New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) :Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was on Monday given a six-month extension in service just 12 days before he was supposed to retire.
The appointments committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the extension for Seth, 62. This is second extension for Seth, who was given one-year extension by the previous government last June.
The government has approved extension of Seth as Cabinet Secretary for a period of six months with effect from June 14 or till further orders, whichever is earlier, an official notification said.
The extension for Seth was apparently given to ensure continuity in view of the fact that the new government has to settle down quickly and start implementing its electoral promises. Also, it has to prepare for the budget session of Parliament likely to be held in July.
Seth's extension virtually eliminates the chances of Sutanu Behuria, currently secretary to the Heavy Industry department, and the senior-most bureaucrat after Seth, of becoming the Cabinet Secretary.
A 1976 batch IAS officer, Behuria, originally hailing from Odisha, is due to retire on July 31 this year.
This will leave two Uttar Pradesh Cadre officers -- Power Secretary P.K. Sinha and Petroleum Secretary Saurabh Chandra --among the front runners for the post of country's top bureaucrat if Seth lays down office after the six-month extension.
While Sinha is from 1977 batch, Chandra is a batch junior to him.