Aruna Sundararajan gets full charge as DoT secretary, Ajay Prakash Sawhney new IT secretary

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Aruna Sundararajan, secretary of IT and electronics will now be taking full charge of the department of telecom (DoT), which till now was an additional charge given to her in May.

A notification to this effect was issued by the department of personnel, Wednesday, according to which Sundararajan will be at the helm of telecom department filing a vacancy created by posting of former telecom secretary JS Deepak to the WTO as India representative. After Deepak, power secretary PK Pujari was handling DoT as additional charge for a few months before Sundararajan was brought in.

Ajay Prakash Sawhney will take over as secretary for electronics and IT, the government notification added.

One of the key challenges ahead of Sundararajan is the critical condition of the financial health of the sector, for which telecom minister Manoj Sinha and the secretary will be meeting promoters of leading Indian carriers on Thursday.

The meeting - to be attended by Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani and chief executives of Reliance Jio, Tata Teleservices and Idea Cellular - is part of deliberations on solutions for the massive stress on the sector's financials. Banking sector puts the debt associated with telecom at Rs 7.29 lakh crore.

An inter-ministerial panel consisting of members from telecom, finance and revenue, is already looking into this issue, even as the department has sought for cutting of non-tax revenue estimates for 2017-18 by 37% to just over Rs 29,500 crore.

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