New Delhi, May 24: Vineeta Rai has been appointed as the secretary in the department of revenue. She comes in place of C.S. Rao who retires at the end of May.
Vineeta Rai is an officer of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) of the 1968 batch.
Rai, who is at present secretary, banking and insurance in the department of economic affairs, will hold additional charge of secretary, banking and insurance, till further arrangements are made.
The appointment of Rai as revenue secretary ends a tussle that had been going on over the key job. Earlier two contenders for the job had made it to the final list for consideration — Rai and .S. Sisodia, secretary, defence production. However, the strong IAS lobby had thrown its weight behind Vineeta Rai.
Finance minister Jaswant Singh is believed to have initially preferred Sisodia for his reputation as an extremely capable and upright officer, who is unlikely to come under the influence of corporate lobbyists. But Rai had a similarly clean reputation and the fact that she already had experience in the ministry weighed in her favour.
Besides the prestige enjoyed by any revenue secretary, the job gives the incumbent immense power over corporate houses who lobby for various kinds of exemptions, tax rebates or even out-of-court settlement for various tax offences.
In the past, there have been allegations that top Mumbai-based corporate houses have lobbied to have one or the other officer appointed as revenue secretary.
Two other key appointments in the finance ministry are imminent — finance secretary and banking secretary.
The finance secretary’s job is likely to be taken up by petroleum secretary B.K. Chaturvedi. Adarsh Kishore, an additional secretary in the department of economic affairs, is tipped to become the new banking secretary.
Others in the race for the finance secretary’s job are commerce secretary Dipak Chatterjee, company affairs secretary Vinod Dhall and industry secretary . Narad.