Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goel Vs Chawla: A saga of post-retirement competition

IS THERE a seniority post retirement? After the government decided to name former finance secretary and 1973 batch retired IAS Ashok Chawla as the chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), two CCI members HC Gupta and Anurag Goel are learnt to have expressed their discomfort as the appointment would let pass their seniority. Gupta and Goel are retired IAS officers of 1971 and 1972 batch respectively, and if Chawla is appointed as chairman, they have to report to a junior officer! The post of CCI chairman has been lying vacant since Dhanendra Kumar demitted office on completion of 65 years of age on June 5, 2011.
The issue has been highlighted by Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS who has argued that since the members are appointed post-retirement, the principle of seniority should cease to exist. Mehta himself was running for the chairmanship of the commission in 2005.
Here are the excerpts of an open letter written by Mehta to Anurag Goel.

“Dear Shri Goel,
With reference to the subject, I write this appeal to you as part of my duties under Article 51A of the Constitution of India (spirit of inquiry and reform so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour etc.) and as someone closely associated with the evolution of the competition regime and the institutions involved in promoting a healthy competition culture in India.
I believe that following the likely appointment of Shri Ashok Chawla as the new Chairman of CCI you may wish to resign as he is one batch behind you in the IAS…First of all, seniority is an issue when you or he were still in service and the same cannot be carried forward as a legacy forever, and particularly in post-retirement jobs such as at the CCI etc. Personally, while there are merits in the seniority system, I find the same repugnant, because it does not recognize merit.
However, this is not only my view but several others, who believe, that once you have retired from service, and sought appointment as a Member ardently, the seniority principle is exhausted. Having interacted with Shri Chawla for many years, I am confident that he will make an excellent skipper. I am aware that you were also a contender for the Chairmanship but the selection committee in its wisdom weighed in favour of Shri Chawla, as they did in your case when you sought the appointment as a Member.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road to North Block: RS Gujral appointed new revenue secretary

ALL roads don't lead to North Block. But RS Gujral, a 1976 batch Haryana cadre IAS and presently secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways has been appointed as revenue secretary in place of Sunil Mitra, a 1975 batch West Bengal cadre IAS who is retiring on June 30, 2011.
An old hand of minister Kamal Nath, Gujral was brought in as secretary to the ministry of road transport and highways when Nath was the road transport and highways minister. A Humphery fellow from US, Mr Gujral was the Director General of Foreign Trade and had closely worked with Nath when the latter was the minister of commerce and industry during the last UPA government.
Gujral lost his grips in the ministry after Nath was replaced by CP Joshi as road transport and highways minister. That Gujral did not get along well with Joshi became widely known inside and outside the ministry.  Also Read

Action and Appointments
a) Mohammed Haleem Khan, a 1977 batch UP cadre IAS, presently Director General, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) under the department of rural development has been appointed as secretary in the department of disinvestment in place of Sumit Bose, a 1976 batch MP cadre IAS.
b) Alok Rawat, a 1977 batch Sikkim cadre IAS, presently secretary, UPSC, has been appointed as secretary (coordination and public grievances) in Cabinet Secretariat in  place of Ajit Kumar Seth who was elevated as cabinet secretary.
c) K Jose Cyriac, a 1977 batch Kerala cadre IAS, presently special secretary in the department of revenue has been appointed as secretary, department of chemicals and petrochemicals.
d) AK Upadhyay, a 1975 batch Bihar cadre IAS, presently secretary, department of youth affairs, has been appointed as secretary in the ministry of road transport and highways in place of RS Gujral.
e) The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has approved the repatriation of Sanjay Mitra, a 1982 batch West Bengal cadre IAS and joint secretary to PM with effect from July 4, 2011 to his cadre.
f) Rakesh Kacker, a 1977 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS, presently special secretary, department of consumer affairs has been appointed as secretary, ministry of food processing industries in place of Ashok Sinha, a 1975 batch Maharashtra cadre IAS who is retiring on June 30, 2011.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ranjan Mathai is India’s new foreign secretary; BoI ( said it 4 months ago

