Monday, July 08, 2013

India Inc leans on ex-bureaucrats to fight “bureaucracy in government”?

Chandrashekhar (Right) listening to PM (File photo)
INDIA INC which often calls the Indian system too bureaucratic to do business, has leaned on seasoned bureaucrats to lead their industry bodies. The Nasscom that represents $108 billion Indian software industry, decided last week to appoint former telecom secretary and 1975 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre ex-IAS officer Rentala Chandrashekhar as its president. According to media reports, Chandrashekhar's annual pay package is...
Rs 2 crore. Already, India's largest and oldest business organisation, Ficci has former IAS, Dr A Didar Singh as its Secretary General. Six years ago, another industry body CII appointed former social justice secretary Sarita Prasad to execute projects on affirmative action by the private sector for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Before taking over as Nasscom's new head in January next year when current president Som Mittal retires, Chandrashekhar will need to take permission from the government, as he has not completed one year after retiring from the government. In an interview with a financial daily, Business Standard after his name was announced as new Nasscom chief, Chandrashekhar said the government approval in his case would be more of “a procedural thing” as Nasscom is a not-for-profit organisation. Ficci and CII also come under the same category.
In 2007, former finance secretary Ashok Jha took special government approval to join as president of Hyundai Motor India Ltd. The South Korean company took this officer, also an avid golfer, on board ahead of its flagship i10 launch.  Jha, a 1969 batch IAS and former secretary in DIPP and DEA, was given an annual pay package of Rs 1.7 crore, something which turned a talking point in corridors then. Two years later, Jha left Hyundai to join MCX Stock Exchange as its non-executive chairman.
The other retired officer who was hired by the corporate sector during the same time was Uma Pillai of 1968 batch IAS. A former secretary to the department of defence production and supplies, was however given a relatively lesser package (Rs 30 lakh per year) by  Tata Industry Services.
According to government rules, a serving officer can resign and join the private sector without taking any prior approval from the government. But for a retired officer, permission is a must if he wishes to join the private sector within one year of retirement, as the officer is eligible for post-retirement benefits such as pension, PF, gratuity, encashment of leaves etc.
Significantly, Corporate India has carefully chosen the former top bureaucrats to lead their industry bodies, as both Chandrashekhar and A Didar Singh are highly non-controversial officers. And they are armed with enough economic degrees and experiences in key ministries which matter most for private sector. Singh, who took over as Secretary General of Ficci in November last year, has Masters from St. Stephens College, Delhi, and  Birmingham University, UK, apart from having the distinction of completing the first PhD in India on policy and administration of e-Commerce. Before retiring as secretary to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Singh worked in commerce and heavy industry ministries as well.
New Nasscom president designate Chandrashekhar, on the other hand, is a post-graduate in chemistry and computer technology. He had earlier served as joint secretary in the ministries like commerce and defence before taking over as Union telecom secretary in September, 2010. Chandrasekhar was one of the key backroom boys in Chandrababu Naidu's I-T drive in Andhra Pradesh over a decade ago.

1 comment:

  1. A Didar Singh as FICCI Secretary General is doing an excellent job. FICCI is coming back after a bad phase post-Amit Mitra's exit. Chandrashekhar is also a good choice for Nasscom.