New Delhi: The results of the Lok Sabha elections will be announced on May 23 and definitely, the new government has to take significant decisions regarding the appointment of new cabinet secretaries soon. As of now, three senior IAS officers are in the race for this top bureaucracy post. 

Home secretary Rajeev Gauba, consumer affairs secretary Avinash Kumar Srivastav and telecommunication secretary Aruna Sundararajan are assumed to be the key contenders from the batch of 1982. 

However, the current cabinet secretary Pramod Kumar Sinha will be retiring next month, after the completion of his extended service of two years, granted by the Modi government. 

Sinha has already got two extensions before his retirement and will surely not get another. According to sources, these three senior bureaucrats will be the next choice for the post of cabinet secretary. During the UPA rule, it was Ajith Seth, who was known to be close to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Rumours are that the government could extend Sinha’s term for six months after the formation of the NDA government in the centre. But some retired IAS officers are ruling out the possibility of an extension. 

Sinha (1977 batch) is the senior most IAS officer currently in service in the country.  

According to the seniority list, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba is next in the race, depending on the government to consider him for this post. Gauba is an IAS officer from Jharkhand belonging to the 1982 batch. 

Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra will also be retiring this month. Mitra, who has worked closely with the Prime Minister’s Office, could also get an extension. 

As the telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan (1982 batch) is also a strong contender for the post and will be retiring July this year. As of now, no woman IAS officer has been appointed as cabinet secretary, but it could change this time. 

IAS Avinash Kumar Srivastava may be a dark horse in the race as he has six months of service left while his entire batch will retire this year.  

Cabinet secretary Pramod Kumar Sinha will also be retiring in June after completing the two-year extension in service as cabinet secretary.