Saturday, April 30, 2011

Public Authority denying RTI fee by Indian Postal Order to be fined, says DoPT

THE next time your RTI application is not accepted on the ground that you have paid the application fee by Indian Postal Order, you can protest. In a circular, the DoPT has warned those public authorities which have refused to accept the fees through Indian Postal Order, and said such an instance would result into imposition of penalty by the Central Information Commission.
Recently, there were instances in which Indian Postal Order was not accepted by a few public authorities. But according to Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005, a person seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005 can make payment of fee for obtaining information by cash or demand draft or banker’s cheque or Indian Postal Order.
“Refusal to accept fee through the IPO may be treated as refusal to accept the application. It may result into imposition of penalty by the Central Information Commission,” the DoPT circular dated April 26, 2011 said. The circular further said that all public authorities must ensure that payment by IPO is not denied.

Action and Appointments
AC Pandey, joint secretary in the ministry of labour and employment has been appointed as chief vigilance officer in the ministry of labour and employment for a period of three years with effect from April 25, 2011 or until further orders. This change will be in addition to his charge as joint secretary in the ministry.
Significantly, in a press release, the concerned officer’s telephone numbers including his residence number were specifically mentioned. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

PAC report on 2G scam raps bureaucrats

THE Public Accounts Committee probing the 2G spectrum scam has raised many loopholes in Indian bureaucracy and wanted the government to step in to plug those. The panel headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi gave instances where senior bureaucrats became a party to “the dirty game”.
In its controversial report, the panel has not even spared former DoT secretary DS Mathur and IRS (I-T) officer Manju Madhavan, who as member (finance) in Telecom Commission, had actually flagged the issue. (Also Read: Did a 1971 batch IRS officer flag the 2G scam?)
For Mathur, the panel said he gave an impression that he was against the telecom minister’s policies, but it was not reflected in his official communications as DoT secretary. It also said that Manju Madhavan did not bring it to the notice of the finance minister or secretary the disparaging remarks that she received from the telecom minister when she had objected to certain matters.
The panel has also rapped then finance secretary D Subbarao who is now the Governor, Reserve Bank of India.
The panel says that if the current situation is not changed, honest and upright officers will become mute and ineffective.
It further recommended a panel headed by Prime Minister, and comprising a Supreme Court judge, home minister and leader of Opposition should appoint CAG, CVC and the CBI director who are expected to play non-partisan roles.

Babus in Demand
A director’s post lying vacant in Brussels
The government wants to fill up the post of Adviser (Information and Engineering) in the Embassy of India, Brussels, under the department of commerce. The officers in the rank of deputy secretary or director in the government of India or equivalent level are eligible for the post. The mandatory requirements include work experience of at least two years at the Centre under the Central Staffing Scheme. The candidate should not be over 54 years of age to qualify for the post. The last date of application is May 31, 2011.
(In Picture: It’s a landmark in Brussels. The sculpture depicts a naked little boy urinating into the fountain’s basin. It was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in early 17th century)
Actual DoPT CIRCULAR, dated April 26, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Court dismisses IAS actor’s plea; says no to bureaucrats acting in films, TV serials

Shivaram in a film
BUREAUCRATS can no longer act in films or in TV serials as Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition filed by a 1986 batch IAS, K Shivaram challenging a 2004 state government order barring officials from acting in films.
Karnataka cadre IAS officer Shivaram who is principal secretary in charge of industries, has acted in six Kannada films viz. Baanalle Madhuchnadrakhe, Vasantha Kaavya, Prathibatane, Yaarige Bede Dudu, Khala Nayaka and Game.
The High Court said that the films Shivaram acted were produced as business ventures of the producers. “He could not directly or indirectly involve (himself) in such business ventures, even if it is to be accepted that he derived no monetary benefit from the venture. The very fact of acting in the film when alternatively employed is impermissible. The involvement is complete and total and it is what actors are paid for,” the Judge said in its order on Tuesday.
IAS actor Shivaram had claimed that the ban affected his constitutional right.

Lahiri’s tenure at ADB extended
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension of tenure of Dr Ashok K Lahiri as Executive Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB), for a further period of one year beyond June 30, 2011.