Ranjan Mathai, a 1974 batch IFS officer, presently Ambassador in Paris, has been appointed as foreign secretary for a two-year term. Mathai will replace Ms Nirupama Rao, a 1973 batch IFS, who is retiring on July 31, 2011.
BoI ( in a report dated as early as February 28, 2011 said why Indian ambassador to France Ranjan Mathai would clinch the coveted foreign secretary’s job. “Mathai’s chances have brightened after his batchmate and another strong contender Alok Prasad was sent to Tokyo as Indian ambassador to Japan earlier this month. Prasad who was the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka before becoming the Deputy National Security Adviser was believed to be the front-runner, but his chances slipped after he was shifted out to Japan,” said BoI report.
 Who is Ranjan Mathai?
* Born on May 24, 1952
* Completed his post graduation in political science from the University of Poona
* Joined Indian Foreign Service in 1974
* Served in Indian Embassies in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Tehran and Brussels
* Worked as joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs between January 1995 and February 1998
* Became the Indian Ambassador to Israel, Indian Ambassador in Qatar, Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK in London before becoming Ambassador of India to France
With Mathai’s appointment, both foreign secretary and cabinet secretary happen to be batch-mates of 1974 batch.

Action and Appointments
a) The competent authority has approved the assignment of additional charge of the post of secretary, department of defence production to Pradeep Kumar, a 1972 batch Haryana cadre IAS and defence secretary with immediate effect and up to July 31, 2011.
b) Appointment Committee of the Cabinet approved that Arun Kumar Mishra, a 1976 batch UP cadre IAS and secretary in the department of drinking water and sanitation, will hold additional charge of the post of secretary in ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation during the absence on leave of Ms Kiran Dhingra, a 1975 batch UT cadre IAS from July 27, 2011 to August 23, 2011.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Commerce ministry’s Amitabh Jain to head for Indian High Commission in London

Amitabh Jain, a 1989 batch Chhattisgarh cadre IAS, has been appointed as Minister (Economics) in the High Commission of India, London. Jain replaces his batch-mate from West Bengal cadre Anil Verma who had to return to India halfway after he allegedly assaulted his wife. The entire episode got huge British media attention. Verma, who had worked closely with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was the third most senior Indian officer in London High Commission then.
Now, the appointments committee of cabinet has approved the appointment of Amitabh Jain, presently working as Additional Director General of Foreign Trade at the level of a joint secretary in the department of commerce. Jain will have a tenure of three years, from the date of assumption of charge of the post or until further orders, whichever event takes place earlier, with the condition that the appointment of the officer at the first instance will be restricted up to August 27, 2013 and appointment for the remaining period out of three years, will be notified only after the receipt of cadre clearance of the state government of Chhattisgarh.
A mechanical engineer with specialization in systems analysis, Jain was in the cadre till he joined DGFT in 2006.

Action and Appintments
a) Rajiv Gupta, a 1979 batch UK cadre IAS, presently in the cadre, has been appointed as Managing Director, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), New Delhi at the level of a joint secretary.
b) Chandra Prakash, a 1982 batch UP cadre IAS, has been appointed as joint secretary in the ministry of labour and employment in place of SK Dev Barman, a 1987 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IAS on his appointment as Advisor in UNDP.
c) A number of senior finance ministry officials including DEA secretary RGopalan and chief economic adviser Dr Kaushik Basu are accompanying Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on a three day visit to USA beginning June 27, 2011. FM will deliver a keynote address at the conference on “US-India Economic and Financial Partnership”.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Global Window: Indonesia opts for early retirement to trim bureaucracy

