very challenging one, so I will be working hard to deliver.” He was recently awarded for being the best collector for his tenure in Vadodara. In addition to heading the Industrial Extension Bureau, he had also got credit for managing the Vibrant Gujarat 2009 event well.
“We need more officers like him in key positions,” an official in state government said. “We have a long list of issues lying unresolved for years. Officers are always sympathetic to the proposals from their parent state cadre, even though they can’t be outright partial.”