Action and Appointments
a) ACC has approved in-situ elevation of 1979 batch Assam cadre IAS, Vinay Sheet Oberoi, to the level of additional secretary with effect from July 15, 2010, the date he joined as Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO.
b) The appointment of 1977 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IAS Ashok Thakur as secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, has been cancelled. Now, Vinod Kumar Pipersenia, a 1980 batch Assam cadre IAS, presently in the cadre, will be the new  secretary of National Commission for Scheduled Castes in the rank and pay of additional secretary.
c) Ms Nisha Singh, a 1987 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IAS, has been appointed as joint secretary in the ministry of urban development in place of AK Mehta, a 1988 batch Jammu and Kashmir cadre IAS who was earlier appointed as CVO, DFCCI.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lokayukta Hedge bats for separate Goa cadre for IAS

KARNATAKA Lokayukta and member of Jan Lokpal Bill Joint Drafting Committee N Santosh Hedge has batted for a separate IAS cadre only for Goa. In a public meeting at Panaji, Hedge who is back in news after Anna Hazare’s agitation against corruption, expressed surprise how Goa had failed to get a separate IAS cadre even after so many years of attaining the statehood.
IAS officers from Goa like those in Delhi, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh fall under AGMU cadre.
Meanwhile, Hedge on Monday described the nexus between politicians and bureaucrats as the root cause of high-level corruption. According to local media reports in Goa, Hedge made a strong plea for bringing politicians and bureaucrats under the jurisdiction of the proposed Lokpal. He was delivering a lecture on good governance.

Telephone Tapping: Cabinet Secretary issues clarifications
Cabinet secretary has issued a clarification saying that proposed stricter norm for telephone tapping reiterates the established legal position and this “should not be seen in terms of conflicts between individuals or interest groups.” The clarification was issued in the backdrop of adverse media reports on the issue. The cabinet secretary-led group recently recommended either to remove the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) from the list of authorized agencies of telephone interception or to specify stipulations regarding the extent of surveillance allowed to CBDT.

Action and Appointments
Former Mumbai municipal commissioner and 1978 batch IAS Jairaj Phatak has been appointed as member secretary of the Rest of Maharashtra Statutory Development Board (ROMSDB), considered to be an insignificant post. Phatak, named an accused by the CBI in the Adarsh case, was till recently the chairman and managing director of Rural Electrification Corporation Limited.

Monday, April 25, 2011

After an IPS, an IAS officer claims Modi was biased during Gujarat riots

SUSPENDED 1994 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer, Pradeep Sharma, has continued his crusade against BJP strongman and state chief minister Narendra Modi. Sharma has written to RK Raghavan, who heads the Supreme Court-appointed SIT probing the 2002 riots, with an allegation that chief minister had asked him during the riots to influence his brother and IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma to abstain from taking any proactive measures in favour of minorities, according to a section of media reports. Kuldeep Sharma was the IGP Ahmedabad then, and is now on deputation to the Police Research and Development Department in New Delhi after winning a case in the Central Administration Tribunal against the Modi government.
Only in February, Pradeep Sharma, arrested in cases of land allotment irregularities, alleged that chief minister Narendra Modi was trying to keep him behind bars since he knows about the CM’s personal life. Sharma made this allegation in a letter to the chief secretary AK Joti and wanted his case to be transferred to the CBI.
Sharma’s recent claim against Modi has come only days after IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt alleged Modi gave instructions to allow Hindus to vent their anger in post-Godhra train carnage. One of Bhatt’s seniors however refuted the claim that Bhatt attended a crucial meet where the CM reportedly instructed the police to be biased against Muslims. Bhatt’s driver however supported his boss’ claims saying Bhatt in fact attended the CM-convened meeting.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Govt modifies 2007 guidelines; Stints in UPSC, CVC be treated as Central Staffing

THE tenure as deputy secretary, director, joint secretary etc. in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Central Information Commission will now be treated as part of Central Staffing Scheme. That means an officer can no longer keep himself away from the cadre beyond his Central Staffing period in a ministry and then shifting to any of such entities or vice-a-versa.
The government has modified its guidelines dated November, 2007 under which the posts in UPSC, CVC and CIC got classified as non-Central Staffing Scheme posts. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has now approved that posts under UPSC, CIC and CVC would be treated as Central Staffing posts.
DoPT CIRCULAR, dated April 19, 2011

Global Window 
Pak SC asks bureaucrats not to accommodate political masters
Pakistan’s Supreme Court said on Friday that it wanted to end the culture where the bureaucrats should not have any expectation for future extension and should not accommodate political masters, according to Pakistan’s leading newspapers. One of the Supreme Court judges said that there was a perception that a civil servant who cooperated with the government was awarded future extension, adding that if such a culture was allowed to continue bureaucrats would have to be clubbed with certain political parties.