INDONESIA'S ministry of finance has recommended an early retirement programme with suitable compensation package for retiring civil servants. The move is mainly to trim the country's bulging bureaucracy, a media report said. The scheme is interesting as the debate on retirement age and suitable packages for those opting for voluntary retirement has been continuing in a number of countries including India. A few months ago, there were rumours in Delhi's power corridors that the retirement age for Central government employees would be risen to 62 from the current level of 60 years. It's expected that the UPA-II may time the move politically and raise retirement age sometime later to woo over five million Central government employees.
In Indonesia, the directorate general of the treasury is expected to suggest a voluntary early retirement programme for 50-55 year-old employees, and they would get huge benefits as part of their severance payments.
At present, there are about 4.7 million permanent civil servants in Indonesia, excluding the honorary employees.
Also Read
Indian Govt's Move 2 Years Ago

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Indian government officer wanted for World Bank's Washington-based post

THE Central government has been looking for officers at the rank of deputy secretary and director for the post of Adviser to the Executive Director, World Bank. The selected officer will have a three-year term at Washington DC.
The mandatory requirements include two years of experience at the Centre under the Central staffing scheme, clearance from vigilance angle, at least “very good” service record etc. The maximum age for the applicant can’t be more than 54 years. The officer must not be on study leave or long leave now. The familiarity in dealing with the multilaterals in policy dialogue at the Government of India is an added advantage. It is desired that the candidate should have a degree in economics or MBA in international trade or public finance. The last date of application is July 25, 2011.

Action and Appointments
a) Anurag Jain, a 1989 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS, has been appointed as joint secretary in the department of financial services in place of Ms Ravneet Kaur, a 1988 batch Punjab cadre IAS. Jain had earlier served as secretary to MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
b) The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for in-situ upgradation of the post of director of Census Operations (DCO) in Punjab and Chhattisgarh (director level) under the ministry of home affairs, presently held by Ms Seema Jain, a 1991 batch Punjab cadre IAS and Ms Renu G Pillay, a 1991 batch Chandigarh cadre IAS, respectively to the level joint secretary.
c) Dinesh Mathur, a 1992 batch Indian Telecom Service officer, has been selected for appointment as director in the ministry of home affairs for a period of five years.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What makes Raj Kumar Singh top contender for home secretary’s post

IT’S now almost sure that 1975 batch Bihar cadre IAS Raj Kumar Singh will replace GK Pillai to become India’s next home secretary on June 30, 2011. Singh who is now secretary, defence production, in the ministry of defence has an edge over others to clinch the high profile post of home secretary as he had a very successful innings as a joint secretary in the home ministry. The defence minister AK Antony has reportedly given his accent to release him from the ministry. Apart from Singh, Punjab chief secretary SC Aggarwal and a few others were recently interviewed by home minister P Chidambaram.
Singh had several innings both in defence and home ministries from early 1990s before clinching the post of secretary, defence production in July 2009.
In 1986, Singh did a 20-week long management course from an institute in Netherlands.

Action and Appointments
S Chandrasekharan, a 1975 batch officer of the Indian Railway Account Service, has assumed charge as the new secretary for ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. In his career spanning over 36 years, Chandrasekharan has served as additional Member (Finance) Railway Board, AS and FA(Acquisition), ministry of finance, financial adviser and CAO, South Central Railway and Divisional Railway Manager, Mysore among other portfolios.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bureaucrats blamed for misleading Left Front government on Singur land row

Deserted Singur
AS IT has turned out now that Mamata Banerjee actually handled the Singur land row better than the Left veterans, former Left administration has begun to make the bureaucrats the fall guys. According to reports, a former CPI(M) minister blamed the bureaucrats for misleading the government on Singur land issue. Former West Bengal land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah has said that the babus misled the erstwhile Left Front government that land in Singur could not be returned to farmers. The former minister has now supported the Singur Bill which is being tabled in state assembly with an objective to return land to the agitating farmers. The Tata Motors, which built 80% of its factory in Singur for its Nano car project, shifted their base to Gujarat because of Banerjee-led agitation. The Singur episode became the turning point for Trinamul Congress’ landslide victory in Bengal.

