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Explained: How PK Sinha became the longest serving babu in India’s history

The extension given to Sinha is the third extension and it makes him the longest-serving bureaucrat in the history of India
New Delhi: The government announced a three-month extension to Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha on Friday. However, the extension comes as the government amended a 60-year-old rule to grant a three-month extension to the bureaucrat. A Cabinet Secretary in India is appointed for a fixed tenure of two years.

Longest serving bureaucrat in the history of India

Sinha was appointed to the post in June 2015. Thereafter, his tenure was increased by one year each in 2017 and 2018. This is the third extension given to Sinha and it makes him the longest-serving bureaucrat in the history of India.

The 60-year-old rule

According to All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement-Benefits) Rules, 1958, the government can give an extension in service to a Cabinet Secretary, only if the total tenure does not exceed four years. However, after the second extension, Sinha’s tenure had been extended by four years. In order to further extend Sinha’s service, the government had to amend the rule. According to the modified rules notified Friday, the Central government may give an extension in service for a further period not exceeding three months, beyond the period of four years to a Cabinet Secretary.

The predecessors

Before Sinha, YN Sukthankar was the only Cabinet Secretary to have served for the longest duration from May 14, 1953 to July 31, 1957. He later went on to become the Governor of Odisha. NR Pillai was the other first Cabinet Secretary who served a tenure of three years, from February 6, 1950 to May 13, 1953.

The Cabinet Secretariat

The Cabinet Secretariat is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister of India. The administrative head of the secretariat is the Cabinet Secretary who is also the ex-officio chairman of the civil services board.