Programme for Indian bureaucrats in Toronto
There will be a Commonwealth Secretariat-sponsored executive programme at York University in Canadian city of Toronto from June 5 to June 17, 2011. It’s meant for Indian civil servants.

Friday, April 22, 2011

PM refers to R Vineel Krishna kidnapping saga to say civil servants enjoy goodwill

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has referred to the spontaneous support of the people of Malkangiri for their collector and 2005 batch IAS, R Vineel Krishna to drive home a point that some civil servants still enjoy the goodwill of the people. “The spontaneous support of the people of Malkangiri, when the Collector of the district was kidnapped by left-wing extremists, is a pointer to the extent of goodwill that well meaning and honest civil servants can achieve,” PM said while inaugurating the 6th Civil Services Day in New Delhi on Thursday.
In mid-February 2011, R Vineel Krishna was abducted on Wednesday by a group of 50 Maoists in Orissa, but was released later.
Prime Minister further said that the core of the Civil Services is sound and rooted in values of integrity and fair play. “It is a pity that instances of individual waywardness, of lack of moral courage, and of surrender to pressures and temptations tarnish the image of the Civil Services and lead to immense criticism and dissatisfaction. Disapproval and even ostracization by peers and colleagues can be a powerful deterrent for those who tend to stray from the path of rectitude,” PM said.
He further said that civil servants should fearlessly advise the political class. “I expect you to be honest and fearless in advising your superior authorities, especially the political leadership,” Dr Singh said.
Also Read
Who is the kidnapped IAS?
Orissa politicians' opposition 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Civil Services Day: PM's Awards for Excellence given for 5 outstanding initiatives

PRIME Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is inaugurating the Civil Services Day in New Delhi on Thursday. On this occasion, he will also give away the “PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” for the year 2009-10. Those who are receiving awards are:
a) Bridging the Gap –Turnaround of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam
b) Success Story of Malkapur 24x7 Water Supply Scheme (Maharashtra)
c) Education and Training Centre – Dreams to Reality, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, (Maharashtra)
d) Sickle Cell Anemia Control Programme, Government of Gujarat
e) Sustainable Plastic Waste Management, Himachal Pradesh.
All officers of Central and state governments individually or as group or as organization are eligible. The award includes a medal, scroll and a cash amount of Rs 1 lakh. In case of a group, the total award money is Rs 5 lakh subject to a maximum of Rs 1 lakh per person. For an organization this is limited to Rs 5 lakh.
Minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions and PMO V Narayanasamy, cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekhar and principal secretary to Prime Minister TKA Nair will be among those present on the occasion.
Transparency and ethics in governance, improvement of public service delivery systems and challenges of economic management are among the issues that will be deliberated in the day long proceedings.

Action and Appointments
a) Kapil Dev Tripathi, a 1980 batch Assam cadre IAS, has been appointed as secretary, Central Vigilance Commission, in the rank and pay of additional secretary in the vacancy of KS Ramasubban, a 1976 batch West Bengal cadre IAS who has retired.
b) Atul Chaturvedi, a 1974 batch UP cadre retired IAS has been appointed as principal adviser in the Cabinet Secretariat on contract basis for a period of three months from the date of assumption of charge.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ex-IRS officer BV Kumar writes on nuances of black money transactions

BV Kumar, a 1958 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, has said in a recently published book about business houses “maintaining” Members of Parliament to influence policies. In his book, “The Darker Side of Black Money”, Kumar said how large industrial houses also fund politicians in the Opposition to further their agenda.
Kumar’s observations are considered important as he had worked as Economic Intelligence Bureau director general among others. He also served as the director general of Narcotics Control Bureau.
Kumar is a contemporary of former National Security Adviser and IB chief MK Narayanan. Narayanan who is now West Bengal Governor writes in the foreword that the publication of book could not have been better timed, referring to the current wave of corruption-related scams. Narayanan was a key aide to PM during the UPA-I regime.
Defence Service officer debarred
Mahesh Kumar Gupta, a 1984 batch officer of Indian Defence Service of Engineers has been debarred from deputation for a posting under Central staffing for five years as he had failed to join as director in the ministry of textile after being appointed there. Mr Gupta is also debarred from taking up any foreign posting or consultancy work during this same period.

