Jammu, Nov 29: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Wednesday appointed senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1989 AGMUT cadre, Atal Dulloo as the new Chief Secretary of J&K.
He will succeed the incumbent Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, who is attaining the age of superannuation tomorrow i.e., November 30, 2023.
Dulloo, who was serving as Secretary Department of Border Management, was repatriated to his parent (Union Territory) cadre on the request of the MHA, on November 20.
He will assume his charge as the Chief Secretary from December 1, 2023.
“Consequent upon superannuation of Arun Kumar Mehta, IAS (AGMUT: 1988) on November 30, 2023 and on repatriation from central deputation, Atal Dulloo, IAS (AGMUT: 1989) is hereby appointed as Chief Secretary, Jammu & Kashmir w.e.f. December 1, 2023 or from date of assumption of change, whichever is later and until further orders,” read an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Dulloo had proceeded on central deputation in June this year. Before proceeding on deputation, he was the Financial Commissioner Agriculture Production Department in J&K.
A seasoned bureaucrat, Dulloo, in the bureaucratic circles, is known for his amiable, non-confrontational style of functioning. Humble in his demeanour, he will be the first J&K domicile to attain the top position in bureaucracy in the Union Territory after 2017, when B R Sharma, another son of the soil, had completed his term as the Chief Secretary.
Sharma is presently the State Election Commissioner.
An alumnus of IIT, Delhi, from where he pursued his B Tech Civil Engineering, Dulloo though politely accepted greetings yet in his inimitable gracious manner refused to comment when Greater Kashmir tried to elicit his response vis-a-vis priorities and challenges of his new assignment. “Please excuse me, this is not the moment to speak on this. We will talk about it certainly on these issues but some other time,” was his precise take.
In his distinguished career, he has served in a number of key positions, both in J&K as well as at the Centre, delivering and impacting the administration and people in a positive manner.
He held the post of Joint Secretary in the Department of Rural Development for five years, during his earlier stint at the Centre on deputation.
At the home front, Dulloo, born on October 24, 1966, also served as the Financial Commissioner (additional Chief Secretary) Finance department. Prior to it, he was Financial Commissioner (Additional Chief Secretary) Health and Medical Education Department. This was a crucial stint as he had a herculean task to ramp up infrastructure to meet the challenges posed by COVID yet it (challenge) was met with an efficacy.
He also served as Chairman and Managing Director Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation, besides being the Deputy Commissioner of various districts. He also held the post of Sub-Divisional Magistrate in Ladakh, in the initial phase of his career.
Another interesting angle to his appointment has been that it has soothed the frayed nerves in the opposition which has been putting the ruling dispensation in the dock for ignoring senior local bureaucrats.
Instant response to the announcement was from the PDP president and the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who described it as a “welcome move.”
Incumbent Chief Secretary Dr Mehta, who too handled J&K through its challenging period with grit and determination, had assumed the charge (as the CS) on May 31, 2021.
An IAS officer of 1988 cadre, Dr Mehta became the Chief Secretary after his predecessor B V R Subrahmanyam was posted as Officer on Special Duty in the Union Commerce Ministry.
Mehta too served in significant positions both in J&K and at the Centre. He served as Deputy Commissioners of various districts, before taking over as the Power Secretary in J&K. He also served as the additional secretary in the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
He headed the J&K Finance Department also and made a significant contribution in its turnaround in terms of work culture; meeting targets with a focus on development juxtaposing it with innovation.