40 officers attend Jaya's tea party
Around 40 IAS, IPS and IFS officers of Tamil Nadu cadre attended a tea party organized by chief minister J Jayalalithaa in New Delhi recently. Those officers who attended it included director general CRPF K Vijayakumar, K Skandan, Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Sandeep Rai Rathore, R Gopalan, Ajay Bhattacharya, Shakti Kanta Das, Ashok Kumar Gupta, C Chandramouli, Shashi Shekhar and Ashutosh Shukla, according to media reports.
The party turned out to be fruitful for many New Delhi-based senior officials, but for many, the new CM’s appeal for their return journey to Chennai was not well digested. After all, most Tamil Nadu cadre officers prefer to be on deputation in New Delhi rather than being posted in Chennai.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Action on inter-state movement of IAS officers continues

UNION home ministry has viewed seriously of Arunachal Pradesh government’s reluctance to relieve two IAS officers from the state even as their order of posing in Goa came five months ago. According to reports, 1987 batch IAS VK Dev and 2005 batch IAS Pawan K Sain were to be posted in Goa according to orders of Union home ministry, but no officer can take up his or her new assignment unless he is relieved by the state. 
The MHA (ministry of home affairs) issued a reminder, and finally sent a note saying that the Centre viewed Arunachal Pradesh government’s reluctance “seriously”. According to rules, the transfers need to be honoured in a time-bound manner. The movement from Arunachal Pradesh to Goa is a routine affair as both states depend on the same AGMUT cadre IAS officers.
But there is good news on inter-cadre transfers. Temjenwapang Ao, a 2000 batch Orissa cadre IAS has been transferred from Orissa cadre to Nagaland cadre for a period of five years from date of assumption of charge or until further orders. Also, the government has transferred Shashank Misra, a 2007 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IAS from Manipur-Tripura cadre to Madhya  Pradesh cadre on the ground of marriage with Ms Ruchi Shrivastava, a 2006 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS officer.

Action and Appointments
a) S Chandrasekharan, a 1975 batch IRAS officer, presently additional Member (finance), in Railway Board has been appointed as secretary in ministry of parliamentary affairs in place of Ms Usha Mathur, a 1974 batch IRAS who has retired.
b) Atul Chaturvedi, a 1974 batch UP cadre retired IAS, has been appointed as Member, Public Enterprises Selection Board for three years or until the age of 65 years.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Government may create an IAS, IPS like service to man regulatory bodies

AFTER many failed attempts to create new services like Indian Educational Service and Indian Legal Service along the lines of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), here is one more such idea. Now, the law ministry has begun to work on a proposal to set up an Indian Regulatory Service like IAS and IPS. The personnel directly recruited for this service will man regulatory authorities like Sebi, Trai etc. which are now being managed by retired bureaucrats.
The cadre of the proposed service will have to pass an all-India examination to be conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and they would be recruited in organizations such as Competition Commission of India (CCI), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA), Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) among others.
Media reports quoting law minister Veerappa Moily said that the move was necessitated by the fact that regulators would increasingly play a larger role in governance of the country, and manning these bodies by bureaucrats on-deputation and retired judges would increasingly become a difficult task.

Action and Appointments
a) The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has  approved the following  appointments at the level of additional secretary, on in-situ basis, by temporarily upgrading the posts held by the officers
(i) Ms Parvinder S Behuria, a 1977 batch IRS-IT officer, as Secretary, PESB, Department of Personnel and Training in the rank and pay of additional secretary.
(ii) Ms Ajanta Dayalan, a 1978 batch IA and AS officer, as additional secretary in cabinet secretariat.
(iii) Ms Rasheda Hussain, a 1978 batch IRS(C and CE, as additional secretary (COFEPOSA) under the department of revenue.
(iv) Arunava Dutt, a 1978 batch IDAS officer, financial adviser in border security force, in the rank of additional secretary.
b) Siddharth  Sharma, a 1996 batch Indian Civil Accounts Service officer has been appointed as director in the department of expenditure. 