Action and Appointments
a) Anand Agarwal, a 1999 batch Indian Defence Accounts Service officer has been appointed as deputy secretary in the department of telecommunications.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gujarat may dole out plots of land to IAS, IPS at cheaper rates

IF THE Narendra Modi government has its way, Gujarat’s IAS, IPS and other senior officers may turn lucky to get plots of land up to 330 sq metres at cheaper rate. This could be possible as the state government is contemplating to revive a scheme lying dormant for 10 years.
A news report in The Indian Express said that all IAS or IPS officers and government officials who had served in Gandhinagar for more than five years would be eligible to get plots measuring from 90 sqm to 330 sqm at concessional rates if this scheme is implemented. Currently, a 330 sq metre plot in Gandhinagar costs about Rs 1.5 crore.
The newspaper quoting unnamed sources said the government was inclined to revive the scheme on account of “very high demand (pressure) from new IAS/IPS officers and other officials who have not been able to get the benefits of the old scheme”.
Gujarat government has a similar policy for MLAs and MPs and former ministers too.

2 retired IAS in Bengal poll fray
Two retired IAS officers were among the candidates that fought West Bengal elections on Monday. Former Andhra Pradesh chief secretary Triloknath Dewan is a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) candidate in Darjeeling, and Sukhvilash Verma, Congress candidate in Jalpaiguri, had served as principal secretary in West Bengal’s agriculture department.

Action and Appointments
a) Shiv Prasad Sharma, a 1991 batch MP cadre Indian Forest Service officer has been appointed as director in the department of animal husbandry.
b) Ms Lopamudra Mohanty, a 1999 batch Indian P and T Accounts and Finance Service officer has been appointed as deputy secretary in the ministry of women and child development.

Monday, April 18, 2011

ED links anti-corruption crusader VS Pandey with Hasan Ali case; Shunglu, Lyngdoh in core team of Pandey’s IRI

MAYAWATI government might have distanced itself by immediately removing principal secretary (information) and 1979 batch IAS Vijay Shankar Pandey in the wake of Enforcement Directorate’s possible probe on his alleged linkage with Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, but this process of investigation is likely to damage the reputation of an anti-corruption group called India Rejuvenation Initiative in which Pandey has been actively involved.
According to reports, Pandey and Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh could be summoned by the ED in connection with the passport procured by Hasan Ali who reportedly evaded an income tax of over Rs 70,000 crore. The ED is also probing possible money laundering by Hasan Ali.
Pandey is known to be an honest officer and was one of the first civil servants to publicly declare his assets one and half years ago. Pandey is a key driver of anti-corruption group India Rejuvenation Initiative in which several eminent civil servants including former CAG VK Shunglu, former chief election commissioner JM Lyngdoh, and former Planning Commission secretary Dr NC Saxena are executive members. Significantly, Shunglu is now probing the Commonwealth Games scam and Saxena is a member of UPA chairwoman Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Corridors of Poetry: Haryana cadre IAS Sumita Misra turns poet

