K Rajaraman will be taking charge as Secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in addition to his responsibilities as Secretary in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), according to a notice released by the Department of Personnel and Training on February 28. This comes after the retirement of Ajay Prakash Sawhney, BusinessWorld reported.
The appointment was approved by the competent authority “with immediate effect and till the appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders, whichever is earlier.”
Rajaraman, who is a 1989 batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre, previously served as the Additional Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. While his appointment appears to be temporary, Rajaraman could play a significant role in overseeing the implementation of major tech policies by the government.
What lies ahead for the interim MeitY secretary?
Rajaraman is likely to have his work cut out given that MeitY has been busy on matters of tech policy of late. The ministry released the draft InDEA Framework 2.0 which recommends data sharing protocols, federated IDs, and establishing digital structures for government projects. It also initiated public consultations on the draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy 2022 which proposes giving access to central government data that has “undergone value addition/transformation” for an “appropriate price”, among other aspects.
The ministry is also currently holding deliberations over various aspects of the Data Protection Bill as it has plans to introduce the bill during the monsoon session of the Parliament.
What is Rajaraman’s role as DoT secretary?
As DoT secretary, Rajaraman is likely be involved in the government’s 5G rollout and see to it that the auction takes place smoothly. The department was planning to auction the spectrum in 2022 but it has now been delayed to 2023. The department had announced a set of telecom reforms such as Aadhaar e-KYC for mobile SIM cards and public WiFi, and the secretary will need to oversee their timely implementation.
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