SRINAGAR: The state government on Friday appointed Bharat Bhushan Vyas as the new chief secretary. Vyas replaces BR Sharma who will now serve as advisor to the Chief Minister.
A cabinet meeting, presided over by Mehbooba Mufti, took the decision to appoint Vyas, a 1986-batch IAS officer, as the chief secretary. Vyas has been serving as the principal secretary to the chief minister, financial commissioner, and administrative secretary in planning and development since 2016. He has earlier served as the principal secretary to the governor and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.
Vyas’s appointment has come at a time when the state is reeling under a new wave of anti-India protest. The state government has also come under severe attack from opposition parties for their failure to manage the situation in Kashmir. Vyas, known an able administrator, shares cordial relations with the top leadership of all political parties, and is expected to help pull the government out of the crisis.
Sharma, the outgoing chief secretary, has been appointed as advisor (administrative affairs) to Mehbooba Mufti. Sharma, a 1984 IAS officer, was appointed chief secretary in 2015 after his predecessor, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, sought voluntary retirement from service citing differences with the government over frequent transfers of senior officers. At the time of his appointment, Sharma had superseded four senior officers, Arun Kumar and his wife Sonali Kumar (1979 batch IAS officers), AK Angurana (1980 batch) and Khursheed Ahmad Ganai (1982 batch).
Sharma has two post-graduate degrees besides an LLB degree. He has held several key posts in the government during his 31 years of service. His last posting was as principal secretary in Planning and Development Department. He has also served as principal secretary in home department. Sharma was the Chief Election Officer of the state during the 2008 Assembly elections, which were held immediately after the Amarnath land row agitation in the state.