Monday, June 06, 2011

KM Chandrasekhar is ahead of Paul and Duggal in race for Delhi Lt Governor’s post

Chandrasekhar In A Happy Mood (File Photo) 
CABINET secretary KM Chandrasekhar’s post retirement assignment is almost ready. Chandrasekhar, India’s top bureaucrat and the sole 1970 batch IAS to remain in service will retire on June 14, 2011, but he is likely to become Lieutenant Governor of Delhi soon after. Chandrasekhar has emerged as the front-runner after chief minister Sheila Dikshit has put her foot down saying that he does not want any of her own ex-officer taking up this assignment.
Though former Delhi police commissioner KK Paul and former Union home secretary VK Duggal are strong contenders to succeed Tejender Khanna in Delhi’s Raj Bhawan, Delhi CM has conveyed it to the home minister that she does not want someone to be Lt Governor who had earlier worked under her. Whereas Paul was her police commissioner, Duggal had earlier worked as municipality commissioner in Delhi government. In protocol, Lt Governor is above the chief minister. Paul is the husband of Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s all powerful advisor Omita Paul.
Also, there are speculations about Chandrasekhar taking the position of TKA Nair as the principal adviser to PM if Dr Manmohan Singh decides to send Nair to a Raj Bhawan. Some argue that India’s executive director in the World Bank and 1974 batch UP cadre IAS Pulok Chatterji has a better chance to occupy that important position in South Block. Chatterji had earlier worked closely with former PM Rajiv Gandhi and UPA chairwoman Sonia Gandhi, and is quite close to 10 Janpath.

Action and Appointments
a) The Central government with the concurrence of government of Madhya Pradesh, has  approved the premature repatriation of Ms Kamini Chauhan Ratan, a 1997 batch UP cadre IAS, presently on inter-cadre deputation, from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh.
b) Ms Minakshi Ghose, a 1981 batch IA and AS officer has been appointed as joint secretary in the department of disinvestment.
c)Vijay Bhushan Pathak, a 1990 batch Sikkim cadre IAS, has been appointed as joint secretary in the department of atomic energy.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

DoPT to prepare list of professional courses in foreign universities for partial funding

THE DoPT has asked the cadre controlling authorities to furnish a list of five specialized or professional courses in specified foreign universities or institutes “which are considered relevant by them for their respective officers for the purpose of availing financial assistance under the partial funding component.” The list should be furnished by June 17, 2011.
This is regarding the partial funding component of the Domestic Funding of Foreign Training (DFFT) Scheme which was instituted to meet individual requirements for foreign studies and for the benefit of large number of officers.
Who To Get Funding Under The Scheme:
The officers who secure admission in programmes relevant to the current or future assignments in the following categories of universities or institutes, can obtain partial funding assistance:
1)      Top 100 universities or institutes as per Times Higher Education (THE) rankings
2)      Five specialized or professional courses in specified foreign universities/institutes recommended by the cadre controlling authorities
3)      Top 15/Top 10 universities in the sectoral/specialty areas according to US News and World Report rankings
4)      Top 10/Top 5 universities as per geographical locations

Action and Appointments
a) Dr T Ramasami, secretary of department of science and technology will hold additional charge of the post of secretary of the ministry of parliamentary affairs for a period of three months, with effect from June 1, 2011 or until further orders.
b) Jai Shanker Misra, a 1980 batch UP cadre IAS has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Khadi and Village Industries Commission under the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, in the pay of additional secretary.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

How a non-IAS can become a mover and shaker in power corridors, demonstrates Sudhir Chandra