YET another senior IAS has turned a poet. Sumita Misra, a 1990 batch Haryana cadre IAS has come out with a collection of poems named Life of a Light, touching subjects like womanhood and aspirations of women and youth.
The collection of 45 poems was recently released by Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia. A masters in economics, Sumita Misra is currently posted as chief electoral officer of government of Haryana.
Yet her high point in career is bringing out innovative solution in the field of renewable energy. Under her leadership from March, 2005, the Haryana Renewable Energy Department and Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) emerged as national leader in the field of energy conservation.
In the corridors of poetry, Sumita Misra is not alone. Bishnupada Sethi, a 1995 batch Orissa cadre IAS is a confirmed poet with two poetry books already in his kitty. His latest book, My World of Words is a collection of poems with an underlining theme that words are central to human existence. Also, Amarendra Khatua, a 1981 batch IFS officer is known for his Oriya poetry.
UT adviser hints at introducing CNG buses in Chandigarh
KK Sharma, a 1983 batch IAS officer and newly appointed adviser of Union Territory of Chandigarh, has hinted that the capital city of Punjab and Haryana may follow the Delhi route in introducing CNG buses there. Sharma was the principal secretary in the Public Works Department in Delhi.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ratan Tata frustrated over “bureaucratic delays”, says US media report

Ratan Tata, the chairman of $67 billion business conglomerate, is frustrated as he has not been able to expand his business in India the way he wished. And who’s to blame for that? According to a detailed interview-based article published in world’s largest circulated business daily, The Wall Street Journal on April 13, the 73-year-old Tata said bureaucratic delays, arbitrary regulatory decisions and widespread corruption prevented his domestic ambitions in sectors such as steel, power, aviation and telecommunications. These are some of the sectors where government’s regulatory mechanism is very high.
Tata’s words are taken seriously by investors abroad as his group has presence in many key markets around the world. After all, he is the owner of many foreign assets including Jaguar cars, the Pierre Hotel in New York and Tetley tea among others.

View bureaucrats’ assets on May 31, 2011
It’s now official. All immovable property details submitted by members of all Group A services including IAS, IPS, IRS etc. will be made public by the respective cadre controlling authorities by May 31, 2011. The date was given in a DoPT circular. In an earlier circular, it was made clear that those bureaucrats who fail to file their property returns would not be considered for promotion.

Residential complex in Greater Noida for soldiers
The Indian Army has will create a residential complex for its soldiers at Greater Noida near Delhi for which the foundation stone was laid by the Chief of Army Staff, General VK Singh on Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How To Avoid Bureaucracy: Japan PM’s experiments fail

IN AN unprecedented development, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has sidestepped the country’s bureaucratic channels and in turn created a temporary response team to the nuclear crisis. Kan, known for his anti-bureaucracy stance, has included his own advisers in the response team. The move has angered Japan’s career officials who are now subtly spreading the message that the earthquake-tsunami-nuke leak crisis is not being handled properly, local media reports say.
Kan has also junked nuclear emergency plans that were largely written by bureaucrats. Kan’s top aid Yukio Edano told a section of media that usual bureaucratic system is slow and there’s no way such a method could respond to a disaster of this scale.
But Kan’s office is getting flaks for avoiding normal bureaucratic procedures to handle the crisis. When there was a fire, Kan’s office reportedly gave the order to send police trucks rather than fire tenders!
(In Picture: Japan PM’s Official Residence)

Govt invites suggestions on prevention of bribery of foreign public officials
The government has invited comments and suggestions from people on “The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill, 2011” which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 25, 2011. Those who are interested may send their views or suggestions on the Bill by 30th April 2011,a DoPT circular dated April 11, 2011 says.

Action and Appointments
P Hazarika, a retired IAS officer from Guwahati, presently working as officer on special duty in the Sports Authority of Assam has been appointed as an advisor for Goa National Games Secretariat. Goa will organize the National Games 2011.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shiv Sena activist and 1986 batch former IAS leaves Thackerays

FORMER IAS officer Avinash Dharmadhikari who joined Shiv Sena in March, 2009, quit the party on Monday. A 1986 batch IAS who became deputy secretary to Maharashtra chief minister in mid-1990s, left service in 1996 and unsuccessfully contested two elections as independent candidates. Then he began his innings as a Shiv Sena activist, but could not cope up with the party culture and got side-tracked. His takeaway now is that you can’t change the system while remaining in a political party.
Dharmadhikari’s book Aswastha Dashakachi Diary, (Diary of a Decade of Agony) became a hit as he narrated his decade-long association with the government as an IAS. Last year, he again hogged the limelight when he began to run an IAS-IPS training academy to help Maharashtrian youths with preparing the UPSC examinations. The institute, set up by Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar and inaugurated by Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, is meant to produce more IAS officers from Maharashtra.
As an IAS, Dharmadhikari had served as additional collector, Pune and district collector, of Raigad (Alibag) besides being deputy secretary to Maharashtra chief minister.

