Less than a week after Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung submitted his resignation, President Pranab Mukherjee, acting on the advice of the government, approved the name of former home secretary and Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) member Anil Baijal as the 21st L-G of Delhi.
Mukherjee, who is on a 10-day sojourn, gave approval to Baijal’s name late Wednesday night, officials said.
According to the VIF website, Baijal has been associated with the think-tank as a member of its executive council.
VIF was earlier headed by current NSA Ajit Doval. Baijal told The Indian Express, “I am yet to receive any formal communication and will not like to make any comment at the moment.”
The new L-G is likely to take oath on December 30.
Baijal will be the fifth top-level appointment by the Modi government from the VIF. Earlier, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra, Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash, and Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication K G Suresh, besides NSA Doval, were appointed after NDA government came to power in May 2014.
Government sources said Baijal’s name was cleared on Monday after he gave a nod to take up the job. His name was sent for the President’s approval on Wednesday once the Prime Minister’s Office gave its nod.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan, meanwhile, accepted Jung’s resignation, and announced appointment of Baijal as L-G of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. A 1969 batch IAS officer from Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT), Baijal was removed as Union home secretary when the UPA government came to power in May, 2004.
Officials said Baijal’s name was selected despite the convention of not appointing a UT cadre officer as administrator of Delhi in the past, owing to his vast experience in handling issues related to the Delhi Development Authority and the ministries of Urban Development and Civil Aviation.
Baijal earlier served as DDA vice-chairman and headed public sector companies like Prasar Bharati and Indian Airlines. His last assignment was as secretary, Urban Development, from where he retired in 2006. He is credited with piloting the flagship programme of the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission to improve infrastructure and basic services in urban areas.
Baijal holds dual master’s degrees — first in arts from the University of Allahabad and second from the University of East Anglia in development economics. His predecessor, Jung, a 1973-batch IAS officer, submitted his resignation on December 22 after a three-and-a-half-year tenure.