IF YOU are an IAS, you automatically hold positions of immense importance. But you may not necessarily need to be an IAS to influence the system and implement things the way you wanted. Outgoing CBDT chairman Sudhir Chandra has demonstrated how an allied service officer can emerge as an independent power center, an implementer of big ticket ideas and a real mover and shaker in corridors of power.
In his written farewell message to fellow IRS-IT officers dated May 31, 2011, Chandra said, “As a service we are not emerging, we have already emerged”.
During his five months stint as chairman of the direct tax body, Chandra took up issues which an ordinary bureaucrat would like to pass quietly. He decided to refund dues of lakhs of taxpayers in the country in the current fiscal year itself and forced his juniors to work on Sundays. The result: over 32 lakh taxpayers were surprised to find their money in their bank accounts. And Rs 30,000 crore was disbursed in the months of April and May alone.
It was not easy task as many finmin honchos wanted to block the initiative citing reasons of overdraft and fiscal deficit. But, can you rein in fiscal deficit by holding on tax payers’ dues, Chandra fought back.
Despite odds, Chandra was instrumental in fighting against the menace of black money and the I-T department seized unaccounted money worth Rs 30,000 crore in the last two years. The IRS-IT officers’ role during the last assembly elections was appreciated by none other than chief election commissioner SY Quraishi in a letter dated May 23, 2011.
But what’s about the accountability of his own I-T officers who go for raids and surveys? Chandra who came into prominence as Member (Investigation) issued an order in May this year saying that survey teams visiting taxpayer’s premises would, before the commencement of survey proceedings, provide to the taxpayer the names, designations and contact numbers of their chief commissioner, commissioner and additional or joint commissioner of Income Tax. And he sent a written message to his fellow IRS-IT officials saying it was necessary to “bring transparency in survey operations and obviate the possibility of any grievance to the taxpayers”.
But it was not a smooth journey for Chandra. Many objected to his declaring independence when CBDT and CBEC chairmen (at the rank of special secretary) were firmly placed under revenue secretary who is always an IAS. A high-powered committee of secretary had recommended striking down of CBDT’s powers on phone tapping after the Niira Radia episode. On his last day as chairman, Chandra told reporters with pride that CBDT’s phone tapping powers remained intact.
For Chandra, the bottom-line is clear: IRS officers are definitely not children of lesser God!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Greater Noida turned hot property destination for India’s leading bureaucrats

Pori Chowk: A Landmark in Greater Noida
NOIDA and Greater Noida might be losers to Gurgaon in wooing investments from MNC honchos, but for bureaucrats they have turned preferred investment destinations. As IAS officers’ property returns are now made public, you can see for yourself how these UP townships have attracted a number of influential people in corridors of power to invest there. As a leading newspaper mentions, Greater Noida figures prominently perhaps because several cooperative housing societies for government officers were built in the relatively new township.
Among officers who own property in Greater Noida are cabinet secretary-designate AK Seth (a plot worth Rs 5.86 lakh), executive director of World Bank Pulok Chatterji (an under-construction four bedroom flat worth Rs 67.75 lakh), member secretary of Planning Commission Sudha Pillai (a flat worth Rs 53.55 lakh), additional secretary in home ministry Vishwapati Trivedi (a house worth about Rs 36 lakh) to name a few.
Current cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar has only one house at Trivandrum which he built on a piece of land measuring seven cents at the cost of Rs 2.9 lakh. Another influential bureaucrat and home secretary GK Pillai’s only house is built on a piece of land in Kerala measuring 18.6 cents which he had inherited from his mother. He built a house on it in 1992 with a housing loan of Rs 2.4 lakh. The present value is Rs 75 lakhs. The rent of the property gives him Rs 2.74 lakh every year.

Action and Appointments
Prakash Chandra takes over as CBDT chairman
Prakash Chandra, an IRS (IT) officer of the 1973 batch, took over as chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on May 31, 2011. He will also continue to look after the work relating to personnel and vigilance matters. Chandra was director general of Income Tax (Investigation) in Rajasthan and later director general of Income Tax (International Taxation) in Delhi before joining the CBDT as Member.