Monday, April 11, 2011

DoPT races ahead of Hazare: Officers’ properties will now be on public domain

IT seems to be a mere coincidence, but Indian government’s circular stating that immovable property returns of IAS and other Group A officers would be placed in public domain, came a day before Anna Hazare began a “fast unto death” for a stringent anti-corruption law. On April 5, 2011, Hazare began his fast to exert pressure on the government to enact a Jan Lokpal Bill, a law that will establish an ombudsman with powers to deal with corruption in public offices.
Incidentally, DoPT’s circular came on April 4, 2011 asking IAS officers to submit the immovable property returns as on January 1, 2011 with a clear tag saying that annual property returns of IAS and other Central government officers would be placed in public domain.
Though all officers need to file these returns, many of those don’t care much. Also, till now, these returns were kept confidentially. Now, according to the DoPT circular, officers failing to file such returns would be denied vigilance clearance leading to the stalling of their promotion and empanelment.
That’s not all. If an officer fails to submit the return by the stipulated date of April 20, 2011, his or her name will be made public under the list of defaulting officers, the circular added.

Circular for CVC post
Can a non-government person with impeccable integrity directly apply for the post of CVC? The circular does mention about it, but it’s not clear how he can apply for the post.
Read the DoPT CIRCULAR, dated April 5, 2011

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Gujarat’s Metro Rail: Former IAS Sanjay Gupta appointed as MEGA chairman

Sanjay Gupta, a 1985 batch IAS officer who left service to join Adani Group as CEO will now lead a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed to undertake the Rs 12,000 crore metro project --- Metro Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA). After a lot of deliberation, Gujarat government zeroed in Gupta and appointed him as the chairman of the SPV which will undertake this flagship infrastructure project in the state.
An IIT engineer from Roorkee, 48-year-old Gupta is one of the few IAS officers who have successfully set up their own ventures after quitting the elite government service. He set up the Neesa group which is now a multi business conglomerate worth over Rs 1000 crore with a work force of over 1500. He is currently the non-executive chairman of the Neesa group. Cambay is the flagship brand of the group which owns 8 luxurious hotels and 2 golf properties among others.
The company website says: “Under his (Sanjay Gupta) leadership, Neesa Group has converted itself into a well-diversified group involved in hospitality services, agro-biotechnology, steel casting and I. T. Services through innovative business planning and professional management.” (In Picture: Gupta in the middle with some of his employees at Neesa office)
Also Read

Gujarat government promotes 7 IAS
The government of Gujarat has promoted seven IAS officers of 1986 batch to the rank of principal secretary. They are IPGautam, municipal commissioner, Ahmedabad, Sangita Singh, MD, Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation, Sanjay Prasad, counselor coordination, Embassy of India, Moscow, Pankaj Kumar, vice chairman and CEO of Gujarat Maritime Board, Guruprasad Mahapatra, commissioner of commercial Tax, Ahmedabad, PD Vaghela, chairman, Kandla Port Trust and Vipul Mitra, secretary tourism. (Also Read: Vipul Mitra’s Virgin Dreams).

Friday, April 08, 2011

More allowances for officers studying at foreign universities

IF YOU are an Indian government officer selected for a foreign university, the revised allowances could make you happy. You can now afford to stay at a decent hostel, take a taxi and do some shopping while studying abroad.
According to the revised Domestic Funding of Foreign Training (DFFT) scheme, the monthly allowance for long term courses has been increased to USD 1549 in case of USA, and USD 1518 for Australia. For Netherlands, the allowance (USD 1580) is even more than that of UK ($1538).
That’s not all. The accommodation allowance is $1000 per month in big cities. And other one-time allowances include warm clothing allowance of US$ 500, departure allowance of $500, arrival allowance of $375 and books and assignment allowance of $1000.
The revised rates have been applicable from August 1, 2010.
The financial assistance under partial funding scheme for top 30 universities has been revised upward to $45,000.
Also Read

Six new posts including one at JS level created
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the opening of Consulate General of India in Australian city of Perth and creation of six India-based posts including one post of Consul General in the level of joint secretary and six local posts. The establishment of a Consulate General of India in Perth is likely to benefit the growing Indian community in Western Australia, which numbers around 45,000.

