Science Secretary Srivari Chandrasekhar demits office, cites personal reasons
His premature repatriation to CSIR was on personal grounds, Dr. Chandrasekhar says; he had previously been key to directing research on COVID drugs; oversaw National Quantum Mission
June 17, 2023 06:08 pm | Updated 11:44 pm IST – NEW DELHI
In an unexpected development, Srivari Chandrasekhar, Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, has quit his position and will be returning to the Council of Scientific and Industrial and Research (CSIR).
A note from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet dated June 16 said that it had approved the “premature repatriation” of Dr. Chandrasekhar to his “parent” organisation CSIR on “personal grounds.” Prior to joining the Department of Science and Technology (DST), he was director of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology-Hyderabad, a CSIR laboratory, and played a key role in directing research towards developing candidate drugs for COVID-19.
Dr. Chandrasekhar took charge of the DST on December 2021. Usually, Secretaries of scientific departments have tenures of five years or until they become 60 years old. “Of late rules, have been amended with Secretaries of scientific departments only allotted three-year tenures. This, of course, can be extended,” said a senior scientist, who is intimately aware of the workings of scientific departments but who declined to be identified. “Dr. Chandrasekhar’s tenure would have ended this November. So there was time,” the scientist added.
Dr. Chandrasekhar confirmed to The Hindu that “very personal reasons” lay behind his decision, but did not elaborate further. He will remain Secretary of the Department until July 10 this year.
During his tenure as Secretary, he oversaw the initiation of major projects including India’s National Quantum Mission, a ₹6,300 crore endeavour to develop quantum computing capabilities in Indian laboratories and companies.