Tuesday 16th April 2024
Tuesday 16th April 2024
गृहपृष्ठNepalAs PM Oli begins hunt for new Chief Secretary, odds stack in favor of Bairagi

As PM Oli begins hunt for new Chief Secretary, odds stack in favor of Bairagi

Current Chief Secretary Regmi likely to receive ambassadorial post in return for resignation before his retirement to pave way for Foreign Secretary Bairagi

 KATHMANDU: Lok Darshan Regmi, the Chief Secretary of the government, will retire from his post on October 22 under a general scenario. Prior to his retirement, Shanker Das Bairagi will bid goodbye to the civil service after serving as Foreign Secretary for a five-year tenure.

The departure of the Foreign Secretary and later the Chief Secretary will result in an appointment of another secretary to lead the bureaucracy, a scenario that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is looking to avoid.

According to government sources, Prime Minister Oli is working on a plan that will alter this scenario and pave way for him to pick his confidante Bairagi as the next Chief Secretary. The government is now preparing to make way for the current Chief Secretary Regmi to step down before his retirement date, and to appoint Bairagi to his post.

Earlier on October 23, 2017, the government led by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had appointed Regmi as the Chief Secretary. Prime Minister Oli, who succeeded Deuba, decided to retain him as the Chief Secretary. His three-year tenure is due to expire on October 22.

Bairagi had been promoted to the post of Foreign Secretary through a cabinet decision in October 2015, but will retire on October 8, as his five-year tenure will come to an end.  

However, if he manages to receive the appointment of Chief Secretary before his retirement, he will serve the country’s administration as a top bureaucrat for three years.

According to a government source, Chief Secretary Regmi will be made to step down voluntarily from his post before the retirement in return for an  ambassadorial appointment to a foreign country. Regmi is reportedly ready to resign in return for an appointment as an ambassador to the UK. The current ambassador to the UK, Durga Subedi, is also set to retire from the post in a few months.

According to sources close to Prime Minister Oli, he is positive towards appointing Regmi as the ambassador to the UK if that clears the way to choose Bairagi as the Chief Secretary.  

Should the plan work out and Regmi quits before his retirement date, the country will have a new Chief Secretary before October 8.

However, Bairagi is not the sole candidate for the post. 

Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, is also in the race to become the Chief Secretary, a post that is likely to be vacant before his retirement.  

However, sources close to the cabinet say that the odds are in favor of Foreign Secretary Bairagi, who holds expertise in diplomacy and international relations.

Bairagi’s long administrative leadership at Foreign Services

The government had provided the role of officiating the Foreign Secretary after the then Foreign Secretary Arjun Bahadur Thapa retired from the post on January 14, 2014. Bairagi has been leading the administration of Nepal’s Foreign Services since 2014. Due to a provision of the Civil Services Act of 1993 that requires at least five years experience as a joint secretary to become a secretary, Bairagi could not make it to the post of the Foreign Secretary immediately. He was promoted as the Foreign Secretary from his officiating status only in October 2015.

Before arriving at the Foreign Ministry to serve in a leadership role, he worked as the ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations Office at Geneva. He had worked as a Deputy Chief of Mission at Nepal’s Mission to UN in New York prior to his role in Geneva.

Bairagi has also experience working in Nepal’s embassy to India and Australia, as well as in aNepali mission to the European Union.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had made his first official trip to Nepal after Bairagi began to lead the administration of the Foreign Ministry, an event that is interpreted as a milestone in Nepal-China relations. 

Additionally, foreign policy experts say that Nepal’s relations with the US, Japan and South Korea, among other countries, have further improved and expanded in the last few years. Despite souring relations between Nepal and India at the political level, the ties between two neighboring countries at the administrative level have remained normal.

It was also under Bairagi’s leadership that the two countries held their Joint Oversight Mechanisms meeting recently that marked an end of long drought of formal dialogues between two countries for months.

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