Action and Appointments
a) Commerce secretaries of both India and Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on April 27 and 28. Last month, home secretaries of the two countries met, followed by an informal meeting between the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Yosuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of India-Pakistan cricket World Cup semi-final match in Mohali.
b) Justice Prakash Chandra Verma, Judge, Allahabad High Court has been transferred to the Patna High Court and Justice Mool Chand Garg, Additional Judge, Delhi High Court has been transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Maharashtra government for stringent laws to tackle retired bureaucrats

THE government of Maharashtra may amend existing laws so as to make retired bureaucrats responsible for mistakes they had committed while in service. According to reports quoting Maharashtra’s urban development minister, the new laws are being planned because several retired bureaucrats manage to skip punishments thanks to the loopholes of existing laws.
According to the existing laws, retired bureaucrats at best lose their pensions. They are not compelled to surrender assets for any loss to the exchequer because of their omissions and commissions while in service. The new laws may also ensure that retired bureaucrats must take government’s permissions before joining any private sector company.
The issue cropped in Maharashtra assembly during the debates on the issue of irregularities allegedly committed by former CIDCO vice president and Managing Director GS Gill. In fact, the state government set up two secretary level committees last year to investigate decisions taken by Gill in the last six months before his retirement.
Also Read

Action and Appointments
a) Shiv Prasad Sharma, a 1991 batch MP cadre Indian Forest Service officer has been appointed as director in the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries under the ministry of agriculture.
b) Rajesh Singh, a 1998 batch Indian Postal Service officer has been appointed as deputy secretary in the department of higher education under the ministry of human resources development.
c) Rashmi Chowdhary, a 1989 batch Indian Railways Personnel Service (IRPS) officer has been appointed as director in the department of higher education under HRD. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

India's top bureaucrats TKA Nair and KM Chandrasekhar asked to depose before PAC

COUNTRY'S top bureaucrats including TKA Nair, principal secretary to Prime Minister and cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar have been asked to appear before the Murli Manohar Joshi-led Public Accounts Committee investigating the 2G spectrum allocation scam. They are likely to depose before the committee on April 15-16. According to reports, the panel has called CBI chief AP Singh for a second deposition, and may seek a deposition from Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, a 1972 batch retired IAS.
Joshi who has turned more aggressive by every day feels that summoning key bureaucrats like Nair and Chandrasekhar would help the panel do a better assessment on whether former telecom minister A Raja allocated UAS licences on 2G spectrum by overruling PMO’s objections.
Joshi’s panel has recently asked various questions to corporate honchos like Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani and controversial corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

Revenue officials to study Central Economic Intelligence Bureau’s role
The government has constituted a four-member committee to review the role, functioning and structure of the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) in the changed economic scenario. The members of the committee include SS Khan, retired Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ms Vijay Lakshmi Sharma, Member, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Dr Kewal Ram, senior economic advisor department. of consumer affairs and Deputy Director General, CEIB as Member Secretary to the committee. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

