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Nripendra Misra named principal secy to PM

Nripendra Misra, a 1967-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been named principal secretary to the prime minister, one of the first key appointments in the new government.

Sources said there was little doubt Misra would be named principal secretary. In fact, a meeting between Narendra Modi and Misra last week is learnt to have lasted just a few minutes, enough time for Modi to have made up his mind.

Misra is known to have low tolerance for ignorance among those around him. When he found journalists interviewing him hadn’t done the requisite homework, they, too, faced his cutting remarks. Modi, Misra’s new boss, is believed to have a similar no-nonsense approach to work.

Misra’s colleagues, however, refer to him as a sensitive boss and co-worker.

When asked what he would bring to the table and how he would be different from his predecessors, he told Business Standard, “I will try to unchain the potential implementation.”

ALSO READ: Nripendra Misra’s columns on Business-standard.com

After retiring in 2009 as chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), where he had issued controversial recommendations on spectrum allocation and auction, Misra was director of non-governmental organisation Public Interest Foundation. In the midst of the 2G telecom spectrum scam, when then telecom minister A Raja was defending his first-come-first-served spectrum allocation policy, saying he had followed what Trai had suggested in 2007, Misra said his recommendations were being “cherry-picked”, rather than being implemented in full.

Earlier, Misra had held top positions in many ministries, including those of telecom, commerce and fertilisers. He had a stint as minister (economic), Indian Embassy, Washington. Misra also held key posts in the Uttar Pradesh government, including those of special secretary (finance) and principal secretary to the UP chief minister (first Mulayam Singh Yadav and, later, Kalyan Singh).

Misra, regarded a meritorious bureaucrat, one with integrity, is called “Nippy” by friends and contemporaries. He’s known for his love for books and the many hours he spends at the library of the India International Centre (IIC), which are often followed by coffee, idli and apple pie at the IIC annexe cafeteria.

Misra has master’s degrees in public administration from John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and in political science and public administration and chemistry from Allahabad University.

ALSO READ: Nripendra Misra’s columns on Business-standard.com

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