As the current chief secretary Leela Mani Paudyal is retiring in the first week of August, senior secretaries are competing for succession to the coveted chair. As Nepal is transforming itself from the unitary to federal state, Secretary Dr. Subedi, who did his Ph. D in fiscal decentralization, is claiming to be a natural contender.
Although Sheedhar Gautam, who is retiring in six months on age grounds, is the most senior of all, Dr. Subedi and secretary at the Ministry of Industry Jayamukunda Khanal are leading the race. However, Dr. Subedi, who follows Shreedhar Gautam in seniority, has advantages over his closest rival Khanal.
Secretary at Ministry of Education Bishwo PrakashPandit is also making all-out efforts to grab the post along with secretary at Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Suresh Man Shrestha. However, the government will pick up either Dr. Subedi or Khanal, who is known for his close ties with CPN-UML.
Having started his career from Postal Department, secretary Khanal is an introvert bureaucrat who was promoted to joint secretary through the open competition. However, Dr. Subedi is an extrovert in behavior and has served at various offices, including in the district levels.
Known for his prompt decision making, Dr. Subedi knows how things are done. In the last four years in his tenure as secretary, Dr. Subedi served at almost half a dozen ministries. However, Khanal stuck to Ministry of Agriculture Development and now he is at the Ministry of Industry.
Born in Kathmandu, Khanal, who prefers to remain quiet, is also making efforts to replace chief secretary Paudyal. However, Dr. Subedi’s academic qualification and administrative experience as well as seniority puts him in a strong position.
At a time when the country has been passing through a series of political crisis and uncertainty, there are enormous challenges before the chief secretary. His command and personal quality can make a lot of difference.