No April Fool: Dhoni received real World Cup trophy, clarifies customs officials

THE Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) under the ministry of finance has denied that the original ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 trophy was lying in the Airport Customs Warehouse in Mumbai. The clarification was issued in response to a section of reports claiming that Dhoni and his boys received just a replica of the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy as the real one remained with customs officials stationed in Mumbai airport. As media reports slammed the customs officials for retaining the “trophy”, the only saviour for the customs was a letter dated April 1, 2011, incidentally the day of April Fool. None other than low profile CBEC chairman SD Majumdar reached out to media and showed ICC tournament director’s letter in front of TV camera to prove that the customs officials actually retained the replica of the trophy and the not the real one.
Here is the story line.
Two passengers by the name of Mrs Emma Waite and Mr Rixon Heyder, arrived by Flight 9W 255 on 1st April, 2011 at Mumbai airport from Colombo. They were carrying a trophy in their personal baggage which was claimed to be ‘ICC Perpetual Trophy’. All goods and equipments imported temporarily for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 tournament, a list of which was given by the ICC Tournament Committee, have been exempted from customs duty. However, the list given by the ICC Tournament Committee did not cover the aforesaid trophy which was claimed by the passengers to be ‘ICC Perpetual Trophy’, the CBEC release said.
To remove all doubts, the concerned customs officers contacted the ICC tournament director and enquired about the said ‘trophy’, so that appropriate action could be taken expeditiously and the matter resolved. In response, professor RS Shetty, tournament director of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in a letter dated April 1, 2011 addressed to commissioner of customs, Air Cargo Complex, Sahar, Mumbai informed that:
i) The ‘trophy’ in question was not to be used for any purpose inside the country for the ongoing World Cup;
ii) It was being carried by Mrs Emma Waite and Mr Rixon Heyder as their personal baggage and that it would have been taken back to the ICC Headquarters on completion of their assignment in India;
iii) That the trophy shall be collected by the above passengers on their way back to their destination;
A request was also made in the letter of Professor Shetty that the customs office may hold the trophy in the customs warehouse at the Mumbai airport till it is collected by the concerned passengers on their return.

Action and Appointments
a) The ministry of minority affairs discussed various issues related to the implementation of programmes for the welfare of minorities with principal secretaries or secretaries of states or UTs on Monday. Vivek Mehrotra, secretary in ministry of minority affairs, inaugurated the meeting.
b) MA Gnnapathy, a 1986 batch Uttarakhand cadre IPS has been appointed as joint secretary (Naxal Management) in the ministry of home affairs in place of Dr Kashmir Singh, a 1978 batch UP cadre IPS.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Dikshit’s confidante PK Tripathi appointed as new chief secretary of Delhi

Sheila Dikshit’s right hand man and 1977 batch IAS Praveen K Tripathi will be Delhi’s new chief secretary. Tripathi who started his career as assistant commissioner in July 1979 in Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, became a close confidante of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit when he was picked up as the principal secretary to CM in June 2006.
Dikshit has now chosen Tripathi to head Delhi’s bureaucracy at a time when she receives flaks from PM-appointed Shunglu committee on Commonwealth Games’ extravaganza. Dikshit and her team of bureaucrats have however refuted the charges leveled against her government. Significantly, Tripathi too was engaged closely with the Games as he was the principal secretary in charge of information and publicity of the Commonwealth Games between December 2007 and July 2009.
Some of Tripathi’s key postings included CEO of Delhi Jal Board and chairman of Delhi Tourism and Transportation Corporation. On a Central deputation, Tripathi also served as a joint secretary in information and broadcasting ministry.
An MA in political science, Tripathi hails from Uttar Pradesh, and had earlier served in Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Has 3G auction’s windfall helped Vijayalakshmy K Gupta get defence finance secretary’s post?

IT'S not an April Fool! Vijayalakshmy K Gupta, a 1974 batch IDAS officer, took over as secretary (defence finance) on April 1 in place of Nita Kapoor. Ms Gupta was Member (Finance) in the Telecom Commission till recently.
Mrs Gupta’s role in designing the 3G auction is believed to be the key reason for her elevation to this key post. Mrs Gupta headed the Inter-Ministerial committee that finalized the design of the auction of 3G Spectrum in May, 2010, which in turn yielded revenue of more than Rs 1.06 lakh crore to the public exchequer far more than the government’s internal estimates.
A post graduate in political science and public administration from Bombay University, Ms Gupta was a recipient of gold medal for her academic excellence. Last year, he completed her doctorate in women’s human rights. She has held several key assignments including additional secretary in ministry of women and child development and additional financial advisor in the ministry of defence.
From September 2005 to November 2008, Ms Gupta also served as the financial advisor to the Commonwealth Games 2010 Organizing Committee, responsible for budget formulation, expenditure control, financial reforms, manpower planning and risk management among others.

Sudha Pillai’s solo art show on April 3
Come Sunday, Sudha Pillai, a 1972 batch retired IAS and Member Secretary of Planning Commission, will present her solo art show titled “Joy of Living”. Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit will be the Guest of Honour for the special show to be held at 26, Prithviraj Road in New Delhi. Mrs Pillai who is wife of home secretary GK Pillai, is known for her figurative and abstract paintings and her expressive portraits of women.