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Madhusudan Prasad likely to be next commerce secretary

Madhusudhan Prasad, a 1981-batch IAS officer from Haryana, who is presently deputed as additional secretary in commerce department is most likely to succeed Rajeev Kher as the new commerce secretary in February.

Prasad, who had been on central deputation since 2011 in the ministry of commerce and industry, has looked after various portfolios ranging from plantations to exports. However, a significant chunk of his tenure in the ministry had been development and promotion of special economic zones (SEZs).

However, it is learnt that commerce secretary Kher, who has been with the ministry since 2006, will be moving to a new role as he has not yet reached his retirement age. Kher, a 1980 UP-based cadre, had been instrumental in framing the various trade and investment agreements with partner countries.

Kher, who joined the ministry in 2006 as joint secretary, moved on to become additional secretary in 2011 post which he was promoted to the post of special secretary in November 2013.

It was under Kher that India signed bilateral trade deals with Japan, Korea and Malaysia while initiating talks to have similar deals with a dozen more.

Kher was also the country’s chief negotiator at the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 2011-2013.

As special secretary in the department of commerce he was one of the key members of the team led by former commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma for securing the deal in Bali, Indonesia during the ninth WTO ministerial.

During the ministerial India had secured a so-called ‘Peace Clause’ for its food stockholding programme for a period of four years, which came under scathing attack under the new BJP government that made the WTO rework the Bali pact.

On the other hand, Prasad had never handled any portfolio in the international trade policy division in the commerce department. He was appointed as special secretary in the commerce department in November.

Prior to taking up his role in the ministry of commerce and industry, Prasad was engaged with the renewable energy ministry of the Haryana government. Although Prasad will be superannuating in 2016, his central deputation will be expiring on November 2015.

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