Government appoints Ajay Pandey as finance secretary

NEW DELHI: The government appointed the revenue secretary on Tuesday as the new Finance secretary, doing it in charge of all the work related to the budget.

The 1984-batch officer is the senior most secretary in the Finance ministry, with others dealing with economic affairs, expenditure, financial services and DIPAM being junior to him. Pandey, who has spent last 15 months handling the crucial revenue portfolio, will have a term of nearly one year as Finance secretary. Since moving to North Block, the cadre officer has been part of crucial decisions such as a sharp reduction in corporation tax rate as well as the option to allow lower personal income tax rate for those, who are willing to give up tax exemptions, such as those available for investment in certain instruments.

He has been conducting data analysis to detect fraud and evasion of GST through a non-intrusive mechanism, even when the indirect tax system reform remains a work in progress. Pandey, who studied electrical engineering and has a PhD thesis in computer science from the University of Minnesota, is known for his meaningless approach and has overseen the mandatory retirement of several tax officials.

The official was among the initial group of officers, who were part of the Unique Identification Authority of India and worked on the deployment of Aadhaar. He then directed the agency and was closely involved with the cases in the Supreme Court, which eventually led to the legal validation of Aadhaar.